I was inspired by the finnish mythology and the creature we know as dragon. In finnish folklore we don’t have a dragon, and I wondered how would it look like. I decided to build my own version of the creature and make the aesthetic fit the world of finnish mythology. I named the piece lohikiärme, for it means dragon in my own dialect and I wanted to tie the sculpture to my roots, where the inspiration lies.
I was inspired by our family’s swamp and its raw and eerie atmosphere. I decided my dragon would live in the swamp.
Lohikiärme means literally ‘salmon-snake’, so I borrowed features from both of the animals. I also wanted to take elements from frogs and lizards.
I wanted the dragon to be able to take a peek from below the surface, so I gave him frog like eyes. I gave him claws to crawl with and fins to swim with.
Making of the dragon in the barn attic. At the end the creature measured around 1,3 meters.
The finished sculpture ready for the firing. I decided to pit-fire the piece, for the creature needed to be born out of finnish soil, escorted by flames.
To intensify the mythology-aspect, I decided to fire the piece with plants and herbs that are told to have magical and healing properties according to finnish folklore. Cicely to repel evil spirits, rowan to bring luck and violets to protect.
For the firing I used mostly pine and spruce, for they are very important part of the finnish nature. In addition they created black tar in the porcess and infused the sculpture with overwhelming sweet scent of tar.
Details from the sculpture: warm hues and red spots on the tail, black, brown and grey pattern on the back and the sculpted hand on the side of the sculpture.
After waxing the sculpture revealed its true colours. The end result does feel like a piece of finnish mythology and truly fits the nature and the swamp.
Even though the gills exploded and a piece of wood was dropped on the tail, causing a break, I call this a success. He’s a precious child of mine, ready to be lurking in the bog ponds, breathing will o’ wisps.