The Salmon of Knowledge

This week for my series of Myths and Legends I have decided to look at a wonderful story introduced to me by my friend Hazey who lives in Ireland, thanks Hazey.

There was once a water well surrounded by 9 Hazel trees, one day the 9 trees dropped 1 hazelnut each into the well where they were washed into a nearby river and were consumed by an ordinary Salmon, by this act the salmon gained the worlds knowledge and the first person to eat the salmon would in turn gain the knowledge. News of the legendary salmon spread and many people went out to try and catch the fish but after 7 years it was caught by a poet called Finn Eces. Finn was eager to gain the knowledge of the world by eating the salmon but wanted to do the job properly so he gave the fish to his servant Fionn telling him to cook the salmon but what ever happens he must not eat it.

Fionn being a loyal servant did as he was told, slowly turning the fish so that it was cooked all the way through, just to check if it was done he pushed his thumb onto the fish to check it was ready but instead he got burnt on some searing hot fish fat, Fionn quickly sucked on his thumb to ease the pain, Little did he know that all of the knowledge of the world had been concentrated into that small drop of oil and Fionn now possessed the knowledge.  

When Finn was presented with the fish to eat he could see a spark of knowledge in Fionn’s eyes, He asked what had happened and when he realised that Fionn now possessed the knowledge Finn allowed Fionn to eat the rest of the fish. From that moment on Fionn could draw up the knowledge of the world by merely biting his thumb, he eventually became leader of a warrior group called the Fianna and became one of the most famed mythical heroes of Irish History.If you are in Belfast then you can see a ceramic sculpture of the Salmon of Knowledge on Donegall Quay.

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Brownies and Boggarts

This week I continue my series of myths and legends with this little chap called a Brownie, for anyone who is a Harry Potter fan you may find some of this sounding familiar. Brownies are usually found all over the UK, in Scotland they are known as Broonies, they are household spirits, usually male and if treated right they are fairly useful around the house. At night while the home owners are asleep they will come out of their hiding places to perform various chores and sometimes even farming jobs.

The humans who live in the house should leave a small offering for the resident brownie, something like a saucer of milk or some cream will suit the brownie perfectly. It is hard to say what a Brownie looks like as they are rarely seen, In Roman times it was thought that they were human sized but in more recent times it is thought they were smaller, very ugly and could turn invisible or shape shift into different animals as a disguise.

Here is where it may start to sound familiar for Potter fans, The Brownie will quite happily continue doing the various chores IF they are looked after however there are several ways to lose your Brownie, If a person attempts to present a brownie with clothing then he will leave forever never to be seen again. You must never criticise your Brownie or the work that he does, If you do he may fly into a rage and destroy any of the work he has done.

If your Brownie gets too enraged then he will turn into a Boggart, as you can imagine this is a very mischievous spirit and difficult to remove from your property. Thankfully most Boggarts now live in the north of England in places such as Boggart Bridge in Burnley,  At the Boggart Stones on Saddleworth Moor and at Boggart Hole Clough in Blackley, Manchester.

So let this be a lesson to you all, treat your Brownie with respect and feed him his saucer of milk every night.

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Heracles captures Cerberus  

For 11 years Heracles had travelled the Mediterranean completing 11 horrifying labours to clean him of his sins, it was now time for the 12th labour and Heracles stood in the palace of King Eurystheus and received the most terrible of all the labours. King Eurystheus was at the end of his tether, he wanted Heracles dead and Heracles had survived every single task so far. There was only 1 solution, to send Heracles somewhere where only the dead could go, to the underworld to capture the dreaded three headed hell hound Cerberus.

Heracles made his way to Athens to find the entrance to the underworld, not really knowing how he would complete the task, on arrival Heracles was surprised to find Hermes and Athena waiting for him. Hermes and Athena both agreed that Heracles had been tricked into sinning by Hera (see the first task for the full story) and offered to guide Heracles into the underworld.

