I must make design decisions for Dragons wings.
I considered the aerodynamic properties of creatures who are propelled by Magic or possibly a lot of hot air. Should the wing be thicker to trap more air thus giving him better lift with air displacement? Alternatively, would thicker wings add too much weight and should I look at a thinner more gossamer wing structure to keep his overall weight down? He has those industrial strength hands and feet so maybe not adding more to his overall weight would be preferable.
Bumblebees, dragonfly’s or hummingbirds, all of whom have delicate wings compared to their body use increased beats per second of those wings to overcome gravity. Dragon also has the option of magic and possibly hot air so he should be fine with the finer wing structure.
How am I going to achieve this “light” wing structure?
I had Dragon preen his wings until he was pleased with them. Then he reclined with his wings on a piece of paper. I traced the shape of each of the wings (I think he may be ticklish) on the paper. This gave me a template to lay out fibre for the web of the wing.
1) Wing armature tracings
If I had wanted to wet felt the wings I would have transferred the outline to a clear plastic or overlay a clear plastic over the paper. (I have a couple of transparent plastic duo-tang covers that would work and lots of permanent waterproof markers.) As you likely have noticed, I am not fond of unnecessary wetness so decided to continue working dry.
I mixed thin layers of wool and silk. Adding fibre, I was focusing on the bony side of the wing and thinner on the trailing web side. I lightly rubbed the fibre, to start the felting process, then moved it to the foam working surface.
2) layout of fibre over the template
3) transferred to the felting mat.
I started by tacking the wool along the front (bony) edge then used the fake clover tool to consolidate the web part of the wing.
4) using the fake clover tool to make the thin felt webbing.
It looked a bit thick to start but it flattened down quite a bit. I checked the length of the wing and found it had expanded slightly as I had felted it. I worked with a single needle almost horizontally pushing the fibre from the outside to shrink the leading edge to fit his wing length.
I placed the wing armature, which I had wrapped in wool, on top of the web so that the wing armature will be below the web on the wing. This gave me two ways I can attach the wing web to the armature, first, using a single needle to the leading edge, then continuing attaching down the ribs. Then laying wisps of wool across the ribs and felted that into both the web and the rib. I had a bit of extra fibre at the leading edge, which I wrapped over and attached it to the armature and leading edge of the web. After working from the underside of the wing I repositioned Dragon then worked from the top side of the wing.
5) The underside of the wing. Attaching whips over the ribs and working on the leading edge of the wing.
6) First wing is done and now on to the second wing.
7) Second wing, “Dragon, Lie down and relax, try not to move!”
8) Second wing detail
Working the web onto the wool wrapped armature, I was using the single needle to shrink the length a bit more as I attached the second wing web.
9) Dragon showed off his New wings
10) Snoozing comfortably in his project box ready for his trip home.
Back in Ottawa, I added a bit more silk to the wings then started to work on the crest. I had made the crest with Corriedale and added small wisps of silk to either side of the crest. The silk roving I am using has blues into blue-purple. I used some of the blue-purple above the hips but found it quite jarring so have removed it at this point and may revisit adding the purple closer to the final top layer. I still have more work to do adding more highlights in both the Corriedale and the silk or silk blended with Corriedale.
11) Yawn and stretch of the wings, maybe a bigger project box would be better, but at least he has a bag of silk as a pillow.
He is showing off his fine wings and the beginnings of his crest. He still needs eyes and a few more details to be added. Here is his photoshoot showing off the progress so far.
12-20 Dragon shows off his wings and progress on his crest
I still have quite a bit to do but Dragon is enjoying his new wings and the pillow of silk fibre in his project box! I hope I will be able to add more detail but I think the rest of this month may be very busy. (I heard a rumour X-mass is only weeks away!!! I am hoping for a second opinion!!)
Have fun and keep felting!!