Soft and squishy dragons, but also shiny. Very important, that.
The truth of the mage's familiar (at least in Rideum) is a little different than what standard tales will tell. It's not a "real animal", and it's not some entity disguised; but a mage's familiar is certainly a companion that they keep with them when they are to take a long journey away from home. It is their connection, their reminder, and indeed many times in the past it has served as the power to bring them back home. When a mage is either selected to, or elects to, use their gifts for some benefit of family or kingdom, then their family (and not merely by bloodline relations; magic cares not for blood, but for heart) gathers together to construct a familiar. No matter what skills they may have individually, from youngest to eldest, they contribute a part of building the familiar so that every stitch, every bit of paint, every bead so very carefully placed will be bound together with one will: to return the mage safely home. Some familiars have been stuffed with patches of clothing from every family member, while others have been decorated with beads from necklaces passed down many generations. Still others are simply constructed of socks and sawdust. (Magic cares not for material wealth, either; the value of will cannot be counted in coins.)
Between you and me, I'm fairly certain this little familiar will get the journey of a lifetime--and safely see their mage home.
So I sketched out a little pattern. Inked it, cut it out. Had some of this almost micro-suede fabric (it's not technically micro-suede, but it feels almost exactly like it; so soft) and decided to oh so carefully transfer the pattern lines and do a test with just a plain, simple, traditional plush. I should have known better. I was all the way through cutting out the pattern when inklings of this story, this creature's origin, started coming to mind. I had already sewn the back and belly when everything was becoming more clear and then... well, it should be more rustic, right? Out the window go the old plans, stomping straight into the front door come the new ones, and... here. I've been wanting to try that old-style "rustic" doll articulation, anyway. And I wanted to play with the idea of little stiffened/reinforced fabric "scales" here and there. So I can't really complain. Just sit back in awe and wonder what happened as usual.
This lovely critter cannot and was not intended to stand on its own, but drapes over one's hand or lap very easily. I mean, this is really soft fabric. And really smooth beads. And is seriously just a nice tactile experience. Entirely hand-sewn, no machine, because I continue to be insane and questionably intelligent. Wings are "unfilled" and "un-wired", but do swivel. Hips, shoulders, knees and elbows are all articulated. I'd intended for the head to turn too, but... the mock-up just did not look right. I like this better, anyway.
Vel and Rox are from a species of swamp dragon that science has yet to name. The term "swamp dragon" isn't particularly descriptive, either, though "jewel-headed swamp dragons" sounded vaguely insulting, so that was vetoed. Regardless, Vel (blue) and Rox (pink) are a pair of relatively young siblings who seemed interested in traveling outside of the swamp, so they really didn't mind hitching a ride out of there.
I hadn't meant to make them so big. And I hadn't meant to make two. So I guess I haven't learned my lesson about not bothering to plan quite yet. It was really a project to use up some old yarn and play with various colors, and then... well, everything I do snowballs. I must simply accept that. Both lovelies are comprised of acrylic yarn, fully wired along the spine, tail, legs and feet. Their eyes are brilliant red dyed jade, forehead jewels are "cat's eye" glass, and the super sparkly accents are permanently painted on thanks to fabric paint and iridescent pigments. They both measure approximately 14.5 inches from nose to tail tip, and when their back legs are fully extended perpendicular to their bodies, they span approximately 10 inches from foot tip to foot tip.
Evalis, while still being considered a rather young and technically "immature" Decce, acts as Guardian of the South Sea Temple. His desire to protect the temple is out of gratitude to the servants for raising him after having found him seemingly abandoned as a hatchling. He's well-suited to the lifestyle, as far as he's concerned, spending most of his time enjoying the sea breeze, watching over the temple servants and enjoying whatever gifts of food the devoted bring for him. (He likes cherries, clearly.) Fierce as he may look, it will take another hundred or so years for his horns to mature in full, as well as the stinging barbs on his tail and the backs of his legs to be at their most potent (though it should be noted that the barbs are only activated in defense; otherwise they're perfectly harmless).
Some have come to believe that the Decce are actually related to the Celestial Turtle. While their "shells" aren't fully hardened structures, the longer the Decce live, the more hard gem-like structures grow onto their shells. They don't normally fuse and become fully hard until after a Decce dies; this is where the tales of heroes using Decce shells as shields come from. Rather than the hero fighting and conquering a Decce, a Decce tribe or family unit would grace someone they felt worthy with ancient artifact so important to them that it is literally a part of their history. While they were once linked with mages, these days they've become exceedingly rare to the point where not even the great mage circles know whether or not a whole tribe of them still exist. It's a sad fate, but some argue it's also smarter to hide until humans figure out how to stop destroying themselves.
Evalis was one of those off-and-on projects that I worked on in large pieces interrupted by a week here, a commission there, and a necessary break so that I wouldn't wind up getting stabby here and there and everywhere. So... what I know is that he took some number of weeks to complete. Not quite a month? But definitely more than two weeks. About three? Maybe a little more? Time, what is it? I did a lot of new things with the internal structure, and I'm sure you'll notice the paws/claws. I'm so happy with how those turned out, you have no idea.