As the trio entered the underworld they slowly descended deep into the earth to find the beast Cerberus, on the way they met many doomed souls along with a few other heroes including Theseus who had been captured by the god of the underworld Hades (more about Theseus in a future post).  Eventually they reached the great halls of Hades where Heracles was granted an audience with the god of the underworld. Hades luckily also hated Hera and agreed to allow Heracles to take Cerberus on condition he did it bare handed.

In a dramatic fight Heracles slowly tired the beast and eventually subdued it, leading the drooling and snarling monster to the surface by a massive chain. On arrival at the palace King Eurystheus was so scared he promised to release Heracles of any future labours if he would release Cerberus back to the underworld which Heracles did.

Heracles lived to have many more adventures but his famous 12 labours had made him a true hero and a celebrity all across the world. Next week I am moving away from Greece for a while to visit some other myths and legends but we will be back to see more Greek adventures soon.

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Heracles steals the apples of the Hesperides  

When Heracles first set out on his labours he was told he only had to do 10 of them, King Eurystheus who was setting the labours had decided that two of the labours Heracles had completed were now null and void, Heracles needed help to defeat the Lernean Hydra so Heracles didn’t complete the task on his own, secondly Heracles received a payment of cattle for cleaning the Augean Stables which rendered this task as a failure. The horrible King Eurystheus had 2 more labours ready for Heracles to complete before he is set free.

King Eurystheus really wanted Heracles die, and so the labours became more and more difficult, the king thought he had found a labour to finally defeat our hero, It was to steal the apples from the garden of the Hesperides.

The Hesperides were the daughters of the Titan Atlas, Atlas was the god given the punishment of holding up the heavens on his shoulders and the Hesperides lived in a garden which was home to the legendary golden apples, apples that only a god could pick.

After a long complex journey Heracles arrived at the garden, Heracles was mortal and knew that he couldn’t pick the apples from the branches, he did however know Atlas was nearby holding up the heavens. Heracles asked Atlas if he would pick the apples for him and so Heracles swapped places with Atlas taking the weight of the heavens on his shoulders while Atlas went to pick the apples.

Atlas soon returned with the apples but refused to take his place under the heavens again, so Heracles asked Atlas to deliver the apples for him, Atlas agreed and Heracles asked Atlas if he could just take the weight of the heavens for a moment so he could re-position his shoulders and get comfortable, the moment Atlas took his position Heracles dashed away leaving Atlas stuck with the weight of the heavens on his shoulders once more. Heracles delivered the apples and Atlas remains holding up the sky to this very day.

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Hercules obtains the cattle of Geryon

For the last 9 years Heracles had managed to complete every single task given to him by King Eurystheus, it had been a long and difficult 9 years and when Heracles first set out on completing these tasks there were originally just 10 of them to complete, in next week’s post we will find out why this was not the last of the labours. For now Heracles was getting ready to do the last of his labours and he makes his annual visit to King Eurystheus for news of his next Labour, to Obtain the Cattle of Geryon.

Geyron was a fierce giant who lived on an island far to the west of the Mediterranean Sea. There are many descriptions of what he looked like, one account says that he had huge wings, another version gave him 6 arms and 6 legs, one version gave him 3 bodies, the Geyron I have chosen to make has 3 heads, I also gave him a massive club which he can use as a weapon.

Heracles had a long trip to obtain the cattle of Geyron, first he headed south to the coast of Africa and crossed the Libyan desert, it was here that the heat really got to Heracles and he shot an arrow at the sun in anger. Helios (god of the sun) admired the courage of the hero and decided to loan Heracles his chariot for the rest of the journey.

On arrival at the island Heracles encountered the 2 headed dog Orthrus, this beast was soon dispatched with. Next up was Eurytion the herdsman, again Heracles dealt with him and upon hearing the commotion Geryon came to see what was going on. Heracles shot a single arrow at the giant and because it was coated with poison from the Lernean Hydra the giant fell dead straight away leaving the cattle free to take back to King Eurystheus in Greece.

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Heracles Obtains the Girdle of Hippolyta


King Eurystheus was starting to get very angry, for the last 8 years the king had sent Heracles off on his labours with the intention that Heracles would be killed and not return however Heracles being the son of Zeus was more than just a normal man and has succeeded in every one of the tasks so far, the king however still wanted Heracles dead and so he was trying to think up more and more impossible tasks for Heracles to do. 

