As mentioned at the end of my World Dragon Day blog post I would not be making a Dragon mask at this year’s Beltane Weekend Retreat. Instead I decided to make and decorate a staff. The inspiration for this particular staff came from seeing a photo of Coyote Spirit — Scepter Wand that had been shared on Facebook.
The artwork on Coyote Spirit was quite stunning and suddenly I felt inspired to try to create something similar – or different – or however mine might turn out – using a fox skull which my son said I could have. He found the skull in the bush near a park a few years ago (poor fox was probably a victim of baiting/poisoning conducted by the local council) and brought it home where I helped him to get it clean. It had sat in a box in the garage ever since.
I also happened to have a lovely piece of a Bauhinia purpurea (Orchid Tree / Purple Butterfly Tree) branch, which my eldest son cut to the right length for a staff, stripped and sanded smooth for me a few years back when we had to prune the tree. The top of this as yet undecorated staff was cut at an oblique angle and I always thought I would probably need to cut it again before attaching anything to the top. However, when I placed the fox skull against the sloped cut on the branch it sat at a similar angle to the coyote skull on the staff/wand in the photo that was shared on FB — like it was meant to be! Gotta love synchronicity! 😀
Rather than have the mouth of the skull completely closed, I decided to have it open just a little to highlight the teeth a bit more. I felt that opening the mouth any wider would make it look too fierce and also pose more risk of accidental damage to the teeth and skull in general.
Click on any image in the gallery below then scroll through the collection…
I experimented with the colour a bit, to get a good match for the bone, then added some darker brown and black in places. After I coated it with clear lacquer the colours looked much darker and the contrast was increased — something I wasn’t expecting. Oh well, it’s a Dragon, and there are no rules for what a Dragon should look like. 😛 The several coats of clear lacquer also help to strengthen the whole thing, which it needs as the thinner bits of the Fimo Air Light clay are a still a little flexible and could crack. My DragonFox staff also looks a lot better ‘in the flesh’ rather than in photographs — something about the shiny surface and indoor lighting, with or without the flash, just doesn’t result in what I’d call a good a photograph. Maybe he’ll look better in sunlight? (see below)
More photos were taken the next morning outside in natural light, in the shade. Much better photographic results! 😀
I have yet to decorate the Bauhinia wood so I’ll add photos of that process once it’s completed. Not sure yet exactly what I’m going to put on it but I think I need to practice using my new pyrography set before I try wood-burning on my staff. I’d also like to do some fancy leather braiding around a hand-grip area on the staff (see example below) but I’ve never done that before either.
My son has lent me a book with instructions on how to do this but it does look very complicated! 😮