Unveiling the Dragon from our Enchanted Animals Collection

Introducing the latest gem in our Enchanted Animals Collection – the Dragon Necklace and Bracelet. A symbol of strength, leadership, and charisma, this intricately detailed piece captures the spirit of the mythical Dragon. The double-sided charm showcases a whimsical Dragon design on one side, radiating power and strength, while an intricate mandala-style pattern on the other represents balance and harmony. Whether it's a personal talisman or a thoughtful gift, the Dragon Necklace is a timeless reminder of the Dragon spirit, celebrating heritage and mythology. 

Creating the Enchanted Animals Dragon Coin Charm

Our beautiful dragon design was created to celebrate the start of the traditional Chinese Year of the Dragon in February 2024. The original collection illustrator, Siya Liu, was commissioned to create the 2D design, which was then transformed into a 3D CAD drawing, ready for mould making and the lost-wax casting process.

Once cast, each charm is finished by hand and then either oxidised and polished to create an antique silver effect or plated with 18ct gold. The finished item is the sixth design in the Blackbird  Enchanted Animals collection, including a Bird, Cat, Horse, Dog, and Fox.

Siya Liu - Meet the Maker

To delve deeper into the artistry behind the Enchanted Animals Collection, meet the illustrator and printmaker commissioned to create the original artwork – Siya Liu of Doodle Duck Designs.

How did you get into Design and Illustration? 

I studied Fashion Design in China and began my career as junior fashion designer however, the more I got into the industry, the more I realised that it’s the drawing part I really enjoy. After I finished my Masters in Design at Leeds University, I was pretty convinced I wanted to be an illustrator. This year, I took the plunge, leaving my full-time job after several years working in the greeting card industry to pursue my dream to be a full-time freelancing designer & illustrator.   

What and where did you study?

I originally trained in fashion design and illustration at Shenzhen University and then the University of Leeds; I have worked for textile, crafting, greeting cards & gifting industries for many years. 

Explain how you created the Animal Illustrations and designs. Did anything inspire you?

Most of my works are inspired by my surroundings and often mixed with folk art traditions. I have been living in the West Yorkshire countryside for over ten years. I am very lucky to live where I am; within 10 10-minute walk from my doorstep I can be in the woods and meet many different wild animals – swans, deers, hedgehogs, foxes, various songbirds and even kingfishers. I still remember the first time I encountered a full-size red stag on my local walk (I grew up in the very southern part of China, and I had never met a deer before). I was shocked by the elegance and the size of the animal… It inspired me to create something to capture that feeling. 

What is your favourite charm from the collection and why? 

I have to say the greyhound/whippet charm, as I am a greyhound lover and currently we have 2 beautiful recused greyhounds living with us. 

Outside of design work, what other things do you like to make or do? 

I am also a printmaker, specialising in screen-printing under the name DoodleDuck Designs. I use traditional hand screen printing techniques to produce different ranges of art prints - from small A5 prints to multicoloured A2 art prints. Alongside my art prints and stationery designs, I also enjoy the slow craft of hand embroidery. I have create a collection of doll making craft kits to celebrate the slow craft movement. 

Are there any exhibitions, galleries or artists that inspire you?

I adore Frida Kahlo and her works, the folky elements of her works definitely inspires me.  

What is your favourite part of the design process?

The doodling part! All works start with doodle sheets and mind-mapping- the best way to organise my creative thought process.

Discover the Enchanted animals Collection here

The Blackbird Team

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