Heracles and the Golden Hind

Heracles and the Golden hind

Hello everyone, It is now week 3 of my Project ‘Another Fine Myth’, this week we continue with Heracles and his 12 labours. We have only spent 3 weeks on the 12 labours however as Heracles only completes 1 labour a year he is now into his third year. Last week we saw Heracles defeat the Lernaean Hydra, with the help of his Nephew he eventually severed all of the beasts heads and delivered the last immortal head to the gates of the city where King Eurystheus waits with the next impossible task for Heracles, to capture the Ceryneian (or Golden) Hind.

The Ceryneian hind belonged to the goddess Artemis, it was a huge deer which had golden antlers, hooves of bronze and it could run faster than a speeding arrow. For a whole year Heracles followed the deer but it was always too difficult and to fast to capture. Eventually Heracles happened to meet the Goddess Artemis and her brother Apollo where she told Heracles to stop with his quest, luckily Apollo reminded his sister it was the Goddess Hera that tricked Heracles into killing his family thus causing him to complete these tasks. Artemis despised Hera so it was decided that she would allow Heracles to continue as long as he returned the deer unharmed.

Eventually Heracles caught up with the deer, one night while it slept he captured it in a net and delivered the deer to King Eurystheus, Heracles released the deer back into the wild keeping his promise to Artemis.

This design is based on a deer by the incredible Japanese balloon artist Masayoshi Matsumoto.

Next week we meet a bit of a boar.


Heracles and the Hydra

Hello everyone, it’s week 2 of my balloon project about Myths and Legends from around the world and I am spending the first part of the project with Heracles and his 12 labours. Last week we left Heracles as he had just slain the Nemean Lion and made himself some lovely armour from the impenetrable golden fur.

When Heracles returns to the Palace of King Eurystheus, the King is so shocked to see Heracles that he refuses to let him enter the city again and Heracles must display the results of his labours from outside the city gates. The king being such a coward even had a large bronze jar built to hide in (strange chap).

Labour number 2 was to slay the Lernaean hydra, a hideous 9 headed creature created by the Goddess Hera specifically to destroy Heracles. The hydra lived in the poisonous swamps near Lake Lerna and when Heracles first saw the beast, he immediately cut off one of the beasts heads, to his dismay 2 more heads grew back in its place. Heracles needed help so called upon his friend (and nephew) Iolaus who came up with a cunning plan. Working together Heracles would cut off a head while Iolaus scorched the stumps to prevent more heads growing back, soon the creature was dead and Heracles had completed labour number 2.

Next week Heracles must use his brains instead of his strength to complete his labour.


Heracles and the Lion

Hello all, well it is time for a new balloon project and this time it is all based around the subject of Myths and Legends, to kick off I am going to be covering the 12 Labours of Heracles, a story that has fascinated me for years.

To give you a bit of back ground info and to cut a VERY long story short, Heracles was the son of the affair that Zeus had with an immortal woman called Alcmene. Hera (Zeus’s wife) obviously had a hatred for Heracles and one day she tricked him into murdering his wife and children (nice huh). Heracles was required to carry out a series of labours, if he succeeded then he would be purified of the sin, become a god and be granted Immortality. I will go into more details with the story of Heracles as we go but for now let’s get to the 12 Labours.

The labours were set by King Eurystheus and the first labour was to slay the Nemean Lion, This ferocious Lion lived in the caves near the city of Nemea, for many years it had terrorised the city, it had a fur made of impenetrable gold and claws sharper than any mortal weapons. There are several different versions of the story, one says that Heracles eventually shot an arrow into the lions unarmoured mouth killing it, the version I have gone for is that after a long fight Heracles eventually wrestled the hideous beast to the ground, after wrapping his strong arms around its neck Heracles strangled the lion to death.

This part of the story ends with the beast being skinned with help from one of the claws, Heracles could then use the impenetrable skin as his armour. Next week Heracles meets a very nasty creature.


New Balloon Challenge Coming Soon

Hello all,

I have a new balloon challenge coming soon, this time it is all about various Myths and Legends from around the world.

You can still check out my last balloon world challenge by scrolling down.

Happy New Year



It’s a Balloon World After All – Australia

G’day folks, Its been glorious weather here in the UK so I thought it would be fair dinkums to stick another shrimp on the barbie and think about taking a look down under at Australia. Crickey, this one has been hard yakka as I wanted to get it ridgey-didge, I nearly spit the dummy when I couldn’t get it looking right and ive been flat chat but im stoked now its done and its straight to the pool room.

(Translation – Hello, its warm here in England and I would like a prawn to grill on an open fire, this week I am looking at Australia, gosh it was difficult as I wanted to get it looking great, I was upset when I struggled to get it looking right but by golly I am happy with the result.)

When I think of Australia I usually first think of the weird and wonderful animals they have, When I visited Perth in 2009 we went to a wildlife park and I loved it, the kangaroos were great, and I really loved the koalas so I had to include one. Did you know that Koalas have fingerprints just like humans?

The bird footprints I have made are the aboriginal sign for Emu tracks, the Aboriginal men followed these tracks to hunt the emu it was a staple food source and was used for bush medicine. It is also often seen on Aboriginal artwork.

Just above that is a boomerang, these have been historically used for hunting, as well as a sport, and entertainment.and come in various shapes and sizes. They are often seen painted with aboriginal designs and patterns. A boomerang was used to set a Guinness World Record with a throw of 427.2 metres by David Schummy in 2005 in Queensland Australia.

The Sydney Opera house was something I just had to make, it was a tricky as I was not sure how to put it together. It has to be one of the most famous buildings in the world and was opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II.

When deciding what kind of person to make for Australia I did consider making an Indigenous Australian however I seem to think that they are not keen on having their photos taken so I decided to go with a typical Australian guy with his cork hat on.

Anyway, Have a good one mate, Oooroo!


It's a Balloon World After All - Italy

Buongiorno! Che piacere vederti!

This week I am taking a look at a wonderful country, it is Italy, I made ALL these balloons at the Balloonapark event in Paris last week. 

The first of the items I made was the Roman Helmet, I love delving into the history of Italy and of course the Romans feature heavily in the history books. The traditional date for the creation of Rome was 21 April 753 BC (how very accurate). The correct name for my Roman Helmet is a Galea, my helmet mostly resembles an Imperial Gallic helmet. 

How could I take a look at Italy and not make a slice of Pizza?, The word Pizza dates back to 997 but similar pizza style dishes have been around for centuries before that. The world's largest pizza was created in Rome during December 2012, and measured 1,261 square metres, The world's longest pizza was made in Naples in 2016. It was baked using a series of special ovens on wheels which moved along its length, and measured 1.15 miles in length.

My Scooter is a Vespa, The name Vespa means Wasp in Italian, This wonderful little scooter was first created in 1946 and shot to fame in 1952 when Audrey Hepburn rode side saddle with Gregory Peck through the streets of Rome in the movie Roman Holiday.

My little man is a Gondolier from the city of Venice; traditionally he would be one of 3 Oarsmen who would operate the Gondola boat around the canals of Venice using the oar. For centuries the Gondola were the main form of transport around Venice but now they are mainly a tourist attraction, The profession of gondolier is now controlled by a guild and it issues around 400 licences

Until next week, Arrivederci! 


It's a Balloon World After All - Russia

Привет! Как поживаешь?

Hello all, after a short break I am back with the biggest country of all, yes it is Russia.

The first thing I made for Russia was the little monkey character, Russia is not somewhere you would expect to find monkeys however this little chap is a popular children's character called Cheburashka, He was created by Soviet writer Eduard Uspensky in 1966 and is also known as Topple. Cheburashka features in books, animated films and has appeared at several Olympic Games as the official Russian mascot.

The egg is of course a Fabergé egg, created by the House of Fabergé in St Petersburg between 1885 and 1917; it is unknown how many of these eggs were made however it is thought to be 69 of which 57 have survived. Most Fabergé eggs were made for the Russian Tsars and nobility, they have appeared in many films and TV shows, for me the most famous appearance was in the 1983 James Bond film 'Octopussy' starring Roger Moore. 

As you can see I have made a Russian Doll (or Matryoshka doll), Made of wood they are a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another, first created in the late 1800s they are now known around the world coming in call different shapes and sizes. The world record for the most layers of Russian dolls currently stands at 51 dolls. 

My little Russian mad is dressed for winter; he is wearing his fluffy Russian hat (Ushanka) which is made from sheepskin, rabbit or muskrat fur. The name Ushanka means Ears and this is because the flaps of the hat come down tying below the chin keeping the ears and jaw warm in the cold weather. 

Until next time, Увидимся


Its a Balloon World After All - South Africa

Molo, This week I am heading back to the African continent and I am taking a look at a very diverse country with a fascinating history, It is South Africa. With such an interesting history and diverse culture it was difficult for the to decide what to make out of balloons however I decided to mainly focus on the largest ethnic group of South Africa, the Zulu people.

First of all in the top left I have a pair of Assegai, they are a traditional Zulu spear or javelin used in hunting or warfare and are names after the tree they are made from, the Assegai tree.

Masks of all shapes and sizes can be found across the African continent and are used for ceremonial, spiritual and religious events. A special status is given to the people who create the masks and to those that wear them in ceremonies. In most cases, mask-making is an art form that is passed on from father to son. African masks come in all different colours, such as red, black, orange, and brown.

One of the most well known sights across Africa and South Africa is the Baobab tree, This incredible tree has adapted to survive the harsh dry environments, it stores moisture in the huge trunk enabling it to produce a nutritious fruit, this is how the Baobat became known as "The Tree of Life".

My little person is a Zulu tribesman, he is wearing a leopard skin headpiece and is carrying a traditional Nguni shield, these are usually made from cow-hide and should be carried in the left hand.

until next week, Hamba Kahle


Its a Balloon World After All - Egypt

It's a Balloon World After All - Egypt

هلا, كيف حالك؟
Hala, kaifa haluka? This week I am taking a look at a fascinating country with an amazing history, it is Egypt.

In the bottom left of my picture I have an Ankh, this is an ancient hieroglyphic symbolising life, this symbol was seen all across Egypt and often in many other countries. The Egyptian gods are often portrayed carrying the Ankh by its loop, or bearing one in each hand, arms crossed over their chest.

Above the Ankh I have created another well known symbol, the Eye of Horus, it is a symbol of protection, royal power and good health. Horus was the ancient Egyptian sky god who was usually depicted as a falcon.

The Scarab Beetle was considered sacred during ancient Egyptian times, they are now commonly known as Dung beetles, amulets were created to look like the Scarabs and were used for trading, for decoration and for lots of other ceremonies.

At the top of my picture I have created a version of the Suez Canal, I think this marvel of engineering has a truly fascination history, opened in 1869 it is the main route for shipping between the Mediterranean and the Red sea. Did you know that the Statue of Liberty was originally designed for the northern entrance of the Suez Canal? As you can see in my version of the Suez Canal I have created 3 ships from different ages, the sailing ship was the first to travel through the canal, next we have the passenger liner, and finally the modern cargo ship.

My Egyptian man is a Pharaoh, He is wearing his traditional golden head dress and even has his little beard. 
Until next time,

مع السلامة - ma’a ssalama!


It's a Balloon World After All - Netherlands

Goedendag, Hoe gaat het?

I like the Netherlands, I am lucky that my ballooning has taken me to the Netherlands twice so far and I am excited to be going again in a couple of weeks time. I had two options when planning this picture, the easy option or the hard option. I could have thought long and hard about 3 or 4 things to make from balloons, maybe a boy with his finger in a dam? or some Gouda? how about some Delft or a Van Gogh? nope, I took the easy route and I chose the 3 most obvious things I could think of, Tulips, Clogs and Windmills.

I recently saw my friend Dave (a balloon man) make a tulip and after talking to Twistina (a balloon lady) about her Tulip design I kind of created a version half way between the 2. I have strolled through the flower market in Amsterdam a few times but I have yet to see the tulip fields, Maybe next time. 

