On to the awkward stage! I’ve added mesh to the wings and tail fans and have begun applying Apoxie sculpt. I use this clay as a supportive understructure before I apply Sculpey. The Apoxie is textured so that the Sculpey has something to grab on to. Thinking of doing a clear cast resin base for this, some lava filled rocks :) 

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Taisho Uchikake. Taisho period (1911-1927), Japan.  The Kimono Gallery. A plain silk wedding kimono featuring a large phoenix accompanied by pine tree and cherry blossom motifs. Yuzen dyeing, with embroidery and metallic couching highlights and outlining.  For the Japanese, the phoenix is a symbol of peace and the rising sun, a bird whose song is particularly musical and auspicious. Because the phoenix is the female counterpart of the male dragon and its varied colored feathers represent the traditional virtues of truthfulness, propriety, righteousness, benevolence and sincerity – it is an auspicious bridal motif. During the late Meiji and Taisho periods (1880-1927), the phoenix theme was popular on uchikake: the difference on this example is the superlative design, with the phoenix filling up much of the ‘canvas’, in such a relaxed, wonderfully-spaced artistic manner.