Crooked Little Beginnings

I’ve been anxious for the past few weeks to get started on a new project for the upcoming exhibit A Somewhat Secret Place: Disability and Art.  I want to create a woman and her seeing eye dragon, a piece I’ve tentatively named “Shared Vision.”  These sculpted cloth projects of mine always start out with big ideas and rough drawings.

Seeing eye dragon sketch 1
Seeing eye dragon sketch 2

I have been overwhelmed with life lately — doctor’s appointments and tests, storytelling events, family matters — all the good, bad and distracting that gets in the way of creation.  Since I’ve only ever made human figures and dolls out of cloth, I spent spare time studying how animals are made and how to use gussets and other fabric sculpture tricks.

I carefully drew out a pattern and did my best to make accurate gussets.  Gussets are those magical fabric inserts that will give my dragon an open mouth, and a dimensional head and face.  However, unlike the skilled makers who I studied, I am not mathematical or even inclined to measure much.  I draw and eyeball things.  I put things together on paper then just start tracing, cutting and having fun.

This is all to say that my first day working on the dragon had a rather comic end.  I did the head first because that’s where the most detail and personality will be.  It’s also the most difficult to construct.  I don’t know what I did wrong — probably several things — but the mouth went all wanky. I went ahead and colored in the eye and tongue because it looked so funny.


Who knows?  I  may make a full Slack-jaw-asaurus one day.  Meanwhile, back to the drawing board for the dragon.

Next week, I’ll try to post more on this project of mine and some of the other artists who will be showing work in the Somewhat Secret Place show.

Remember to enjoy your mistakes — might as well, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to make plenty.

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