This next project began in the summer of 2009, post-graduation. I work almost entirely with 2D materials, and the desire to try something more sculptural sparked this idea (I also have a collection of feathers I wanted to incorporate into something). I don’t have the budget or the materials for serious sculpting, but I do have the cheap alternative: paper mache. Since my cousin is an avid fan and collector of dragons, I decided to try and paper-mache-sculpt some small dragon figurines.
With some wire, tape, newspaper, flour, water, glue, and many many hours of creative focus, nearly two years later I have finished two dragons. It’s been a touch and go process, interrupted by summer employment and college, so that accounts for the extended time frame.
I wanted to share this project because I think it is very unique, and I just recently finished the second dragon as a Christmas gift for my afrementioned cousin.
To see the finished products, see slideshow below. If not interested in the creation process, skip text below. 🙂
Here’s the process: Begin with a roll of wire and shape into the desired form, beginning with the neck/spine/tail segment. With the assistance of masking tape, wrap the wire with some crunched up newspaper to bulk out the form. Once the basic form is made, paper mache to smooth over edges and add greater volume. Simply mix water and flour (with optional Elmer’s glue) into a paste slightly runnier than toothpaste (the viscosity is mostly a personal preference for the user, but you don’t want it too thick or too thin). Dip strips or ripped up chips of newspaper into the paste and apply over the figure with slight overlap. Be sure to take periodic breaks so the paper mache can dry overnight (too much trapper moisture = inner molding).
Once the spinal figure has been bulked up to medium size and dried, poke holes through the body at appropriate locations for the legs and wings (I recommend using a nail). Feed wire through the holes and shape accordingly for legs and wings before clipping. Continue to paper mache the form, taking care to blend the new limbs and shape the muscles. With persistence you will eventually have a dragon form.
Let dry and paint whatever color or pattern you desire. I chose to adorn the wings with collected bird feathers. Dragon one has peacock feathers with a coordinated paint scheme, and dragon two has a variety of purchased feathers mixed with chicken feathers collected from my cousin’s pet rooster Eugene’s molts.
I probably skipped steps or important details, but I mostly just wanted to share this fun little project. Feel free to ask questions. 😀
Paper Mache Slideshow & Finished Products: