Tag Archives: holiday ornament

Trial Balloons?

Late Arrival Ornaments

As I shared last time, now is of course the season that the gallery gets decked out for the holidays.  I had put in some overtime in the creation of new art dolls earlier in the fall, and then turned my attention to some other gift type items for installation at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in mid November.

I was still doing some design work on one additional type of ornament when we hung the holiday show a couple of weeks back, so I didn’t get the chance to share them with you last time.  I had been toying with the idea of a steampunk style vintage hot air ballon that would combine several of the media I like to play with in the studio.

This is the result…

Steampunk hot air balloon ornament

Steampunk hot air balloon ornament

There are currently three of these hot air balloons flying among the ornament selection in the gallery, and I’ll be getting started on a new batch over the weekend.  I’m quite pleased with the end result, though they did take a bit of working and reworking until they had exactly the look I was going for.  In fact, the one pictured was the very first I completed, and I tweaked the design with each of the subsequent. I think I finally have something close to a formula, but as with all of my work, each one is a unique one of a kind sculpture all its own.

Each balloon starts with a paper maché ball that I smooth out with a coating of paperclay.  After sanding, I hand paint and antique each. The baskets come to life with some light metal fabrication, and decking out with some goodies from my embellishment stash.  Lastly, I create a beaded wire net and connect the ballon to the basket with some chain.

They are perhaps a bit labor intensive for just a holiday ornament, but there is no reason they can’t be hung to fly in the home year round.