My Windmill is based on one I saw Pieter Van Engen make, he made a fantastic scene sometime ago and I loved it, I have made my design slightly different but it is heavily inspired by Pieter. I saw a couple of Windmills during my last visit to the Netherlands, in the beautiful town of Leiden. During my first visit to the Netherlands I was taken to the amazing Open Air museum in historic Arnhem by Ingrid and Dennis, several windmills can be seen here.

Next we have a Clog, Wallie gave me the idea at a recent balloon event so thanks Wallie for reminding me of this design, would you believe it is made from a heart shaped balloon?

The Orange border of this picture is a nod to several things, Most importantly it is the color of the Dutch Royal Family. Orange is the colour of the Netherlands Football team home shirt, also the colour is also a nod to one of the greatest musicals I have ever seen, 'Soldaat van Oranje' is a technical marvel and mind blowing theatrical creation and an incredible story that I recommend to everyone. 

Finally we have the lady in traditional Dutch costume, costumes vary across the country but the lady here is wearing a traditional hat, this would often be made of lace or stiff material, I think they are called Square hats. She is also wearing her long black dress with a white lace front. 

Tot de volgende keer, doei.



It's a Balloon World After All - New Zealand

Tēnā koutou, Kei te pēhea koe?

Hello everyone, This week I am heading south and taking a look at my first country situated completely in the southern hemisphere, yes it is New Zealand. 

When I think of New Zealand one of the first things I think of is Sheep, New Zealand has a population of about 4.5 million humans and about 27 million sheep so I could not resist making some sheep for my picture. The green swirl is called a koru (Māori for loop), it is a spiral shape based on the appearance of a new unfurling silver fern. It is an important symbol in Māori art, carving and tattooing, where it symbolises new life, growth, strength and peace. 

Talking of ferns I felt had to make a fern, New Zealand is well known for its silver fern, It can be seen all across the country on flags, products and on the New Zealand coat of arms, It is also used at the symbol of many Sports teams in New Zealand including The All Blacks (Rugby), The Tall Blacks (Basketball), The All Whites (Football), and The White Ferns (Women's Cricket)

New Zealand has some amazing flora and fauna, I was going to make a Kiwi or a Kakapo but in the end I opted to represent the whale population. Almost half the world’s whale and dolphin species are found in New Zealand waters and the whales tale (Muri Paraoa) features as a Māori Symbol. The Whale is the most important animal in the life of the Māori, it indicates the support often shown by whales to people in distress and is a symbol of protection. But also of speed, strength and sensitivity.

I think many non New Zealanders will be wondering what the yellow Bee is doing there, well when researching the country this little character kept popping up, it is the face of a Buzzy Bee and it a very popular toy in New Zealand, I had never heard of it before but it does look cute. 

The person I chose to represent New Zealand is of course one of the Māori people. This young Māori man has the traditional Tā moko on his face and body, these are the traditional markings and are different to the tattoos we all know as these marks are carved into the skin with special tools. These markings are worn by both men and women and there are some pretty amazing and intricate designs.

I hope you are enjoying this virtual trip around the world. until next week, Haere Ra





It's a Balloon World After All - Canada

Hello everyone, Bonjour,

This week I am taking a virtual trip to my biggest country so far and the second largest country in the world, it is a land of mountains, vast forests and arctic tundras, this week I am taking a look at Canada.

The first thing I think of when I think of Canada is the Maple leaf, It has been an important symbol of Canada for many years and it may have first been used as a canadian symbol as early as 1700. In 1965 the leaf was most famously the leaf used on the flag of Canada and has been flown across the country ever since.

There are 2 National sports in Canada, the official summer sport is Lacrosse but I decided to make something to do with the official winter sport of Ice Hockey.  Now personally I hardly know anything about Ice Hockey, everything I know comes from 2 places, firstly from those few minutes I occasionally see at the various Winter Olympic games (this year I didn't see any). The second place I get to see things about Ice Hockey is from a few facebook friends (mainly Hal) They always say it is exciting to watch, as you can see I have made 2 Hockey Sticks and a puck.

