When given the freedom and liberty to create, great things abound! Part Chinese culture, yet still very much Mardi Gras, the Chinese Dragon Dance Wedge was a concept that I thought about for a while. The Asian culture is rich with symbolism just as Mardi Gras is steeped in Greek mythology. Wanting to create a shoe that merged the two cultures, I started with the Krewe of Orpheus Leviathan signature parade float as my muse.
The three-unit 139 foot, dragon float travels the Uptown parade route illuminated by fiber optic lights, expeling clouds of smoke. With the head of a camel, the horns of a stag, the eyes of a demon, and the scales of carp, the leviathan’s head depicts the anatomy of a Chinese dragon. This work of art is one of my favorite floats!
The first order of business was finding a paper puppet sized to fit a shoe. I started with party supply retailers, but ultimately found the dragon on eBay. Using 3D fabric paint, I traced the head and tail details and then sprinkled with glitter, one color at a time. Chosen for the height, the wedge’s straps mimic the twisting body of the paper dragon. I glittered the straps with colors pulled from the puppet’s head and tail.
Suspended on bamboo sticks, the paper dragon puppet floats above the glittered wedge. Fully extended, the body of the dragon stretches to six feet. In an effort to play up the dragon scales, I added thicker cuts of glitter to the second application of glitter.
Using the glitter appliqué technique and a silhouette found through a Pinterest search , I created matching glittered dragons to adorn each side of the glittered wedge.
And to finish the wedge, I added the ubiquitous cloud of feathers!