Today I have the pleasure of launching our December themed challenge! The challenge is to create something (it could be beads, jewellery, art work etc…) inspired by the subject! The media you use and the finished piece is completely up to you and your muse!
I have throughly enjoyed our past themed challenges and have been racking my brains for inspiration and the theme I keep coming back to is Dragons!
A dragon is a legendary creature, typically scaled or fire-spewing and with serpentine, reptilian or avian traits, that features in the myths of many cultures around world. The two most well-known cultural traditions of dragon are
The two traditions may have evolved separately, but have influenced each other to a certain extent, particularly with the cross-cultural contact of recent centuries. The English word dragon and Latin word draco derives from Greek δράκων (drákōn), “dragon, serpent of huge size, water-snake”.
Here in the UK we are surrounded with tales and images of dragons.
My earliest dragon related memory was being told the tail of Saint George and the Dragon in primary school, where the hero rides to a foreign land only to find a princess about to be fed to a dragon, he spears the dragon wounding it, rescues the princess and takes the dragon back to the King promising to kill it if they convert to Christianity. I’m sure the original story was a lot more long winded but I have always had a short attention span!
Then there is the red dragon on the Welsh flag!
The tail of the red dragon goes….
In the Mabinogion story Lludd and Llefelys, the red dragon fights with an invading White Dragon. His pained shrieks cause women to miscarry, animals to perish and plants to become barren. Lludd, king of Britain, goes to his wise brother Llefelys in France. Llefelys tells him to dig a pit in the centre of Britain, fill it with mead, and cover it with cloth. Lludd does this, and the dragons drink the mead and fall asleep. Lludd imprisons them, still wrapped in their cloth, in Dinas Emrys in Snowdonia (Welsh: Eryri).
The tale is taken up in the Historia Brittonum. The dragons remain at Dinas Emrys for centuries until King Vortigern tries to build a castle there. Every night the castle walls and foundations are demolished by unseen forces. Vortigern consults his advisers, who tell him to find a boy with no natural father, and sacrifice him. Vortigern finds such a boy (who is later, in some tellings, to become Merlin) who is supposed to be the wisest wizard ever to live. On hearing that he is to be put to death to end the demolition of the walls, the boy is dismissive of the advice, and tells the king about the two dragons. Vortigern excavates the hill, freeing the dragons. They continue their fight and the red dragon finally defeats the white dragon. The boy tells Vortigern that the white dragon symbolises the Saxons and that the red dragon symbolises the people of Vortigern. If Vortigern is accepted to have lived in the 5th century, then these people are the British whom the Saxons failed to subdue and who became the Welsh.
The same story is repeated in Geoffrey of Monmouth‘s History of the Kings of Britain, where the red dragon is also a prophecy of the coming of King Arthur. Note that Arthur’s father was named Uther Pendragon (‘Pendragon’: ‘Pen’ (Head) and ‘Dragon’, being translated by Geoffrey as “dragon’s head”).
If that is not enough to inspire you then there is always Game of Thrones (who would not want to be the mother of dragons)
There are also these treasures from my fellow Art Element team members….
I have the beautiful purple dragon by Laney in my own collection and he is one of my most favourite beads ever…. yes, EVER!
Check out these treasures by Jenny aren’t they amazing!
I really hope that all our readers will enjoy the theme