Final exhibition

Arianwen ready for final exhibition but still awaiting skin and puppeteers  final supports.

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Day 13 of dragon construction

Final progress photos of the dragon head:


teeth tests from drinks bottles and can, after making these I decided to keep with the theme of the head and use CD’s:


cardboard teeth  templates:


teeth threaded on wire for extra support, I used a Dremel drill to make the holes:S1230010S1230011S1230012S1230013S1230014S1230015S1230016

fin construction:


head support, pot rivets used:


jaws secured with fabric dipped in latex:


I really enjoyed the patch work effect of the fabric but the finish of the latex was slightly messy next time i need to learn how to use latex to create a smooth finish.


pull string to operate jaw mechanism in place and operational:


My visit to a puppetry workshop

Over my first year in cardiff I have made friends with some people at the royal welsh college for performing arts. They are on a theatre design course and get taught how to build props, costumes and much much more, all for the theatre. Their last project for the year is PUPPETRY! Their workshops are off limits to non students but I managed to wrangle myself a visit to look at some of the techniques they were using to build the puppets. I just wish I had, this opportunity earlier in the year as the things I learnt on this visit really opened my eyes about professional construction techniques and it was too late to start changing my materials and processes. When doing my initial research into puppetry and construction I found little information on construction techniques. everything was very broad with next to no materials listed, at the time i was frustrated and baffled as to why this was. After visiting the workshops and seeing how specialised they skills are I see now that these are well guarded trade secrets; as things like weight and movement are so important in puppetry (especially on a large scale).

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This was a thrird years final peice and i was so amazing by its complex and extravegant design! the structure was made from cane called withy, it comes it straight sticks and has to be soaked before being used to create the frame and shape. the skin was made form layers of tissue paper. all this meant the design was extremely light. i wishe i had known about withy at the start of the year and had time to source some as the main draw back of the dragon is its weight. meaning more puppeteers are needed to operate him. however the less one can see the puppeteers the more convincing the character becomes, which is what puppetry is all about! Inside was a body harness and the arms legs and teeth were fully operational. The best thing about this design was that the eyes also moved! As both arms would be occupied the eyes had a mouth control! this meant when the puppeteer moved their head up and down it pulled the eyes! This is such a genius design I was so impressed.

puppetry 5

Day 11 of dragon construction

Day 11 I started by spray painting the dragons head silver.


The spray paint highlighted and imperfections so i spent some time going over the surface patching up and smoothing the skin.


Then I started thinking about scales. I made donation boxes for old Cd’s and put them in uni and my halls office to keep on the recycled path. To prep the cds I sprayed the backs of them with silver so that if the back showed when mounted they wouldn’t stand out. 4243

I really enjoyed the pattern the cd’s made on the floor after spraying and thought it may be a good technique to create a scale pattern when I eventually completed the skin of the body.


I found a piece of netting that i thought could be used to create a scales pattern here’s my test:

I then started the process of cutting up cds for the scales. It proved harder than I had thought to cut them as the holographic shine peeled off quite a lot or the cd cracked when I cut them. I used multiple knives, scissors, and saws and found that scoring the cds then slowly cutting them with scissors was the best method however it was still very difficult to get all the pieces perfect.

Day 10 of dragon construction

Day 10 I tried out the head on the base that I had made and found that it was too weak as the head was larger than expected so that it was in proportion to the body. So I went about constructing a new design. I used 28mm piping instead of 15mm for extra strength but I felt it needed a more sturdy base so I wanted to put a copper pipe in to stop the head from drooping.


I didn’t have a fitting that was compatible with my design so used a drill and files to make a whole through a 3 pronged connector.


Top jaw complete:


bottom jaw construction:


I used screws to stop the pipes from moving independently as the fittings spin.


I then played around and used cable ties for the hinge.



Day 9 of dragon construction

Day 9 I started making the eyes. I wanted to play around with the colouring and design of the eyes so I made some practices. To do  this I used acrylic paint a sponge and some spray paint. I knew I wanted them to have a galaxy design but wasn’t sure on the colour or whether or not it should have pupils or not. The audience’s perception and involvement in the dragon is a key specification point for my brief, as at a festival its all about the atmosphere you create and interaction with the public in a convincing way is important. After making these tests I felt no pupil was best. I thought that as the eyes weren’t going to move it would make the dragon look almost vacant and dead. without a pupil it would look like it could be looking at anyone rather than past them. Then I used the practice eye as a template and traced the shape. I felt the green eye would match the colours of the dragon best as CD’s usually have slightly green tint to them.26

finished eyes:


Before mounting the eyes into the head I did a initial layer of paper mache.


I then started building up the bottom lid and fixing the eyes in place. 23

By the end day 9 the dragon has eyes and her character is starting to shine through!


Day 8 of dragon construction

Day 8 I started figuring out the support pole for the head. I found this pole from a rotary clothes line I thought the premade pivot section would make a great trigger for the mouth mechanism, with the added bonus that it was a recycled object! I aim to make the dragon out of as much recycled and found materials as possible as Boomtown is who im tailoring this design for and they strive to be as eco friendly as possible. By also being eco friendly where I can be I hope to peak their interest for my final piece.

I cut the sections off using the rotary saw and i had the begining of my handle.



I used a vice to flattern the end ready drill wholes foo the bolts to attach it to the head.


Once attached I realised the head span which I didn’t want so to stop this I added screws to hole it in place. 13

Dragon construction day 7

Day 7 I started building up the features using paper mache and cardboard.



I made a mock up eye from an old drinks bottle to help my shape the eyes.


I then used cardboard to build up the horns. I found it tricky to keep the rings in place whilst I formed the desired curve. Once I had the shape I wanted I did a layer of paper mache to give them strength.

Then I used copydex glue to secure them to the head.


End of day 7 and the dragon has horns!!

Day 6 of dragon construction

Day six saw the start of construction of the head! I started by measuring out the dimensions of the head and scale in relation to the body. I then started by making a basic shape out of chicken wire.

skull/ top jaw:

day 6 aday 6 b

Upper and lower jaw:

day 6 c

day 6 d

I then used a layer of mod rock to create a base of strength whilst still being fairly light weight. I had never used mod rock before and I really enjoyed the process! I found it clung to the wire well and beautifully highlighted the shape. Also the mod rock brought out the shape of the chicken wire under neath. I really love this texture as I feel it quite strongly resembles scales.

day 6 eday 6 f

I left the chicken wire on the inside exposed so I had a means to connect the head to the base pipes on the skeleton.

day 6 gday 6 h

By the end of day 6 the dragon has a head!

day 6 i