A Most Intrigueing Update

Scallywags and Gentlefolk, prepare to be intrigued!

In my intro I promised you reality tweaking, ray guns and general snappy dressing goodness – and I shall deliver! This is a little update to let you know what’s happening behind the scenes.

In the workroom the many tentacles of my creativity have been spreading. Gadgets, doodads and thingamabobs litter my space like bomb fallout. This is a good sign. It is a sign of things being created… or destroyed, in the case of a few unfortunate sacrifices to the craft gods.

While the full unveiling must wait for a professional photo shoot in the near future, I will entice you with a few sneaky previews of upcoming Cog & Compass creations.

In the meantime rest assured – Ray guns are being burnished, hats tilted and theme music written. Go forth and practice your highly questionable accents and rakish saunter, for your reality will soon require them…

Doyle – The Black Dragon

Greetings friend, and welcome back!

Doyle here is the last baby dragon I’ll introduce for a wee while. I feel we need to vary our conversation somewhat, but I’m sure we’ll get back to dragons later.

Doyle was born to celebrate the engagement of two friends of mine, Tim and Tarah ( who just happen to be dragon fans themselves, little did I know Tarahs’ engagement ring bears a tiny dragon!). Being of the dark and brutal persuasion, Tim and Tarah needed a dark and brutal dragon. Enter a spiked and winged beast in metal tones, heating its cold blood upon a sun warmed rock.

In Mythology throughout the world, black dragons are associated with power, strength and evil. In China there are tales of the Four Dragons. Of these four, the Black Dragon represents power and strength, and is charged with supporting the pillars of Heaven. However Chinese black dragons also have a reputation for mischief and wicked deeds (but Doyle isn’t like that!).

After forming the basic dragon body I textured it with a steel brush, for a rough dragon skin texture.  Doyle was the first dragon where I used a wire armature to support wings. It’s sooo much trickier than I imagined. A good 45 minutes of swearing accompanied the creation of a suitable frame from fine wire ( a suitable frame somewhat resembling half an inside -out umbrella).  I then implanted the stems of these frames into Doyle’s body. Honestly it wasn’t as painful for the poor fellow as it sounds! Once firmly in place I coated the frames with a very thin layer of polymer clay (another task accompanied by much swearing). Wing creation is certainly not a process for those lacking patience, or possessed of sanity.

Now Doyle needed to be one Heavy Metal dragon. Blending a palette of blacks, silvers and pearlescent white I gave him garb of spikes, scales and horns. The scales on his brow ridge lead your eye up to his horns, and are formed in the same way as scales on Xipil the fire salamander.  While he’s looking pretty epic now, I feel there’s something lacking.

A BEARD! Timmy has a beard that may or may not be a refugee Wookie. Doyle needs a beard too! Maybe a slightly more refined, Lung dragon style beard though…

Oh and a heart. Doyle is an an engagement dragon after all.

I couldn’t bear to put a tacky, Valentine red heart next to such a badass metal dragon. It took quite a while to mix the perfect red – deep but not too black, not too brown (it only takes a little too much black to turn any colour brown). Engraved with Tim and Tarah’s initials, the heart has become Doyle’s treasure, and he guards it fiercely!

Beware the black dragon, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup! ( plus assorted other condiments…)

Nithhogr- The Bone Serpent

This is Nithhogr, a baby bone serpent. As small and wary as he may appear, I can assure you he’s a direct descendant of the original Nithhogr . Devourer of corpses, a great Norse serpent who gnawed at the roots of the world tree Yggdrasil,  Nithhogr was one badass  mythical creature!

Nythhogr the Bone Serpent

I created Nithhogr as a birthday gift for my friend Andy ( a member of the very talented band Cripple Mister Onion). Inspired by Andy’s own bone carvings, and confronted by a large pile of animal bones currently residing in my bathtub, a bovine vertebrae was my prop of choice .

As with Xipil, Nithhogr is crafted from polymer clay mixed to a hue consistent with the dragon’s character  – in this case an aged ivory tone. After following my basic process for sculpting the serpent’s body and limbs it was time to get creative!

Following the Norse style of serpent (a serpent simply being a non- winged dragon species), I wanted Nithhogr to have long, delicate styling. A turned up muzzle with flared nostrils and a pair of  graceful horns elongated his head. A line of tiny metal spikes accentuate the length and serpentine curves of Nithhogr’s body. (Those spikes gave me no end of trouble! Too small to apply by hand, and very unwilling to cooperate with my tweezers). The spikes are actually the tiny leftover bits of metal you often find in bags of screws – and people say my hoarding isn’t useful!

As fantastic as these features were, something was needed to tie them all together. A generous spattering of sand-ish scales did the trick I think.  Although an unconventional scale shape, their organic simplicity unified Nithhogrs’ existing                                                                                          features.

Twenty agonising minutes later and my latest baby was removed finished from the oven. My worries that the bone would discolour or become otherwise munted were luckily unfounded! One paranoid packaging and car trip later and Nithhogr was delivery safely to the hands of his new owner.