Friday, March 8, 2013

S3PP: The Dragon Eggs

S3PP - Season 3 Premiere Party
The Dragon Eggs

They aren't perfect like they are on the show but I still think they're pretty awesome.  I looked online for these to get some inspiration and believe it or not, I am not the only person who has thought of this.  Although the other folks creating these things are using a variety of mediums to poured moldings to some kind of poly to... well... I don’t know what else.  I chose to use clay with mine because when they're done and fired, they will be heavy like stone and have the feel of what a real dragon egg would feel like if, ya know, we lived in Westeros.

The ones I found online I thought were pretty cool.  One artist sells the set plus a chest to put them in for $400.  I'm in the wrong business, I swear!!  I liked hers but I thought the colors were all wrong - they're very pastel... not at all what I had imagined and in true "JESS" form I decided I could do it better.  Not that there is anything wrong with her style or anything but it's different than mine so - IT'S WRONG!  ....

I kind of have an "in" with this thing because a wonderful buddy of mine is also a potter and has access to a kiln to fire these babies for me. 

I had the choice of buying either a stone colored clay or a red clay - in the be-all-end-all it really doesn't matter which clay but as a former potter, it's been my experience that the stone clay has more grit so I chose the red clay for a smoother feel.  And with no real "Workspace" to be found in my humble home, I pulled out the trusty old ply board and went to work.  First thing is first when you're dealing with clay, you gotta KNEAD it.  Much of the time when the clay is poured into bricks they don't get all the air out and if you fire something with an air pocket inside, it will explode in the kiln and ruin not only your project but possibly every other project in the kiln.  This is bad.  So always a good idea to spend a few minutes kneading your clay like it's a ball of dough to push the air bubbles out.  Too bad this doesn't work on politicians.

I started out with a basic coil pot and worked my way all the way up the sides.   To form the egg I had to do a LOT of pounding especially to close up the top. When you're done, you'll have something like the gems at the top to work with.

If you're new to clay, there’s a few things you need to remember:
1.) Your item will shrink 11% in the drying/firing process so it's important to account for that when you're making something.
2.) If you're making an item like this by hand (Without the use of a wheel..) it's important to remember that when you're attaching your coils together, you're going to need to "Score and Slip" in between each coil.  Basically, run a fork in a criss cross pattern and mist it with a spray bottle for any surfaces where 2 coils will join together.  Now that you're completely confused...

The eggs should be smooth inside and out when you're done and you completely close up the top.  I started this with 1 egg and made the other 2 another night so the one you see in the back is in the process of drying to it's "Leather Hard" phase.  Soon it will be "Bone Dry" and ready for firing.

Next is the most time consuming part of all - adding the scales.  I took a fork and scored the entire outside of my egg to make sure that the scales had something to grab on to.  It's best to put the scales on after your egg has had a chance to firm up a bit so leave it out for no more than a few hours to let it get a bit more solid.  This will make it easier when you're pushing the scales on.

I made every scale just about the same size - at first I made them WAY too big and thought it looked funny so I peeled them all off and started again.  It's best to work in rows here and score the back of every scale before you put it on.  I would attach 1 row and smooth the top of each scale into the egg to make sure it wouldn't move.  I did this all the way until I got to the top.  Each egg took me approximately 2.5 hours to complete and that's just the construction! 

To add a bit more texture on the bottom like the real eggs have I went outside in the middle of the night like a crazy person and rolled the bottom of the egg in the dirt and bark where my bushes live.  You can see the dirt on the bottom in this picture here but that will all burn off in the kiln and leave this sweet looking texture.  Before you let this egg completely dry there is something very important that we need to do - we need to put some holes in it.  I places 4 holes very carefully towards the bottom of each egg about the size of meat thermometer tip.  I hid them under the scales so they wouldn't be so obvious.  This is important becuase if you forget to put holes in these, they will blow up in the firing process and ruin your day.  Don't forget the holes!!!

As of right now, I have 3 eggs that have been created and fired through once.  They will need to be fired one more time at a high firing to finish them off and make them more solid.  For projects like this, you need to do 2 firings.  The first firing will turn your project into "greenware" which is ready for glazing.  The second firing is to strengthen your piece and melt the glaze if you have any. We don't have any, we have other plans... muhahahahh!

After they are fired the second time and I get them back, I am going to paint them with acrylic paints to complete their coloring.  I love using acrylics because they're very rich in their colors.  I will do 1 egg with whites, yellows, and gold accents - this will be Viserion's egg.  For the next egg I will use greens, blues, and bronze - this will be Rhaegal's egg.   Lastly, I will use blacks, purples, and reds for Drogon's egg.   I can't wait until they're done they're already so awesome and are going to be even more so when I get a final picture up for you.

My plan is to set these in a pine box that is rigged with a heating pad so that they're warm to the touch when the guests arrive.  This could also be a terrible fire hazard but I live on the dangerous side of life...  I will probably set it up in my fire place surrounded by candles just in case things get out of control... Note to self - buy a fire extinguisher...

I also decided to be ambitious here and make a dragon egg bowl for each guest to eat their dessert out of - well, the dragon egg bowls for some weird reason take longer to make so I got done with 2 of them and called it quits... with 13 people coming over, and each egg bowl taking 3.5 hours to make... I'd be busy for a very long time.  We'll have a competition before dinner to see who the winner of the dragon egg desserts are and the loser will wear the hand of the king pin - which means by the end of the night we will need to kill that person off.  It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt!

Once I get these beauties completely painted and in their home, I will post a new picture for you.  If you're taking this on, good luck!  It's a lot of fun but time consuming and a very involved project.  The result though is amazing and even better that every egg is different because they're made by hand.

And if anyone wants to buy em for $400.... sheesh!

1 comment:

  1. I was just informed that my eggs are out of the kiln and ready to be painted! woot!!!!!