Soft and squishy dragons, but also shiny. Very important, that.
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.)
FiSele is from a clan best described as "warrior monks"; they've managed to purify and crystalize various types of magic to be stored and used at the will of those who are trained to call upon them. It takes a great deal of mental and emotional control to be able to build up enough will to direct magic of such powerful purity, but that's why they're started young. FiSele bears the proud marks of several years of study and practice with the crystals that have since quite literally become part of him. The headdress is worn for formal and spiritual affairs, though its origins are from the days when war was commonplace. The anklet is simply a gift from his mother upon reaching maturity, though he simply wouldn't go anywhere without it.
There comes a point in every project (hopefully, at least) where "Why am I doing this?" is answered by, "Oh that's why." FiSele is the product of 30 days of work. Not including days off, or days when I was working on commissions (in part to save my sanity)--30 days of working. This is mildly terrifying. What used to be a whole lot of yarn, stuffing, wire, a bit of clay and assorted beads have finally become something I only half-planned about halfway through the process of creating the body. As my creations will do, he took on a life of his own and I simply went with it.
Let us address the size of this guy, first. Large. Very large. Stupidly large. That was actually kind of an accident. I... am going to need to find a place to put him. He's roughly 19 inches long from nose to tail, and the wingspan is about 47 inches when they're fully spread. Luckily he can just wrap those wings around him, otherwise I would be completely screwed for space.
The wings turned out much, much heavier than I was anticipating. There's springy braided wire beneath, so they're stable; but they can't hold up under their own weight. After braiding apparently about 50 inches of wire or so, I then created a crocheted wrap for it. Then was actually insane enough not to use fabric and save myself many days of work, but crocheted the webbing as well. While heavy, it works, and it wound up looking better than I thought it would. I'm still entertaining the thought of building a little stand for each of the wings after a few tests, but we'll see how far that goes. He looks perfectly content to have them resting. And speaking of wings, the interiors are lightly highlighted with blue and purple iridescence, while the exterior and wingtips reveal spines. These can either be in a resting or defensive position. On the inside of each are crystal cases that hold dormant power when he may need to call upon them to enhance magic he's already mastered. Important things, these.
Look at them legs! I'm happy with how they came out. The front legs/feet are my favorite, as I just love the way the claws look with the toes. Don't judge me. Granted, I adore the back legs too. They are as they are because that's... just how they are; but also I recall, many many years ago when I was just starting to play with sculpture, there was one very loud person who told me the feet were too big. I have since taken pride in making big feet. Mmm, happy artistic "screw you"s. Anyway, clearly the legs are stuffed in such a way that they can support him in a standing position, but can also be bent to allow him to sit or crouch.
So. Many. Embellishments. Holy crap I don't know why, it just happened. Swarovski crystals as far as the eye can see! And a few of those glowy acrylic "materia beads" too, which come across quite well in a few pictures. Yes, they do glow in direct light. Painfully, at times. But the crystal sparkles!
And of course my creations need their own jewelry. I mean, come on. The headdress started off as a piece of wire and... evolved. Obviously. Just enough sparkle and twist to keep it interesting, I think. The wire itself is relatively soft, so it can be reshaped if someone for some reason wants to. I don't know why you would, but I am not judging you. Directly.
This is the first time I've made my own eyes. It seemed appropriate, somehow. Just baked a couple of polymer clay disks with the middle scooped out, and mixed myself some paint from iridescent pigments. The purple pigment was also used to highlight FiSele's belly. A light blue was used on the wings, but... it's almost invisible in the pictures. It always has to be something, I know.
While it's not terribly clear in the pictures, his upper and lower jawed are wired for a number of expressions. His ears also have a thinner wire in them which will allow them to stay in place. And of course he has a tongue, because... well, how else would he taste his food? Pft, seriously.
Taken from The Care and Feeding of Your Muse Dragon: "Muse Dragons are drawn to 'creative types' of all kinds. They communicate through thoughts to inspire ideas, and in turn are fed by the things those ideas create, establishing a deep relationship who whoever they imprint on."
Each individual Muse Dragon hatchling was made entirely by hand out of real silk velvet, satin brocade, and gemstone beads. I had a basic outline for the wings, but everything else is completely freehand. And they are all SO VERY SHINY, which the camera decided it didn't really want to deal with on that close-up picture there. Oh well, you get the idea.
(There are still a couple remaining in my Etsy shop, but more can be commissioned.)
There is a little island that you won't find on any map. This is because no one who goes there comes back. Now, this isn't as bad as it sounds--most people, even map makers, find this island to be so close to paradise that they never want to leave. It has long, stretching beaches and tropical areas, and it has snow and ice up in the mountains, and everything you could ever want to do can be done peacefully and amongst friendly people. But... well, yes, some get themselves "disappeared". The natives call her Cora Septa, and she is the guardian spirit of the island. Before you can live there, you must bring her a gift (food, mostly) and indulge her in a little conversation. (Between you and me, she loves tea and cookies. She can't actually eat them, mind, as she is a guardian spirit, but her gift is more the energy of someone else enjoying a good meal and having a decent chat.) People must climb the southern mountain to her cave (which is really more like a lovely vacation home on the inside) and call to her politely, asking if she might like to have a bit to eat. Those who demand her presence or are simply rude are never seen or heard from again. They're no loss, I assure you. She's a brilliant conversationalist and enjoys crosswords, even if she requires someone else's helping hand to fill them in for her.
So all of this was going through my mind as I was finishing up building this little shiny bit of insanity. She totally started out as a "I need to do something different" project, with no ideas in mind at all. Yes, I really crocheted dragon wings. Let me repeat, I crocheted dragon wings. I don't ever want to do that again. Ever. So obviously I'll probably make another pair in a couple of months. I lost track of how many days I was working on this. All I know is that she was finished at 1:00 AM. ...Yeah, I gotta stop doing that.
She stands at 7.5 inches in height, and has a wingspan of about 9 inches currently. The stone in her chest is green obsidian from a pendant, and no picture could do justice to how interesting it is. There's a crack within the stone that gives it a glowy "X" which I thought was fun. The metal itself is rose copper, and the band around her mouth and forehead piece are also rose copper from the very same pendant. Her "horns" are just twisted copper wire, and her "thumb claws" along with the claws on her feet are glass beads. Her eyes are lightly marbled jade beads. Due to being constructed out of thick yarn, she's extremely sturdy; not to mention, there's one skeletal wire that shapes the wings, so they can be re-posed... carefully. Oh, and she is made entirely of awesome, thank you very much.
An extra note on the feet. ...I love how the feet turned out. I just do.
Stella is a sweet young wyvern with a passion for the dramatic and... well, apparently my PSP. She's definitely a star gazer, always looking up and being curious as to what the future may bring, dreaming of places far away and worlds that have yet to be written down... but there's time. I think maybe she wants to be a great dramatic actress, or play one in a student production.
Another spectacular accomplishment, in my eyes. I used the same base pattern with Stella that I had with Andrew... and then ignored the lines entirely. I wanted something a little more "obviously handmade-looking", hence the slight change in the wing design. The rest just sort of... worked out as it did. I did more hand sewing on her than I had on Andrew, and my fingers are definitely feeling it right now. Everything is mine--pattern, stitching, design--but the eyes. Those are hand-painted acrylic safety eyes from Suncatcher Eyes. They're gorgeous.