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Sooke Harbour: News: Sooke Fine Arts

Dragon roars at Fine Arts

Robin Wark, Sooke News Mirror 
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Daniel Orton's Dragon sculpture captures attention and prizes at Sooke Fine Arts 2004

Robin Wark/Sooke News Mirror
Daniel Orton's Dragon sculpture captures attention and prizes at Sooke Fine Arts 2004.

Langford blacksmith Daniel Orton entered Sooke Fine Arts 2004 for a variety of reasons: to have his work viewed by the general public, because of prompting from fellow artists and to see how he measured up to others.

Once he decided to enter, the 26-year-old wanted to attract some attention.

"I wanted something to appeal to the kids as well as the majority of the people. ... I wanted to win an award," he said with a smile.

Orton's Dragon certainly did that. The steel 3-D sculpture earned him the most popular in show award, presented by Village Food Markets, and the children's choice, presented by Dumont Tire. Both awards were voted on by patrons of the show.

While Orton was shooting for a prize, he was shocked by the awards.

"I'm surprised I got anything because there are so many good pieces of work here," Orton said.
His work was certainly the talk of the show.

Among those impressed was Jason Dumont, who presented the children's choice award. The mechanic noted the quality of Orton's craftsmanship and the way he worked with the steel.

After Orton decided to make something specifically for the 18th annual show, the idea of a dragon came to mind as dinosaurs are now popular. He made charcoal sketches of the monster's head. After that he dove into the process of creating the creature, which took about 250 hours.

"The best part of the process is making it," he said. "It is a creative process where you have to go with the flow to get it done in time."
Dragon weighs around 300 pounds and stands about 6-and-a-half-feet high. The dragon is made mostly of forged steel pipe and plate steel.

The Dragon is Orton's first major work. Lately, he has been able to make a living doing custom work for people. His pieces have included candleholders, tables, chairs and even dolphin sculptures for people's gardens. Orton has also worked away for about four years on a chainmail vest for himself.

Orton became interested in metalwork while attending Belmont secondary school. He remembers taking more art and metalwork courses than most. He continued to pursue the work after school with the Vancouver Island Blacksmith Association. The group has continued to encourage him and allowed him to use their shops over the years.

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