I decided to make a model in paper-mache of a hot air balloon.

I had a lot of thoughts about the symbolism and form of the balloons at that time so I thought I’d make one and write about it.

It has been in my mind that hot air balloons would be interesting to suspend in the museum, similar to their porcelain items they have suspended over a double height space in one of their exhibitions.

Hot air balloons – they symbolise travel in the 1800’s, they’re associated with fayres/ leisure gardens in the 1800’s as was the museum’s building Sydney Hotel and it’s leisure garden, Holburne could have went on one in Paris or in Italy where they were popular at that time.  He would likely have seen one.

They would be an exciting way to visually interpret Holburne’s grand tour and the feel of slow, grand travel of that age. It would be good to give a bit of emphasis to this pivotal event of his, going on the grand tour.

J Affleck, back garden, 2/11/17

The early balloons had a net like structure over the top which connected to the baskets. I made a string net like structure over the top of the paper-mache by tying packaging string and connected it to the string woven basket I made.

The process helped me imagine how a ceramic balloon might be structured, I thought of a few options

  • paper clay slip soaked tights or similar dried over a balloon to get the shape, which would fire off. Difficult to fire without cracking
  • create a 5 or 6 part mould of a balloon and slip cast it
  • a crocheted intricate/more detailed net and attached basket is soaked in paper clay slip and the wool would fire out. Maybe more stable to fire
  • Large balloons could be made of paper-mache for exhibition purposes perhaps for the museum as paper is the material of the passport, and it could resemble the character of the passport. It could hang a basket of woven and then soaked paper clay slip / or make baskets from brown eathernware slabs with a decoration inscribed – like the teapot has.

All initial thoughts….

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