Thursday, January 8, 2015

Antikythera-- the Mother of Dragons.


This post, to correlate the journey of making her.


When ever I start a big project like this, I am always reckless at the beginning.


The reason is that it’s easy to start over at the start.

Not much time lost.


I bought some clay, six kilo’s to be exact, just to see what the body proportions would be.

It was much fun carrying it two kilometers back to my workshop.

Note to self: buy plasticine next time.


Then I carved some legs out of purple carving wax after making the shapes out of cardboard first.


The legs would be sand cast, then rejected and later  re-made.


The neck and head was carved out of two pieces that were temporally joined and the cut apart later.

That way I carve a three dimensional object that is easy to split in half when it is finished.


These were sand cast and soldered together.

In this project, I wanted to move strongly into carving wax and sand casting it, instead of fabricating everything as I have done in previous projects.

Frankly, if I could have peered into the future, I would have carved them in greater detail and then spin cast them.


Here I have re done the legs and soldered some claws on.

The neck is just stuck on with double sided tape at this stage.


The tail was a lot of work.

It would eventually have 32 garnets set into it.

It also spawned a new manner of riveting an overlay onto it.

That was the first of three new techniques that this project taught me.

See here for my dead end rivet post.


But the most work were the wings.

I made 3 different versions, until I finally settled on this design.


Setting them up and getting them aligned and in proportion proved an exercise in patience.


With a complex project like this one needs the ‘big match’ mentality.


What I mean by that is that every new component must just be regarded as that—a new component.


Like the mane here.

In other words, don’t think about the end, just focus on finishing what you are busy with now.


Slowly more components are added.


The tail, prior to being engraved, with 32 garnets first set in silver tubes and then the tubes set into the tail.

The copper was affixed using  dead end rivets

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The head fins were made out of four pieces of carved brass with copper sandwiched between them.


I wanted to make realistic looking scales.

At first I thought of making tiny pieces of metal and overlapping then but this proved not to be practical on such a large scale.

I custom made myself a concave engraver and messed around trying to engrave scales, until I got to this effect.

So the second new technique that this project taught me was how to raise scales in metal.

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I added silver horns and set the eyes and engraved the piece slowly.

Now is the time when I am not reckless anymore.

It is very easy to choose a wrong avenue and then many things have to be re made.

The eyes, it is always the eyes that make or break a piece.



Here Antikythera in about 90% finished and the time came to make a display platform for her.

Most of her was stabilized with Ceramix, which was the third technique that this project caused me to learn.


The basic platform was started out of wood.


The basic wooden frame with the copper it will be clad in at the bottom.


Then I beat it around the wooden frame and I use a oxy propane torch to heat it red hot at the same time.


It burns the wood something fierce and smells awful.

So before I close everything up I douse the wood with eucalyptus oil and then it smells nice again.

Easy paesy…..


Then I made a brass ‘dish’ and pierced out kind of teeth looking spike things.


Ta da, moving in the direction I want.


The jewel holder head scratching time.

I liked the quartz but nothing else survived the elimination process.

The paper design was engraved onto a brass plate but it looked to frilly so it was discarded.


Everything still sucked.

The snakes I made were to aggressive.


This is all the different design ideas and attempts. all of them were rejected except the one on the bottom right, which was used after some serious modification.


Only the pillars and the crystal survived this attempt.


Slowly moving forward


I quite liked the jewel holder, but man the dragons sucked.


I re carved the baby dragon and then tried to sand cast it but they came out awful, so I made a silicone mold of the original purple wax and injected three more.

Then I spin cast them, which gave me the detail I wanted.


After they were cast I added more metal to the base and now I felt I was getting somewhere.


Anyway, eventually all the components were finished and all the stones were cut and set and  and I could assemble everything.


Set, stabilized and engraved.

The central Quartz weighs 150 carats and all I did was to polish the bottom and leave the top natural.

Ready for the dragon themed ring that I will make.

I am going to make a lamination cut amethyst and insert a miniature carved dragon of gold into the center.

Check out an example of what I have in mind here.


She is very protective over her babies and the jewel holder.


Antikythera is a fierce dragon.


And I think she is beautiful too.

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