A vintage flying machine


I think that of all of my artworks, this one was probably the trickiest in terms of shape and structure.

Well, obviously.

I mean who in their right mind purposefully decides to make a wire-less spherical paper shape that magically hovers over a tiny, woven basket? Oh right. That would be me.

Admitting right now that this little balloon just about made me a quitter. What you see in these pictures was the SECOND attempt at a paper sphere, and is a true example of trial and error.

Although my experience was more like trial – fail – frustration – swearing – leave for 3 months – trial again – clinging to hope – wait, is it working – SUCCESS FINALLY.

There were many “impossibles” with this one. Basically I had to get a paper sphere shape happening so that I’d have a foundation of some sort.

Attempt no. 1 involved using a semi-blown up balloon and kind of paper-macheing the shape around it. However this failed pitifully it eventually succumbed to the physical (and psychological) pressure by caving in dramatically. At which point I think I swore at it and stormed away.

Attempt no. 2 got me making a sphere from a whole series of circles joined together and layered. I managed to avoid wire by wrapping it in raffia multiple times, and eventually I was able to roll it along the table and even poke it with no caving-in business happening. YES.

The basket was actually ridiculously fun to make. It was essentially exactly like the paper weaving we used to do in primary school, but with teeny tiny strips of raffia woven through stalks of cardstock.

Unfortunately I caved and used some wire to join the balloon to the basket, which was totally contradicting my original vision for the artwork. But as it turns out – paper doesn’t do the whole sturdy thing very well (no duh Rachel) and it was almost impossible to get it to hold the balloon up.

But I got over it, and now I love it.

The main thing I wanted to master with this one was the bold the stripes. I am crazy about forest green and brown and I think they’re sublime in a vintage setting. So I was happy to have nailed that.

It was also important to me that the balloon looked like it was floating, to really give it that extra bit of wow factor, so in the end I’m glad I made friends with wire.

I won’t be making this one again any time soon – I feel like it’s maybe a one time artwork – but I’m incredibly chuffed I gave it a go, and that it turned out so well.

What did I learn?
Paper sphere construction 101.


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