The Moose is the largest member of the deer family and can be found all across Canada. In 1897 a Moose was discovered that was an amazing 2.34 m (7 ft 8 in) tall at the shoulders and it had an antler span of just under 2 metres (wow that really is huge). Generally they are calm animals however the females can get dangerous when protecting their young.

Finally when it came to making my little canadian character I really only had one choice of what to make, yes it had to be the Canadian Mountie or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Mounties have such an iconic look, they are instantly recognisable with their bright Red Serge tunic and the wonderfully shaped Stetson-type hat, I really do think this is one of the most well known uniforms in the world.

Because Canada has 2 official languages (English and French) I shall end this post appropriately.

Until next week, Bonne journée!


It's a Balloon World After All - Romania

Salut, Ce mai faci?

For the second week running I am looking at a requested country, A few weeks ago I was asked by Nicole to take a look at Romania as it was where she was born, so here you go Nicole. 

Romania was another difficult country to research, I did manage to whittle it down to a few key elements tho. first of all the strange structure on the left is based upon a sculpture by the Romanian artist Constantin Brâncuși, it is entitled Endless Column and it one of 3 sculptures built to commemorate the Romanian heroes of the First World War. 

Romania is the home of the Danube Delta, the place where the Danube reaches open water (The Black Sea). The Danube delta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as you can imagine is home to some wonderful wildlife including Europes largest colony of Pelicans. More than 20,000 pelicans are currently living in Romania and according to a recent census of the birds  19,993, are great white pelicans while 534 are Dalmatian pelicans.

While looking into the cuisine of Romania one dish kept coming up, it is the dish of Samale, This is a dish consisting of minced meat with rice, wrapped in either pickled cabbage leaves, I never imagined I would ever be making anything as random as a dish of stuffed cabbage leaves out of balloons but there is a first time for everything. 

Finally I thought long and hard about what little character to do for Romania, I did look into traditional Romanian dress (which is lovely) however I kept going back to one of the most well known Romanians, Vlad III, prince of Wallachia, AKA Vlad the Impaler and the inspiration for horror legend Count Dracula. The most likely home of the Count is thought to be Castle Bran in Romania's Transylvania, Dracula as we know him however is just a horror legend and the stuff of stories . . . . or is he?

I currently have no idea what part of the world I am taking a look at next week, for the first time in this project I have no plans of where I am going to be taking my virtual journey so you will have to wait and see, do you have any suggestions? why not let me know and I can include your country in my series.

Until next week - Vă doresc o zi plăcută!


It'a a Balloon World After All - Colombia


This week I am taking a look at a country that has been requested a lot, in fact it has been requested more than any other country so far. It is my first look at South America and the country of Colombia.

Now this was a difficult country to research, I really didn't know what to choose to include in this weeks balloonagraphic. The first thing I think of when I think of Colombia is Coffee, it is the third highest producer of coffee in the world and has been producing the coffee bean since 1808. As you can see I have included some coffee beans in the photo.

While researching the country I discovered an amazing place called the Cocora Valley, it is in this valley that you find the national tree of Colombia, The Quindío wax palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense) is the world's tallest palm tree and can stand up to 60 m (200 ft) tall. the sight of these amazing wax palms in the valley looks incredible. 

Something that really stood out while I was doing my research was the town of Guatapé, I really couldn't do this place justice with the balloons so it is really worth looking it up. Guatapé sits on the banks of the Peñol-Guatapé Reservoir in North west Colombia. What makes this town so interesting is the fact that most of the buildings are painted in all different colours and feature fresco like illustrations of animals, people many other things. Doors, balconies, steps and windows are all brightly coloured and I would go as far to say it is probably the world's most colourful town. It really is worth a look. 

La Pollera Colora ("brightly colored skirt") is probably Colombia's most well-known national costume for women. It usually consists of a vividly colored skirt with a matching blouse adorned with ruffles and lace. My balloon lady is wearing her costume in the colours of the Colombian flag. 

Next week I am going to be heading back to Europe for another requested country. 

¡Hasta luego!


It's a Balloon World After All - Spain

Hola ¿Cómo te va?