I can't even express how much work went into this. I knew I was crazy before, but geez. The entire length of his body from head to tail, legs, and each toe are individually wired and poseable, and boy is he a big fella. From tip of his nose to the tip of his tail, he's about 20", standing casually at about 8" to the top of his horns. His claws and horns are polymer clay, and his eyes are a gorgeously red-dyed jade stone. There are plenty of glass beads and painted highlights using iridescent pigments, as well. I mean, you know... shiny.
Acalyn is a coatl or a winged serpent, really quite content to sing in the highest branches of trees, though given warmth and food and a little doting, she finds human shoulders relatively decent as well. It's said that these songs are sure to drive away nightmares and bring pleasant dreams to all who hear them, so the next time you happen to hear songs in the forest, you may just want to stick around to listen. You may also want to see if you can't lure out a lovely singing coatl with some trail mix. They love the stuff.
I was out to try something different. And this just kind of happened. I do like the idea of creatures that can double as jewelry, and somehow it just sort of evolved. this way. All of the frills are just specially treated fabric so it's not overly stiff and easily flexible, and the fabric paint is the standard type I use for crocheted creatures. Of course there's also so very much shiny with both tiny glass beads and larger fiber optic ones, plus all of the iridescent pigment mixed into the fabric paint. I just can't stay away from that stuff, you know. A large hook and eye finding allow her to clasp shut and turn into a necklace... or a wreath, I suppose. Either way, her internal structure is wire so she's easy to adjust.
Sebian has a deep curiosity about the world. A "hunger", if you like. In fact, he's really very interested in food. Cooking, as well. Or rather, he likes to do the sampling instead of the cooking. Such is rather common of a young bead wing dragon, since they've got an awful lot of growing to do.
Yeah, "bead wing". What else am I gonna call him? The only plans I really had for this one when I started were 1.) the yarn color, and 2.) that he was going to be wyvern-styled. Everything else was kind of just... what happened. I'd planned to do the wings completely differently, too. I really, literally, cannot explain what happened--but I'm not complaining. Even if the wings did take me four days.
Wings. Four days. More beads that I will try to count on a thin, easily flexible and "bouncy" wire base. All very shiny. I feel it is important to note here that anyone considering caring for this young dragon will need to be exceedingly gentle with the wings. Yes, the "feathers" were designed for easy movement and poseability, but that means they're very easy to bend. Gentleness is necessary.
In order to remain stable, Sebian has a reinforced wire spine and double-reinforced legs. That worked out very well, I must say. Some poses still take a little work to strike the right balance between legs and arms, but he'll definitely hold there without problems.
And yes, he is fully poseable, fully flexible, and fully scratch-under-the-chin-able.
Kaishun's got an incredibly optimistic view on life in general. After all, he's one of the dragons who helps to usher in spring every year. Admittedly the duty isn't always easy (Mother Nature just loves to readjust her snow schedule without telling anyone), but seeing the leaves and flowers begin to bud is rewarding.
The only clear ideas I had when I started were "white and pink". Kaishun definitely took on a life of his own after that. His antlers and, er, "artistic spines" are wire-wrapped and decorated with lovely, lightly frosted silver-lined pink glass beads, with a few tiny delica bead accents. His belly and the bottoms of his feet are of course brilliantly sparkly pink, and his eyes are rose quartz.
He's also a big Barnaby Brooks Jr. fan. Just putting that out there.
("Kaishun" means "return of spring" or "rejuvenation". Suiting, I think.)
Having just emerged from his egg days ago, Kuro is looking for a warm spot to curl up in, the safety provided by a dedicated guardian, and maybe some sweets if they happen to be laying around. You couldn't deny him sweets, could you?
I had this gorgeous scrap of the most beautiful deep, dark crimson silk velvet, and naturally my first thought is "dragon wings". I don't know, I can't help it. Kuro is fully poseable, though his wire skeleton is comprised of thinner wire. This allows for slightly easier movement than the larger crocheted dragons, but he's a touch more delicate. (Well of course he is--he's just a baby!) Even so, he's got a great range of motion.
His belly and the bottoms of his feet are all sparkly too, thanks to fabric paint medium and iridescent pigment; so it's not going to rub off. He's also got a few beaded accents along his back, tail, ears and toes. The gemstone beads used for his eyes seem to be jasper, but don't quote me on that one.
("Kuro" is "black" in Japanese, by the way.)
Aithne's an explorer. From the moment she was out of her egg she's been out to explore the world, one tree at a time--but she's always sure to be back in time for dinner.
"Aithne" is Celtic for "little fire", and that is absolutely what she is. I had no particular plans when I started, but clearly she asserted herself easily so it wasn't a problem. The inner wire structure as been improved and reinforced from spine to toes, and that includes the real silk velvet tail, making her fully poseable.
And then there is that fur. I've been wanting to do fur like this for forever, so finally getting the opportunity to try it is nice. A major pain and very time-consuming, but the end result is exactly what I was going for. Plus it's incredibly soft to the touch, much like the velvet.
I have no idea what stone that is for her eyes, though. They were beautiful and perfect and part of an assortment, so if anyone does know please feel free to tell me. (Best guess so far: fancy jasper.)