Far to the east of Greece lived a tribe of warriors called the Amazons, this tribe was the creation of the God of War Ares and it consisted completely of women, they were much feared as like their father they lived for nothing but war. The tribe was ruled by one of the most feared women in the world, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Hippolyta was given a magical girdle by her creator and father Ares, this Girdle gave Hippolyta the power to rule over the Amazons.

King Eurystheus had heard about this girdle and the terrifying tribe, he knew that any man who went anywhere near the tribe would be killed instantly but he thought the girdle might be a nice gift for his daughter, it was a win win situation for him, either Heracles gets killed OR the Kings daughter gets a gift, and so Heracles set off to get the girdle (or die trying).

On arrival at the land of the Amazons Heracles was expecting trouble but instead word of his arrival had travelled ahead, he was met by Queen Hippolyta and she had heard of his exploits. Queen Hippolyta was very impressed by the stories she had heard and Heracles and Hippolyta got to know each other, after many months they fell in love. Hippolyta knew of the task to collect the Girdle and so she eventually offered it to him freely. The nasty goddess Hera saw what was happening, she hated Heracles and so she spread a rumour in the tribe that Heracles was going to kill them all, the tribe attacked Heracles giving him the impression that Hippolyta had turned against him, so he killed the Queen and escaped with the girdle back to King Eurystheus

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Heracles steals the Mares of Diomedes

The 8th Task of Heracles was to steal four horses that belonged to King Diomedes, this King was the ruler of a war like civilisation on the coast of the Black Sea, not a lot more is known about King Diomedes apart from the fact he owned four horses called Podargos, Lampon, Xanthos and Deinos. King Diomedes being the nasty man he was has trained these four horses to only eat human flesh,  they had been driven mad by this and they would feast on anyone who strayed onto the kings land.

There are several versions of how Heracles obtained the horses but they all end up the same way. The version I prefer is that Heracles dug a trench around the four horses and filled it with water leaving them stranded on an island, King Diomedes wondered where his beloved horses where and went to find them only to be ambushed by Heracles who killed him with an axe.

Heracles threw the kings body onto the island where the Horses quickly feasted on the King thus curing them of their madness and their taste for human flesh. Heracles was now able to lead the four calm horses back to the palace of King Eurystheus where they were released into the wild where they never harmed another person again.

I have just four more of the Labours of Heracles to do and then I will be moving on to some other Myths and Legends around the world, do you have a favourite that you would like to see me cover? Please do let me know with a message of comment.

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Heracles captures the Cretan Bull

We are now 7 years into the long 12 year journey and we join Heracles as he awaits the 7th of his labours. King Eurystheus eventually decides and tells Heracles that he must capture the Cretan Bull.

The Cretan bull lived on the island of Crete, it was the creation of the god Poseidon and was meant to be sacrificed to the god however Minos (the King of Crete) decided it was too magnificent to sacrifice and he sent a different bull for sacrifice instead. Poseidon was obviously very angry about this and with the help of Aphrodite he caused the wife of Minos to fall in love with the Cretan bull. The result of this ungodly union between Bull and human was a creature called the Minotaur which I am sure I will cover in a future post. The Cretan bull however went away to cause havoc on the island of Crete by spending its days rampaging through the fields and villages.

On arrival Heracles met with the king who was so pleased to see the arrival of such a hero. News of the adventures of Heracles was spreading around the world and he was become quite famous, as you can imagine his arrival on the island of Crete was quite a big event for an island in need of help. Heracles soon tracked down the bull and caught it by the horns, holding it firm by the horns Heracles managed to manoeuvre the creature and wrap his arms around the beasts neck, he was then able to throttle it until it fell unconscious.

Heracles eventually took the bull back to King Eurystheus where it was again meant to be sacrificed but the gods refused the sacrifice and the bull was released to become the Marathonian Bull where it continued to wreak havoc until it was eventually captured and sacrificed by Theseus (of Minotaur fame).

