Blowing Up Balloons…

Blowing up Balloons…

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

Over the years I’ve made a few different sizes of Balloons in glass and a few different styles…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, despite the complexity of the Dean Koons style animal sculptures, or the functionality of the hummingbird feeders I am constantly called back to the most traditional of forms.  There is something about the juxtaposition of the expectation of a balloon with the startling reality of the balloon in glass that delights people.

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Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bob watches…
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
before the balloon is blown out

When I began to make them they felt so laborious.  Each balloon was a struggle and I worked for a long time to improve the essential “Ballooness” of the pieces.  I made many balloons learning to handle the glass in such a way that the shape really looked like rubber filling with gas, so that the knot seemed like a real knot and so that the top of the balloon had just the contour and feel that I was looking for. Over time the process has become very natural. As I work I lwatch each one take shape in a way that will be familiar to anyone who has blown up a balloon part way and then stopped and held it away from themselves to see their progress…

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
punching a hole through the top of the balloon with a tungsten rod

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

I think most of the balloons I’ve made over the years are hung inside.  I know that they are often found in nurseries, in care spaces for children and frequently given at weddings.  I wonder if anyone out there has pictures of balloons I’ve made hanging somewhere in their life?

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
balloons against the sky

My favorite placement of the balloons that hang here at the shop is those that hang outside the shop.  They are survivors, these balloons, and we can see them silhouetted against the sky at any time of day or any time of year looking as if they are just about to break free and sail off on a grand adventure…