Dragon Inro, a tale

The challenge for this month from the Lisa Pavelka and Katie Oskins group is an Inro. This is a group I joined to help me get motivated to learn new skills this year. It’s free and it’s never too late if you want to participate. This project involved a very small amount of cane, which sent me into a panic. I have managed to avoid canework in the past quite successfully, and I was probably going to go along and tell myself, quite happily, that it was okay because “that’s not my thing.” Except, then I saw this tutorial by Mihaela Georgescu and I had to call myself a liar. The beauty in this tutorial is it doesn’t have to be perfect–it’s quite matter of fact about squishing clay together with no panic about the end product. It looks how it looks and that’s beautiful. So, that was my impetus.

I had been thinking about colors all month. I did a little poll on my Windbent page to help me with color choices and my tribe picked this color palette.

 
Then, I made my first cane.

  

At this point, I had decided that I had made a wing like cane and started thinking about creatures with wings…

  

Just that fast, a dragon was born. I didn’t let a little thing like never having made an Inro or dragon phase me; I had made cane after all, so I was obviously awesome…although, I really wish I had this Christi Friesen book. Sadly, it’s out of print and unaffordable. What I should have remembered was Katie Oskins makes fabulous dragons, but I didn’t so I had to muddle through on my own. Face palm. One day I will learn not to make my life harder than it has to be.

The Lisa Pavelka tutorial is what I used for the construction of the Inro. It calls for you to use a small metal bottle to bake the first piece on and I didn’t have one so I used a brass bracelet blank from B’Sue Boutiques that I bent to be as small as possible. 

  
I then covered it with my cane and baked it. Because I did not use Lisa’s design, the baking instructions were a little hard to figure out. I don’t think I baked it long enough, so I had some breakage that I had to repair on the next baking.

  
Next, came the lid, which was the most difficult for me. Because I had left scale fringe on the bottom of my box, I couldn’t stand it up to work on to get the top to line up properly. I also had forgotten to poke holes in the bottom before baking, so I made sure to put holes in the top and then line them up with the bottom as best I could when it came out of the oven and marked the bottom for drilling. These are for the cord.

  
My scales also made the top uneven. I do wish I had leveled it before baking, but I didn’t, so I had to make the top fit the bottom no matter what. This is where I made my other tactical error. Having never made a dragon head before, I started to play. Only then, I liked it. The problem was then squishing it onto the top so I could mark the holes again and bake it. I smooshed a fair amount of my dragon details in the process and had to redo a lot. I would recommend only doing the shape of whatever you want first and adding the details later. Yes, sigh, this should have been obvious.

 
At this point, I started thinking about wings. B’Sue Boutiques also has some really cool wings in every size and shape. I used these as molds.  

   

I also started work on my clasp. I baked a cord end and a clasp into the clay. Then, I decided to make some earrings, so I baked some of my cane and used the cut offs from scales to make the posts. I then made a little piece that goes on the cord. 

  

My final tactical error was that in baking on the wings, and since I couldn’t stand it up with the design I used, the back got a little flat and the weight smooshed in the box a little, making the lid harder to fit on. So, this is my very first: cane, Inro, and dragon. I made some mistakes, but overall it is something that won’t (hopefully) intimidate me again. 

   

  

  

  

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About windbent

I try to reclaim, reuse and re-love items from our past and make them modern again. I see my jewelry as a fusion of old and new, cross cultural, and spanning time periods. Because I use vintage items within my jewelry, there may be age related signs of love that make them special. Each piece will be unique or made in small batches that are similar, but still different. If I find an item I love and it doesn't want to become jewelry, I give it a new home in another art format.
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6 Responses to Dragon Inro, a tale

  1. Lennis Evans says:

    Was impressed.  Looks to be a lot of work.  Could see you were intent in your working process.  As you continue your work your skills will continue to grow.Keep working. This work/art form has always made you happy.  Continue to do whatever makes you happy.

  2. ZenithJade says:

    That turned out really lovely. Dragon for the win! ^_^

  3. Lennis, you did an amazing job, this is a very cool dragon inro. I love that you made a cane too, they are really fun once you figure them out!!!!!

  4. mtrudinger says:

    It’s wonderful Lennis!

  5. Thank you very much for mentioning me in your comment! I am so happy that you found my tutorial useful. I loved your dragon and your wing cane! Excellent work! Best wishes! Mihaela

  6. Kim says:

    I love this, great job!!

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