membership - support balloon education
From: "Natalie Critchell" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: Waterfalls? BIG Fantasy Flowers? Shred Garland?
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 14:22:22 +1000

I created a large waterfall at the Australian Balloon Convention in April
1999 that won best large sculpture.
It was approximately 22 feet tall,but it would be easy to create the same
thing on a smaller scale.

Every one has a different concept of how a waterfall should look and I took
inspiration for mine from a local waterfall that looks like something out of
the movie Blue lagoon.  It's called Milla Milla falls & it's just beautiful.

Any way, the water part, of the waterfall was made from 10 lengths of
garlands of 5" diamond clear balloons on monofilament line. I chose to size
them to 41/2 inches as I had volunteers helping me and it was easier to
instruct them to be consistent, rather than random. Also my inspiration,
Milla Milla falls has a clean sheer of water.  We laid all these garlands
side by side and tied them together by using flat diamond clear 260Q tied to
the fishing line inside the garlands. We tied them about every foot.

Our frame work to suspend the water off, was two push up poles and a cross
bar ( I have heard other people refer to them used for pipe and drape).
Before we attached the water we attached lengths of white plastic table
cloth stapled together as a back drop, to both add dimension and hide the
wall behind behind.

Either side of the water fall I wanted to have rocks or boulders.
Unfortunately in 1997 when I went to IBAC I picked up a wonderful Andersons
catalogue which showed that grey stone paper, which could easily be
scrunched up to form fantastic rocks & boulders.  To get it here in
Australia would have cost me a small fortune.  As an alternative, I was told
by Marloes Bakker Marsden about insulation paper. A product used in
construction to insulate homes.  It was cheap and painted up marvellously,
and scrunched to perfection.

At the base of my water fall I created a bubbling frenzy by using 11" & 16"
diamond clear and white balloons sized randomly.  I also included some
squiggly 260Q in the same colours.  In front of the bubbling frenzy was a
pond.  Here I used the Rouse Matrix system to make a flat pond.  To create
an illusion of depth I used diamond clear 11" balloons with a 5" standard
green inflated inside (like a gumball).  I had seen this technique used to
create a Perrier bottle in an Images magazine the week before I was to
compete.  To border the pond I used more of the "rock paper" and tufts of
260Q green reeds.

To add some colour and a fantasy look to it all I made giant flowers out of
350Q's.  Their vines traversed up either side of the waterfall and the
flower heads hung lazily form the vines.  To make the flowers we inflated
eight 350Q's with a one inch tail left.  If you were coordinated enough you
could tie two of the 350Q's together as a duplet otherwise just tie them
individually and then tie them together. Then you tie the other ends
together (the tails of the 350Q's).  They look like a smile. When you have
four sets of the two balloon "duplets" you are ready to bring them together
to make the flower. When you pick up each duplet bring the two knots
together and it will form two petals then you just twist in other sets in
the same way to make the flower. A picture is worth a thousand words here.

To finish off this tropical waterfall I suspended a giant Ulysses butterfly
made from foamcore, some holographic foil, 260Q's & a 350Q.  Background
noise of water cascading and wildlife added to the total effect.
I cannot stress enough how important lighting is.  Even though my sculpture
was in a very well lit area, the additional lighting added to the ambience.

I believe there is a photo of my sculpture on the web site of Click on Convention then  Large sculpture.

If you are unable to find it I will happily email you a photo.

with warmth

Natalie Critchell
Balloons etc
Tropical Far North Queensland