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.

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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. 

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It's a Balloon World After All - Norway

Hei alle, hvordan har du det? This week I am taking a look at one of my favourite places in the world, it is Norway. Norway is a country full of fascinating history and culture, it is also one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

The main thing I wanted to include was a Norwegian troll, here I have made a cave troll, very different from the current popular troll seen in the movie and as toys as those originate from Denmark. Norwegian trolls date back thousands of years and come in all shapes and sizes, they are often dim witted and slow but can sometimes look a bit like human beings too. These days Trolls are described as dangerous and they should be avoided. 

Tourism has become a huge business in recent years and part of this is due to the Whale watching trips that take place throughout the year. There are 21 different species of Whale that visit the waters of Norway from Dolphins and Orca to Blue Whales and Humpbacks. As you can imagine fishing is also a major part of the cuisine with Salmon, herring, trout and cod being the main catch.

The history of Norway is dominated by the Vikings, the Viking age started in the year 793 and Viking settlements could be found all across Scandinavia. I have included a viking shield in my picture along with the whale and the school of fish.

Finally my Norwegian lady is wearing the traditional Bunad, an elaborate costume with embroidery, typically it is worn with scarves, shawls and hand-made silver or gold jewelry known as sølje.

Next week I am heading somewhere much warmer than Norway, it will be my first African country and is the worlds largest exporter of Sardines.

 

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It's a Balloon world after all

A new balloon project starting on January 2nd 2018, I will be taking a virtual journey around the world visiting a different country each week.

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