This week’s dragon began with a faux abalone tutorial I found online. I had decided this week to try covering a dragon with slices of the faux abalone. The tutorial involved using oil paint, and I felt it needed to dry for a little while, so while I let it dry I watched the latest class from Polymer Clay Adventure.
It was a class by Linda Hess on making an Under-the-Sea candle holder. It seemed to me that a faux abalone dragon would make the perfect sea dragon.
And so this week’s project began.
This candle holder is built on a 5-inch round glass fish bowl that you can find at most craft stores.
Click on any of the photos for a closer look.
Many of the details are the same as Linda taught in the class, especially using the sheet of clay to cover the candle holder and cutting all the circle bubbles in it. I also adored her jellyfish and pretty much did mine the exact same way.
I also loved her idea of using polymer clay molds but changing them and customizing them. I’ve avoided using clay molds because I wanted my sculptures to be my own design, but I really loved how she cut off tails and fins and replaced them with bits of cane which made them truly special. So it was a lot of fun to go through my drawer full of leftover canes and finding ones that would work.
I changed her seaweed, making it thinner and giving a twist which I really like the look of; it’s so graceful.
You may notice that there are two sea dragons on the sculpture. That’s because as we entered September I was reminded that this year Christmas is on a Thursday, as is New Year’s Eve, and I suspect in the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s I may be short on time to make dragons. So I’m going to try to get ahead and avoid any last minute crunch. But I do still want to complete the challenge of 52 dragons in the year!
In order for the dragons to fit nicely on the bowl, I needed to do a bit of dragon surgery: slicing off a about a third of their sides. I wasn’t sure how much of their faces I’d be using, so I sculpted both sides, just in case.
When it turned out I didn’t need to remove any of the head, I decided to have them peeking through the bubbles into the inside. Kinda fun!
Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I am making a dragon every week in 2015.
If you’ve been following my polymer clay dragons this year you may recognize many of the bits and pieces on this candle holder. For example, on the turtle are slices of the cane that I used in Ferdinand the Bull’s-Eye, the fins on the orange fish are from Marsali that I did a couple weeks ago. And the gold crackled turquoise clay is left over from the gold box that I made for Ciro in week 15.
The mold I used for the fish, turtle, sea horse, sea scallops and starfish is the Sculpey Flexible Push Clay Mold, Sea Life, so cute.
This is truly the kind of project I love, I could have gone on adding details for far longer, but it seems quite complete now. Another change I made was that Linda brought her clay all the way up to the top of the container and then made a border on the edge. The only problem with that is polymer clay lets off nasty smells when it burns so you have to use a teeny tiny candle in the holder. I chose to cut mine off further down on the container so I could use a larger candle.
The faux abalone came out very realistic, it’s a great tutorial!
I know I’m going to enjoy having this sitting out and studying all the details.
If you’d like to see my other dragon creations so far, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.