Dragons – Winter Themed Challenge

December 3, 2016 , In: Design Challenge, Inspiration, Upcoming Events

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!


dragon is a legendary creature, typically scaled or fire-spewing and with serpentinereptilian or avian traits, that features in the myths of many cultures around world. The two most well-known cultural traditions of dragon are

  • The European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Balkans and Western Asian mythologies. Most are depicted as reptilian creatures with animal-level intelligence, and are uniquely six-limbed (four legs and a separate set of wings).
  • The Chinese dragon, with counterparts in Japan (namely the Japanese dragon), Korea and other East Asian and South Asian countries.[1]Most are depicted as serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence, and are quadrupeds (four legs and wingless).

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”.


Dragons at Hampton Court

Here in the UK we are surrounded with tales and images of dragons.


The Tudor Dragon


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!

Welsh flag

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 (WelshEryri).


The fight between the red and white dragons: an illustration from a 15th-century manuscript


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….


Lacey’s Dragons

Dragons by Laney Mead

I have the beautiful purple dragon by Laney in my own collection and he is one of my most favourite beads ever…. yes, EVER!


Jenny’s Dragons

Dragons by Jenny Davies-Reazor

Check out these treasures by Jenny aren’t they amazing!

I really hope that all our readers will enjoy the theme

Theme challenge details

  • You must have an active blog.
  • The Goal of the challenge is to  Have fun! Try something different! Be inspired to make something that fits within this theme. 
  • You are free to use any artist bead/component in your design, from an AJE team member, of your own creation or from another artisan bead maker you could even make something without beads!
  • Share/Reveal – The reveal will take place on Saturday 7th January 
  • If you would like to be included in the blog reveal on the 7th, please email me silverniknats @ email . com (remove spaces) or send me a Facebook message. emails/Messages need to be received by January 4th to be included, I look forward to seeing everyones designs!

Niky Sayers

Niky Sayers started creating jewellery 6 years ago after stumbling across a jewellery making blog while looking for a hobby. She is a stay at home mum with hermit like tendencies, a mild addiction to coffee and chocolate and a love of all things handmade or antique/rusty. While not raising her tribe she like to keep as busy as possible playing with metal sheet, wire and other treasures and trinkets all at her kitchen table in Surrey, England.
  1. Reply

    Here be dragoooons….! Such a great topic 🙂

    • Reply

      ….and I need to create such a gorgeous tile dragon piece…

  2. Reply

    Niky-I think this is going to be an incredible challenge & I can’t wait to see what your Dragon theme will inspire!

  3. Reply

    I LOVE dragons 😀 so glad my dragon is your favourite 😀

  4. Reply

    I live in an area of Nottingham and we have a metal dragon at the edge of the area, it’s an art piece and it’s really cool – you can see it here

    • Cathy
    • December 10, 2016

    LOVE this theme! I have so many ideas for creating something this month I better get busy and start beading!

    • Kathy Lindemer
    • December 14, 2016

    I am inspired to use a dragon piece that I have had for years. I love dragon them.

  5. Pingback: » Dragon Inspiration

    • Anita
    • December 31, 2016

    I’ve mustered enough courage to participate! 🙂 Are we to post on our blogs about our pieces on the day of the reveal itself, or before we message Niky?

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