The lion dance is in my blood so even though I’m on sabbatical from performing I’ve still got a lot of projects to keep me busy and involved in the community. Since I am a family man as well, building lions for my kids is the perfect way to combine two of the most important things in my life. Unfortunately having kids leaves little time for lion building so even though I plan the projects out, actually getting them done is a really long process with huge gaps of time interrupting progress on them.
For instance, my first son was born almost 10 years ago and it took me over 2 years to build his lion. You can read more about it and see some close-up shots here.
By the time I finished that lion it was almost time for my daughter to be born and I started on her lion. And what you see here is still how it looks today. That’s seven years worth of work you’re looking at, baby.
Fast forward a few more years and number 2 son was on his way into the world. I was working on the Lo An Kee restoration at the time so I didn’t actually start building his before birth like the other kids’, but I did buy some supplies and start to plan it out. That was a year and a half ago and what you see over there is how far I’ve gotten since finishing the restoration about a year ago. Most of that amazing progress has happened in the past few days.
So now that I’ve cleared some other projects off of my schedule I’m ready to buckle down and start working on these two frames again! It feels good to dust off the work bench and start bending and binding again. As with my first son’s lion you can see I’m using aluminum for the base and main framing sections of the lion. Kids aren’t exactly known for being careful with their things so I figured some extra strong material was in order for their lions. What I learn about using different materials for their frames can be applied to building stronger and better full-sized lions as well.
The reverse is also true, what I learned restoring the Lo An Kee lion has helped me advance in skill and understanding and will definitely come in handy with these two builds. My plan is to start to get the ball rolling but still keep a realistic time frame considering my other obligations. Getting the frames done by the end of the year would be great and hopefully not too lofty of a goal. I’ll keep my progress posted here, keep checking back if you’re interested, thanks!
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