There have been a couple few ideas floating around over here, and I’d be lying if I told you they were all mine. My current sculpture was inspired by my correspondence with a lady who has a polymer clay sculpting website of her own. Christy has a great website that was part of what inspired my own – Skygrazer!. She’s helped answer questions for me regarding both websites and sculpting. I had left a comment on one of her blog-posts a couple weeks ago about my affinity for dragons and the information I gathered about them to use in designing my tattoo. She responded with an incredible bit of information regarding the Chinese dragons – which is what I’m working on.
So, the current piece I’m working on is another chess piece that will probably be the Queen. It’s a Chinese dragon based on the information Christy gave me. Oddly enough, it doesn’t really correspond with how I’ve seen Chinese dragons depicted, but that’s exactly what intrigued me about it. Most Chinese dragons I’ve seen are (in my opinion) sorta boring – a bearded snake with legs *yawn*. But Christy’s description went something like:
- Head of a camel
- Eyes of a daemon
- Horns of a deer
- Ears of a cow
- Neck of a snake
- Scales of a carp
- Belly of a clam
- Claws of a hawk
- Soles of a tiger
Some other research I did came up with additional descriptions such as “limbs of a horse”. How funny to find that, since I couldn’t help but think of a giraffe when I read the original list. I thought the “scales of a carp” resemble the shape and color of the spots on a giraffe. Even the discription “belly of a clam” I attributed to a giraffe:
See, in the above images, how the giraffe’s body comes to a peak, like a triangle… and then how the clam has that similar shape?
Anyway, my thought is to try to sculpt each item in the description as closely as possible without ending up with a giraffe. There are some alternate descriptions for some parts (thank god) that I can use, for example: the dragon’s belly as that of a frog or rabbit. I think I’ll go with the frog belly, since it works best with the shape I originally had in mind. Right now, I’m concentrating on detailing the head, and plan to just work my way down.
Looking at it now, my idea for the shape kinda looks like a music note. What you’re looking at is wire, covered in foil, covered in a thin layer of clay. The clay is a mixture of Super Sculpey(too soft) and Sculey Firm (too hard) to get a strong, yet pliable combo (just right).
After I finished covering the piece with clay, I add a little bit more clay here and there just to make the initial shape more symmetrical. Taking some time to get the right and left sides symmetrical helps me to maintain more symmetry when I continue to sculpt finer and finer detail. There’s nothing more frustrating than when I’m flipping a sculpture from side to side trying to figure out what little thing “isn’t quite right”.
What’s with the poker chip, you ask? I happen to have a poker chip I haven’t ever used…until now. When I sculpted the Rook, I wanted to be sure all the pieces turned out relatively the same size. Not only can I use these poker chips as a size guide I can paint them and glue them on as a base for the finished chess pieces.
I still have a couple questions to answer before I get too much further beyond the head. First is, what specifically constitutes “eyes of a daemon”? Second, what should the legs look like? I figured they’d be tiger-like since I’m sculpting “soles of a tiger”. If I go with “legs of a horse” I might as well just make a giraffe.
Do you have any ideas or additional thought on the project?