Last week I mentioned I would be visiting South America, well I changed my mind, I was going to do this one next week however I brought it forward a week for various reasons. Mainly because this week I am taking my balloon twisting to Spain, Barcelona to be precise, I figured it would be a good idea to actually share my Spanish balloonagraphic in the week I actually go to Spain.

I found Spain quite a difficult country, Spain is known for so many different amazing things I found it tricky deciding what to make out of balloons. While researching the country I found a lot of references to lots of well know Spanish artists, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Goya, the list goes on so I figured it would be great to do something related to art, I WAS going to do something that looked like a Picasso painting but I ended up making the paint palette as that covers ALL the artists of Spain. 

The Spanish are passionate about their football so I thought it would be a good idea to make their national football shirt,  plus something that Spain is well known for by us Brits is the wonderful long hot days sunbathing on those glorious sunny beaches. 

The Traje de flamenca is the traditional dress worn by women to festivals usually in the Andalucia area of Spain, Flamenco dancers will also wear flowers in their hair and that is what my little balloon lay is wearing to represent her country. 

Next week I WILL be taking my first virtual visit to South America on my balloon world tour, so until then, Adios.


It's a Balloon World After All - Vietnam


Hello everyone, This week I am taking a virtual trip to the exotic far east with a trip to Vietnam.

Vietnam is one of world's richest agricultural regions and is the second-largest exporter worldwide, it is also the the world's seventh-largest consumer of rice which is why I included the bowl of rice and chopsticks to this balloonagraphic (balloon+graphic).

While researching the architecture of Vietnam I discovered that there are a lot of similarities to neighbouring countries , one of the buildings I saw a lot of was the Pagoda which is more commonly linked to Japan, I was going to make a pagoda for Japan but made something else instead so I was delighted to be able to include a pagoda here for Vietnam.  

The Vietnamese junk (boat) was made at a recent balloon jam, Vietnam has a lot of links with water and the sea, fish is a major part of Vietnamese diet and I really love these types of boat. 

Last but not least I have my little Vietnamese person, wearing her traditional Asian conical hat, this type of hat serves many purposes, it protects from the sun and rain, it can also be dipped into water and worn as an impromptu evaporative-cooling device. These hats are usually worn by farmers so I would like to imagine my little Vietnamese lady is a vietnamese rice farmer. 

Next week I am taking my first trip to South America.


It's a Balloon World After All - India


नमस्ते । 

Hello everyone, I am certainly covering some miles in my virtual journey around the world, If I was actually doing this journey then I would already be over 25000 miles of travelling. This week my virtual journey is taking me to the very colourful country of India. (I must stress here, I am not actually visiting these countries, this is a virtual journey around the world)

India is such a diverse country with many different cultures I found it hard to pin down and choose the items to make from balloons, Items which I thought represented this beautiful country. I first started by making one of the most sacred animals in the country, the Cow, Worshiped by millions of Hindus across the country, the Cow provides life sustaining milk and therefore is seen as a maternal figure, a caretaker of her people. The cow is a symbol of the divine bounty of earth. 

Another sacred animal is the Snake and I could not resist making a snake in a basket, Snake charming has been a form of performance in India for hundreds of years and although it is still practiced today Snake charming has become less and less common on the streets of India. 

The musical instrument that looks a bit like a long guitar is called a Sitar. it was first developed in the 7th century and seems to be a very complex instrument with either 18, 19, 20, or 21 strings (and I struggle to play my 4 string ukulele). 

One of the most famous sights of India is of course the Taj Mahal, Situated in Agra, this 365 year old mausoleum stands on the banks of the Yamuna river and was built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

Finally I have my little Indian princess in her Saree with the Bindi decoration on her forehead.

Next week I am staying in the exotic far east so until then, जल्दी मिलेंगे ।


It's a Balloon World After All - Japan

Konnichiwa, O-genki desu ka,

Hello everyone, This week I am having a look at Japan, the land of the rising sun. I have always wanted to go to Japan, I am sure I will do one day. 

