The Squeaking Tribe

Aurelae, a Dragon of the Air – Elemental Dragon Marionette


Aurelae, a Dragon of the Air, has manifested her powers through the harnessing of winds in Earth’s high stratosphere. Not content with the gift of flight alone, she has managed to focus the air’s ability to exist in all places at once and can travel at supersonic speeds to all the corners of the globe in less time than it takes to boil an egg. She is a frisky one and not easy to rile, but the air is nolonger as fresh as it once was, and every passing year she is forced to share the skies with more and more human-made aircrafts which show little regard for the sanctity of the atmosphere, tearing holes through the ozone and leaving waste and foulness in their wake. She has managed to distinguish between the slow moving people-movers and the faster-moving super jets of the human elite which she has started targeting for cheeky attacks, knocking them from the clouds for their blatant disregard of the Planet’s suffering.
Elemental Dragons
Everyone everywhere is familiar with the concept of dragons, the mighty flying reptiles breathing fire and wreaking havoc in tales of legend and fantasy all over the world. Throughout history, human cultures have developed stories of their awesome strength and abilities and these in turn have been depicted visually by more artists and imagineers than anyone could count.
My early forays into developing dragons in marionette form were long and complicated and required an attention to detail that challenged my humbler talents back then. Time and experience, of course, are our greatest educators and it doesn’t hurt to have an innovative partner to help break through old limitations. Sara developed her own range of smaller beasties which are beautiful and accessible to all but the Elemental Dragons represent a return to the larger, articulated experiments of my early designs and represent our shared talents in a way which is truly inspiring.
The process of creation is still laborious but entails so many varying ideas and components, the journey remains a wholly exciting and satisfying experience. From pattern-making to soft sculpture, texturing, air-brushing, hand painting and skeletal design before ultimate assembly and costuming, there are many opportunities to deviate our ideas into new solutions. In embracing this, we have chosen a loose concept of naturally-occurring elements to steer our minds and guide our brushes, and the results speak for themselves.
Working from appropriate colour palettes, the nature of the elements are explored through the physical and spiritual manifestations as they have occurred and been understood by world cultures – be they Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Wood or Metal. And interestingly, all these elements are represented in everything we do relating to puppet-making, whether its working with clay (earth and water), kiln-firing the clay (fire), sculpting body forms (wood and metal) or breathing the final Breath of Life into each of them (air, of course).
 It is these little synchronicities which have kept us making marionettes for over a quarter of a century. And sharing them with you, of course.


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