HoooBoy, let me start by saying that I am not very versed in dragon lore, except to know that throughout history Western dragons have tended to be the man-eating kind (like Grendel, chomping on all Beowulf's acquaintances) and Eastern dragons have tended to be the spiritual kind (like all those elaborate Chinese dragons on silk prints).
Another bit of lore that I ran across the other day was the mapmaker's phrase "Here be dragons." Apparently, in times past, long before GPS navigation aids were readily available at Best Buy, mapmakers would draw as much of the known world as possible, and then they would caption the unknown rest with the warning "Here be dragons."
I ought to be giving you links to all this stuff as I write, but honestly, the web is so filled with dragon lore that I can't remember where I read what! Just google "dragons," and you will be busy hunting and capturing magnificent creatures of fire all day long!
If you live anywhere near civilization (not saying country isn't civilized, just remarking on having to drive an hour to get there), you can also head into a bookstore and ramble the aisles. You'll find dragons in the New Age spiritual section, the juvenile section, the fiction section, and the bargain section. I was just inside a Barnes & Noble yesterday (yes, I had to break down and make the hour drive because I was sorely in need of a bookstore fix!). There were so many beautifully illustrated books featuring dragons, and yet, I left without a one of them because I could not choose among them!
Think Beowulf was a classic piece of literature? Wait until you run across the story written from the dragon's perspective. Grendel, the book by John Somebody who might have been aided by hallucinogens in his writing considering he wrote the book in the early 1970's, is still lurking somewhere in my china cabinet with all the other classic literature. I fell in love with that dark book when it was assigned in college some two decades ago. Writing about dragons gives me the urge to unload all those double and triple rows of books and find that particular one to re-read. . .
Ah, but, as usual, I digress. Hell, I don't just digress from the path of discussion, I tend to climb on and off the path, take shortcuts, wander around in circles, and then jump back on the path. What I was coming here to tell you is that I have been brewing dragon images in the back of my mind almost since before I first lit my torch. I've made flame breathing dragon heads, but never managed to make a whole dragon the way I wanted.
Here's where I say it: The dragons are winning, and I didn't even know it was supposed to be a battle! I like dragons, and I especially like the Eastern dragons in all their ornate, protective, magnificently beneficent glory.
Apparently, I have not told them so in the right words yet, because they are defying all my efforts to finally make one that matches my personal vision. The dragons slayed me again last night-- I spent hours (once again, the actual time torching is split up into small segments, which is actually part of why I'm sticking with boro and off mandrel work these summer vacation days) working on a dragon with a Chinese shou symbol of longevity on his chest. He (or maybe it was a she?) started out lovely, and as soon as I got excited about the progress, the glass went to hell in a handbasket and never came back (unless you count the myriad pieces of wings and tails strung across my workspace).
So, this morning, I offer up a conciliatory, humble, and maybe even groveling, prayer to the dragons. Please, please, let me finish this beautiful dragon that I have started today. It's the one in the picture. He is magnificent to me, and I would love to breathe life into the rest of his body. . . pretty please??
Happy Friday from Ang, who knows that she art crunchy and particularly good with catsup!