This bull balloon is completely the invention of the great balloon artist Masayoshi Matsumoto, His balloon work is AMAZING and I don’t really think I do it any justice so all praise should go towards him.

#heracles #hercules #12labours #12labors #greece #crete #bull #cow #creten #cretanbull #poseidon #minos #kingminos #moo #mythology #myth #legend #ancient #balloon #balloons #balloonart #balloontwisting #bowtieballoonguy #robdriscoll

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Heracles and the Stymphalian Birds

It is week 6 and time for the next labour of Heracles, last week we left Heracles having cleaned the Toxic dung filled Augean stables in a single day. Heracles returns to the palace of King Eurystheus to receive his next labour, his 6th in as many years and is told that he must defeat the Stymphalian birds (sounds easy huh?), these nasty meat eating birds had claws of bronze, metal feathers that could be fired at its prey, and toxic dung (what is it about these creatures and their toxic dung?), no one could go anywhere near them without being harmed.

Upon reaching Stymphalia in Arcadia Heracles realised that the soft marshy land would not support his weight, he could not get anywhere near the birds to hunt them and kill them. The goddess Athena happened to be watching and decided to lend a hand, speaking to her immortal blacksmith friend (names Hephaestus, creator of Zeus’s Thunderbolt) she had him create a loud rattle. Heracles was able to shake this rattle and scare the birds into the sky, once the birds where in flight he could shoot them down with his bow and arrow and the area was now free from the horrible birds leaving just a few to fly away never to return.

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Heracles and the Augean stables

Last week we left Heracles just as he had released the Erymanthian boar back into the wild, now a whole year later Heracles awaits his next task, King Eurystheus has had an entire year to think up a cunning and evil task for Heracles and this one was going to prove to be a challenge. The fifth Labour for Heracles was to clean the Augean Stables in one single day, this doesn’t sound too bad at first glance but let me tell you about these stables.

The Augean Stables are home to a herd of over 3000 immortal cattle, because they are immortal they produce a LOT of toxic dung, for 30 years the dung had built up and now it was a complete mess that no one could get anywhere near. The task was not only set to give Heracles a real challenge, it was also given to him to humiliate him.

Heracles arrived at the Palace of King Augeas and told him of his plan to clean the stables in one single day, the King just laughed and said “If you can do that then 10% of the cattle are yours to keep”. So off headed Heracles to the stables, Firstly releasing the cattle into the fields to graze he then knocked some holes into the walls of the stables. Heracles then headed off to the two local rivers of Alpheus and Phyleus and as we see in my balloon sculpture he used his immense strength he diverted both rivers towards the stables, the rushing waters washed the years of dung out of the stables and his job was done.

King Augeas was so shocked that Heracles has succeeded he refused to hand over the cattle, this prompted Heracles to kill the king and hand over the reign of his kingdom to the kings much nicer son. The fact that Heracles was paid for the job would eventually prove to be a problem but we shall get to that in the coming weeks.

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Heracles and the Boar

Last week Heracles had managed to capture (and release) the Golden hind for his third labour, this week we enter the fourth year and the fourth of the labours set by King Eurystheus. By now the King was getting rather irritated by Heracles and his success at completing the Labours, it seemed that everything the King could think of was just too easy for Heracles to do.  The king needed to think and plan a much more devious labour for Heracles but while he put more thought into the tasks he sent Heracles off to complete labour number 4.

There are not too many details about how Heracles completed the forth labour however it was to capture the Erymanthian boar. Some stories say that Heracles visited his Centaur friend Chiron who advised Heracles to chase the boar into the thick snow where he captured it and bound it and took it back to King Eurystheus. Just like the Golden hind the Boar was released back into the wild.

Because this week’s story was so short I thought I would tell you why I am calling our hero Heracles and not the more well-known name of Hercules. My reason is quite simple, it is because Heracles is his correct name, it was the Romans who called our hero Hercules and as these are Greek myths I am telling I figured it would be best to call him by his Greek name.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Rob

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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!

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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! 
 

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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

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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

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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!

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