Carving our dragon boat head at Sea Vancouver Festival

Well… we almost did it… finish our dragon boat head and tail.
Our beautifully conceived and designed contemporary and multicultural
dragon boat head and tail is amongst the first contemporary designed
heads and tails that we know of in the world.  Usually only
traditional heads and tails are used for the teak boats, the Taiwanese
style boats, the 6-16 boats, the Gemini or BuK boats… (I won't even
mention the puppet-like satin heads and tails and foamy heads for those
“other” boats.)

Our tail looks absolutely gorgeous.  The red tail sinuously curves
above the simulated curving water of the design.  (picture to
appear soon.)  Curves are definitely sexy.  And we worked
more curves into the head too!  Curves on the tongue, on the
snout, along the back.

This dragon boat head carving has certainly been a challenge. 
Master carver and instructor Eric Neighbor said this weekend, “Remember
when we first started the project at the Roundhouse Community Centre, I
said this project would challenge you in ways you didn't think
possible… I mean it… But you and Bob have certainly risen to each
challenge, and constantly surprise me.”

There were definitely times when our slow progress would worry
Eric.  It had only been this past Monday, 3 days before we were
supposed to deliver the partially completed carvings on site, that I
had taken the chain saw to our dragon boat head for a drastic
reshaping.  It definitely needed it.  That moved the energy
forward.  Carving a dragon boat is a lot like living through Life
– you can't always see the shape to be revealed “under the wood.” 
Things happen… nicks happen… reshaping and new inspiried ideas
happen.  While I was working with an electric grinder, I suddenly
was inspired to give the dragons indentations in the snout for
nostrils, very cool!  And while shaping the tongue, I was suddenly
inspired to make the tongue concave on the top with a  very sexy
curl.  Double cool!

The public continued to watch us carve, and ask questions.  Again,
many people asked about dragon boat racing, and also to ask why we
weren't selling or giving away haggis.

The final pieces to add to our head were the “bagpipe” horns and
“hockey stick” inspired neck plates.  This completed the
multicultural montage of Chinese, Scottish and Canadian
influence.  After aborting using real hockey stick blades, I
carved small models from cedal shingles.  This were painted black
and mounted on the back of the neck.  Similarly, the horns were
modeled on the “pipes” of bagpipes.  They were also painted black
and mounted on the top of the head.  A little tam hat, made of
tartan cloth covers the head.

At the end of the day – we all shook hands and hugged each of our
fellow carvers.  Mike Dangeli was the most gracious, giving each
carver a copy of his latest serigraph (silk screen) print titled
“Premonitions.”  It is a beautiful work.  I look forward to
seeing Mike, Eric and Mari soon.  Bob… I see him twice a week
anyways on the dragon boats!.

pictures to follow!

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