So first off I wanted to recreate the Japanese Torii, this is a type of gate that is found at the entrance or within a Shinto shrine, it marks the transition from the profane to sacred. Personally I think the most famous Torii is the Itsukushima Shrine, found in the city of Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture, at high tide it appears to float on the water. 

I love the architecture of Japan, there is something so wonderful about the traditional Japanese designs and I just had to include an element from the Japanese Rock garden (or Zen Garden). Rocks are an important part of the Japanese garden and as you can see I have created a small pile of balloon rocks.  

Every year in spring an incredible natural event sweeps its was across Japan, starting in the far south of the country the cherry trees come to life with their amazing pink blossom, slowly moving north over the spring months the cherry blossoms attract thousands of people to partake in hanami, which literally translates as “looking as flowers” and refers to flower appreciation picnics under the trees.

The folding hand fan was invented in Japan and may date back to the 6th century, here I have made a hand fan, they would typically be made from Japanese cypress and paper or silk. Finally I felt I had to make a Geisha, a traditional Japanese female entertainer who would act as a hostess. They have many skills including Japanese classical music and traditional dance, witty games and conversation. I always imagine them performing the Japanese Tea ceremony.

I do hope you are enjoying my project, do you have a country you would like to see? Let me know by commenting on this post, it would be great to hear some suggestions. Until next week, sayōnara.


It's a Balloon World After All - Israel

Shalom, Mah Ha’Inyanim? This week I am in the country of Israel, the land of milk and honey.

The star of David was something I just had to make, I think it was actually my friend Danny who suggested I make this for when I visited Israel and it is lucky that the Star of David is such an easy shape to make with balloons, all it took were 2 balloons, each one with 3 simple twists in them.

The next thing I wanted to make was a menorah, a sacred candelabrum with between 5 and 9 branches depending on what it is used for, this one is a 7 branched menorah and should originally be made out of solid gold. 
According to the Times of Israel "Becoming not only Judaism’s oldest symbol, but also the Western world’s oldest continuously used religious symbol, the menorah once stood in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. The seven-branched candelabrum (nine-branched for Hanukkah) has been a source of fascination and illumination for Jews, Samaritans, Christians and also Freemasons for three millennia."

Below the menorah I have made a diamond, Israel is one of the world's three major centers for polished diamonds, diamond cutting is a traditional Jewish craft going back centuries. At the top left of the picture I have created a balloon version of one of the most familiar buildings in Israel, The Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine located on the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem. I am not really a religious person however I am always fascinated by religious sites like this.

Last but not least we have my little Rabbi, He actually came about by accident, I was trying to make a different character and then suddenly this little chap appeared, a very happy accident. 

Well that is it for Israel, I found it a difficult country to research and I really didn't want to get anything wrong so apologies if I have made any mistakes with this country. 

Next week I am off to a land made up of over 6,800 islands.


Its a Balloon World After All - Morocco

Ssalamū 'lekum, This week I am taking a virtual trip to my first African country, it is Morocco, I have never been to Morocco so it has been very interesting researching it for the project. 

The first things I made for my photo were the moroccan slippers, when I started researching the country these were one of the first things I discovered and felt I really wanted to have a go at making them. In real life these slippers are often made of leather or covered in fine embroidery and decoration but I have gone for a plain pair.

The next thing I made was a Moroccan lamp, I have made mine to have brightly coloured glass, these are often highly decorated and the sides have elaborate shapes and patterns cut into them. The Ship of the desert was an obvious choice and in Morocco the camels are mostly dromedaries (one humped) and are usually owned and domesticated to a certain degree. 

The Tower I have made is based on the tower from the largest Mosque in Marrakesh, the Koutoubia Mosque. This mosque has been standing for well over 800 years and stands at about 77 metres high. 

Lastly I have my Moroccan man, when I first started to create my little balloon figures I knew I wanted to make a Fez and this led to a discussion about the origin of this well known hat. I knew it was named after a place and it soon became clear that it is named after the City of Fez in Morocco. 

Next week I am off to a country whose capital city is home to over 100 Sushi restaurants making it the city with the most sushi restaurants per capita after Tokyo and NYC, it also hosts a rollerblading party every Tuesday night.