Saturday, June 11, 2011
HYCC kids' Sedred, the Fire Biter Silver Dragon
Another Spring, another project over at Hawthorne Youth and
Community Center. Last year as part of a "Community Creations"
program connected with the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum
we built a fantasy model of their courtyard:
This year, the HYCC kids looked at all the dragons at the museum
with artist Johnetta Tinker and drew their versions and ideas.
Then they returned to HYCC and worked with me to create the
dragon sculpture you see above.
First, they searched the HYCC grounds for dragon-looking
branches and other useful materials (like pine cones for spokes).
A skeleton of wood and wire ended up longer and bigger
than I expected - 8+ feet. But hey - I'm a believer in letting kids
go where their imagination leads. And dragons do have a way of
growing and growing!
Since my initial idea was to develop an outdoor sculpture,
we used foil and other natural materials to give the armature
bulk - Used a bit of duct tape to help it stay together while
They stripped some multi-strand wire found in the center
to create the "fire" streaming from the mouth.
Next scales and details. At E.X.C.L - the educational recycle
center: http://www.exclrecycles.org/ I found some foil and
felt insulation which the kids stripped the foil off, then attached
to some foam circles with one sticky side.
My hubby had found a roll of foil tape left on the grounds at
Jazzfest. It was perfect for helping secure the strips of scales
and adding detail to the LONG tail.
Glass eyes and foil eyebrows helped the dragon see.
Wings? - Plastic inserts from flower bouquets
from Wilson farms looked promising: http://www.wilsonfarm.com/
The kids agreed so I drove out to Wilson farms
and asked for two more inserts. They were intrigued
that we were making dragon wings. The plastic slipped
nicely over the extended branches.
"But what is a dragon without a nest and eggs?" the
kids asked. So work went on. Fortunately the nest
woven from Bittersweet vine resting in my studio was
available to be morphed once again into a participatory
project. The kids stripped more vines and wove
them in, added shiny Mylar, and nesting materials .
Had to make sure the dragon would fit:
Next the eggs - The ostrich egg I had in my studio was an
appropriate size. The kids wrapped it with plastic, then
with wet plaster bandages. When the plaster was hard, we
sliced it open, removed the real egg, and added paint.
and finally, of course, baby dragons had to begin to emerge.
Sculpted foil provided claws and tails...
Kids decided on a final name: Sedred, the Fire Biter Silver
Dragon. It took a ride in our van...and was displayed
in the Community Creations exhibit at the African
American Artist in Residency Program's gallery in
Jamaica Plain: http://www.northeastern.edu/daas/initiatives/aamarp/
The Gardner Museum is under construction
so this year the exhibit had a neighborhood venue which
means it can be there for a whole month.
I love seeing kids revel at their work in a true gallery setting.
It made a fun center piece for the exhibit. The other
groups did paintings, collage work, pop up books,
and ceramic treasure boxes - all distinct and wonderful
and reflecting the museum trips. The reception honored
the children efforts and the Museum's commitment
to community involvement.
Dragon finished, HYCC kids and I are on to a project
in landscaping architecture which has to be finished
up by the end of the school year.