Monday, February 14, 2011

The Dragon Boat - part 1

The Dragon Boat was made for the 2010 ATASDA exhibition "Voyage of Imagination" held in the Palm House at the botanical gardens in Sydney.

The boat measures 46 x 36 cm, and is a fabric collage with added surface embellishments including beading and hand embroidery.

This is the blurb from the exhibition folder:

"The theme for this exhibition had particular appeal for me, bringing together my love of fantasy and story telling and the tactile qualities of fabric and surface embellishment.

In contemplating a piece for this exhibit I realised that to embark on my voyage of imagination I would need a vessel. 

Drawing inspiration from the sketches of James Christensen and my previous background in ceramic sculpture, I've created my soft sculptured dragon boat. 

The colour of the dragon boat embodies the hues of the fire it breathes. 

It is embellished with the jewels and riches of the orient that the dragon guards fiercely. 

The dragon's webbed rudder helps to traverse the celestial seas of our imagination whilst the golden tentacles ward off danger."

Dragon boat

I trawled the internet and my collection of fantasy books looking for inspiration for my imaginary boat and kept coming back to the artwork of James Christensen.
Then came the laborious task of drawing patterns and trialing them in calico until I had a design I was happy with.

Next came assembling enough scraps for the fabric collage:

Dragon boat

I then cut a cotton piece and thin wadding large enough to allow extra around the pattern as I knew the next step of free machining the scraps would pull in the fabric.

Dragon boat

The next pictures make it look like it all came together perfectly but, believe me, there was much cursing and tearing of hair (and unpicking) before it reached this stage:

Dragon boat

The tail was too floppy, so first I created channels and stuffed them, which then gave me a floppy stuffed tail! so a piece of aluminium sculpting wire was carefully eased up into the tail to hold it upright.

Dragon boat

The fin has the fabric collage on both sides:

Dragon boat

Dragon boat

More to come next time on the head and the body of the boat.



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