Needle felted Dragon-ology

There’s a “bee in my bonnet” as they say.  An idea lurking there and as often happens to artists, you gotta create the thing and get it out into the world.  Me…I’ve got DRAGONS on the brain.  Several in fact, but we’ll start at the beginning, with stages of 1st construction.


I’ve gotten this far and I’m still at it.  I have a notion how it should look, though one often forges ahead not knowing the end result.  It can be a marvelous surprise.

Here’s how the dragon began:


This wiring system almost worked, but had subsequent tweaking to reduce lumps and make stronger connections.  Version 2.0 wire system was more secure & gained a wired ribcage, but it’s all covered with wool now & I forgot to get the 2nd photo.

Next: build up the layers of body.  I used only wool, no polyfill.  Wool needlefelts better and there’s always enough leftovers around here to do the job.  Green florist wire helps the wool stick, but thick copper & brass wire are stronger for spine & legs.  They get pipecleaner wrapped to help wool grip.


Decided on a pose, and really enjoy the sense of movement…. of turning to look at something.  Although subsequent layers of wool will mostly secure the pose, minor repositioning is still possible later.


A lot of the wool is shaped in ‘pads’ and carefully added on – secured in place -to build up muscle contours.  And, the body is very firm indeed.  I avoid fluffy squishy needlefelt work.  If I’m going to all the effort to create a sculpture, by golly I want structural integrity. Substance and solidity.


Meanwhile, tests continue with wing material.  How to make wings strong, yet translucent?  Sketches are ongoing for design ideas about the final color, scale pattern, type of eyes, shape of head and probably it will stand on a platform.  The advantage is preserving the sculpture from excess handling, since it could be lifted & moved by the base.

I already know the surface treatment for the dragons scales, and it’s a marvelous plan.  I’m all for showing & sharing the steps of creation, but an artist should hold a few ideas in reserve.  Our own novel formula for making our work special.  The final reveal will come but I may keep a step or two between ‘under wraps’ as they say.

So then.  I’ve gotten this far, and thrown down the gauntlet to myself.   CAN I finish a needlefelted dragon within a couple weeks, and bring to Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival as a fiber arts entry?  Its gonna be a tight squeeze.  The consolation being that if I cannot complete in time, I’ll be ready well ahead of Black Sheep Gathering 2017.    Further bulletins as dragon progresses.

UPDATE: Sept. 20.  The design progressed through no fewer than 5 morphs, eventually settling upon the MOST detailed, MOST time-consuming version.  I observe with wry resignation there is no possibility of completing in time for fiber festival.  And, while I was initially disappointed, I would rather take the extra time to do it justice.  I’m happier now, less stressed too, and know it will eventually become a very special dragon indeed.- – – – – – –

Updated Sept. 23, 2017, and again in June 2018.

Creative Consolation: the “Silk Dragon” Sculpture

See the completed Silk Dragon saga, together with video of dragon on rotating base for viewing all angles.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s