Playing with multi-axis turning, and piano wire to add a little actual movement to pieces, got me wondering if I could turn a dragonfly, or at least the head and body - with a curve to it. Had no idea at the time how I'd do the wings - but figured it would come to me when I got to that part. Since I "wing it" a lot, this is, more often than not, how it works - for me - and it did.

So this was the first dragonfly attempt - using a ball turned on the end of the blank - held in the jaws of a scroll chuck so I could change the axis almost any way I wanted to. If you want to see that idea the CLICK HERE. Use the Back Arrow in your browser to get back here.

Anyway, having used a poplar dowel to start with, covering the wood, with gold leaf wasn't going to hide any nice wood grain. Besides, most dragonflies are irridescent so why not? Picked up 25 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" sheets for $10 at the local hobby shop, another $2.50 for a small bottle of "sizing" and leafed the body, Sharpi felt tip pen on the "eyes" and the body was done.

Had some black walnut from an earlier turned lidded box handy so I turned a pedestal, drilled a hole in the top, turned a round tenon on a grape vine branch and glued them together. Stuck a piece of 0.015" diameter wire down into the pith, drilled a small (very small) hole in the underside of the dragonfly and - magic - a dragonfly hovering over a branch.

Time for the Wings Problem / Challenge.

Now I'm one of those people who pick up stuff - with little or no idea of what I'm going to do with it. About three years ago I bought six packets of veneer, birdseye maple, crotch black walnut, ribbon mahogany, lacewood, etc. an hour before a woodworking show was to end. The End Of The Show prices were just too good to pass up. Those bundles have been sitting on top of the fire proof metal cabinet that holds finishes, solvents, etc. since that time. I FINALLY had a use for some - they'd be great for dragonfly wings! A few pencil lines, a sharp 1" bench chisel, a little sanding of edges and I had the wings. Attaching them was the fun part. Stripped some 8 gauge braided electrical wire, unwound some individual wires from the bundle and, after applying a little CN glue to the leading edge of a wing, I glue it to the wing (OK - so I also glued my finger to both the wire AND the veneer - but only twice).

More little hole drilling, some more CN glue and the wings were on and I was done - with the first dragonfly - The Gold One.

Back to the lathe, another poplar dowel, a little more Ball In The Chuck multi-axis turning and I had another dragonfly body with a more noticeable curve to it. A little silver spray paint as a metallic undercoat, a little blue spray paint, more gold leaf - and more blackening with a Sharpi and the body was done. Another piece of a grape vine branch, another larger diameter black walnut base, another round tenon on the branch, another hole in the top of the turned pedestal - a little piano wire - a slightly larger hole for the piano wire and - the dragonfly not only rocked on the end of the piano wire, but could swing around - without falling off. Kooooooool!

Got out a piece of the lacewood veneer, cut some more wings - and this time I put a little Waxalit on the fingertip that would hold the CN glued wing to wire joint together. No more glueing myself to the pieces! Four holes in the dragonfly body for the wings, a drop of "thick" CN glue per wing - and DONE!

The spring steel wire enables these things to be set in motion with even a light puff of air.

When I started these dragonflies I had no idea why I was doing them. But I've learned from experience that the reason will become apparent when the time comes.

An old friend, who I later discovered has a dragon fly mobile she really likes, will be getting one, as will an old friend of hers (and mine). Hopefully they'll bring a smile or two. These two women go WAY back - a dynamic duo - rather than Thelma and Louise they're more like Louise and Louise - both Texas Gals - orginally from Austin.

So Carroll and Vicky, I hope you don't mind that I've shared YOUR Dragonflies with The Web.

Post Script:

Carroll died Christmas Eve morning - peacefuly in her sleep. Friends from all over had, over the last month or so, come to visit with her and pay their respects to an old and dear friend. One of the dragonflies went back to Texas with Vicky and another of Carroll's old friends Ellen now has the other one. So for a few people, every dragonfly will remind us of Carroll.

A friend set me the following story - which I shared with Carol before she died.


In the bottom of an old pond lived some little creatures who could not understand why none of their group ever came back after crawling up the stems of a water lily to the top of the water. They promised each other that the next one who was called to make the upward climb would return and tell what happened to him.

Soon one of them felt an urgent impulse to seek the surface; she rested herself on the top of a lily pad and went through a glorious transformation, which made her a dragonfly with beautiful wings. In vains he tried to keep her promise. Flying back and forth over the pond, she peered down at her friends below. Then she realized that even if they could see her, they would not recognize such a radiant creature as one of their number.

The fact that we cannot see our family and friends or communicate with them after the transformation, which we call death, is no proof that they cease to exist.

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