×

Sign up to the newsletter

Dragons Lair

Project Year

2024

Client

National Trust- Chirk Castle

Introducing “Dragon’s Lair,” an innovative art installation housed within the venerable walls and gates of Chirk Castle, now under the stewardship of the National Trust.

At the heart of this project lies a captivating wireframe sculpture of imposing silhouette of a dragon, intricately crafted to evoke a sense of wonder and intrigue. This dragon, enveloped in green fabric and internally illuminated, exudes a mystical aura, inviting visitors to discover and behold its mesmerising presence.

Inspiration and Concept

The vision was to create an immersive experience that seamlessly integrates art, history, and mythology. Drawing both story inspiration and story itself from the rich tapestry of Welsh folklore and the architectural splendor of Chirk Castle, a creative journey was started to breathe life into the mythical creature that would come to guard the castle’s Easter treasures.

Unlike the traditional depiction of the Welsh Dragon in fiery red, this rendition offers a unique interpretation, blending hues of green to symbolize themes of renewal and vitality. This departure from convention serves to distinguish the sculpture as a contemporary masterpiece while paying homage to the rich heritage of Welsh mythology.

Situated within the confines and gardens of Chirk Castle and its property, a historic fortress steeped in centuries of tradition, the Dragon’s Lair serves as a focal point for the Easter season festivities. As part of the National Trust’s commitment to cultural preservation and public engagement, this installation offers a captivating blend of artistry and education. By exploring Wrexham in North Wales and the Welsh marches as an important habitat and outstanding natural beauty, it can be hugely influential to the Chirk Castle sculpture.

The sculpture is located in the beautifully preserved section of Chirk Castle, which has only just been opened to the general public, close to the award winning gardens with manicured lawns and wild flowers. The dragon sits harmoniously within the beautiful and eclectic collection within the entrance of the wooded pleasure ground. Chirk castle and its landscapes houses stark symbol of animals that are waiting to be discovered about the lavish interiors ready to be the subject of stories, legend and mythology.

Standing on a rocky outcrop above the confluence of the Dee and Ceiriog rivers, Chirk Castle was built to impress. It was one of the last of the great Edwardian castles built in the late C13th to subdue the Welsh and bring Wales firmly under the control of Edward I and the English throne. It controlled the Marcher land along the Welsh and English border, controlling movement and trade as well as acting as the main administrative centre for the area. Originally limewashed, its stark silhouette could be seen for miles – a constant reminder of English dominance

Design and Execution

Constructed with meticulous attention to detail, the wireframe dragon twists and spirals, embodying a sense of dynamic movement frozen in time. Lit from within, the sculpture casts intricate shadows, further enhancing its ethereal allure and creating a captivating atmosphere within the castle walls, gardens and gates.

The design process was a meticulous endeavor, marked by countless sketches and prototypes as it was sought to capture the essence of the dragon in wireframe form. Each twist and curve of the sculpture was carefully considered, aiming to strike a balance between dynamic movement and structural integrity.

Utilising green fabric to cloak and support the wireframe support structure, the aim was to infuse the dragon with an otherworldly aura, while internal lighting added depth and dimension to its form. The decision to depart from the traditional red hue of the Welsh Dragon was deliberate, offering a fresh interpretation that resonates with themes of rebirth and growth.

 

Integration with National Trust and Chirk Castle’s connections

Collaborating closely with the National Trust and Chirk Castle, the Dragon’s Lair was envisioned as more than just a static garden sculpture on estate parkland but as a centerpiece for the Easter festivities at Chirk Castle. By situating the installation within the castle’s historic confines, it was sought to imbue the sculpture with a sense of belonging, anchoring it firmly within Chirk castle and its storied past.

Symbolism and Significance

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, a visit to the castle Dragon’s Lair holds deeper symbolic significance, serving as a nod to Chirk Castle’s medieval roots and the enduring allure of mythical creatures. As visitors navigate the castle grounds and partake in Easter activities at last castle, the presence of the dragon serves as a reminder of the castle’s resilience and the enduring power of imagination.

Visitors are invited to explore next visit the Dragon’s Lair as part of a larger Easter adventure, where they can engage in interactive play stations and embark on a quest to test their bravery. Against the backdrop of landscape of the landscape and Chirk Castle’s storied past, this installation serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring power of myth and imagination.

As families, friends and enthusiasts alike gather to experience the Dragon’s Lair, they are transported to a realm wherefamily history and fantasy converge, igniting curiosity and sparking conversations about the family legacy of Chirk Castle and the cultural significance of mythical creatures like dragons.

In crafting the Dragon’s Lair at Chirk Castle, the aim was to create more than just a garden or a sculpture but a gateway to adventure and discovery. By blending art, mythology, and history, this installation invites visitors to explore the intersection of imagination and heritage both , leaving an indelible mark on all who dare to tread its hallowed halls.

[]