Ancient Egyptian art is a fascination of balloon twister Christine Belcher (Twistina), who resides in the UK and is an active member of the mbd2.com balloon twisting community. Inspired by Egyptian art, Belcher decided to showcase a replica of Tutankhamen’s funeral mask out of balloons at this year’s Twist & Shout 2009 balloon convention. Belcher valiantly worked against allotted build time but fell short of her artistic goal, “It worked out well, but I did run out of time, and a couple of things were not as I would have liked. There should have been a serpent and bird on his headpiece, but it did not look right when added. So I removed it before the competition deadline. I thought it looked too cartoonish, so I decided to leave them off. Overall, I was happy with the design, but little imperfections landed me third place in the contest,” said Belcher.
Many people have questioned how Belcher created Farrell’s face? She could fathom a solution despite doing numerous experiments before the competition with stuffing balloons and using every balloon twisting technique. While visiting a craft store, she came across a papier-mâché mask. With some maneuvering and slight distortion, it would fit nicely in a 16″ round balloon, allowing Belcher to insert smaller balloons into the mask to maintain its shape.
Belcher’s preparation took over two full days, and many practices run working on her Tutankhamen’s funeral mask, each time building off what she learned previously. “I do work very much on the fly, learning as I go. That is why I find competitions so rewarding, as they challenge me to the limit. I tend to be a ‘last-minute merchant’ as I find that I am my most creative when I have a deadline in sight!” said Belcher.
When asked if she would ever try this again? “You bet! I really would like to perfect it.”
Belcher estimates that the design takes about 170-200 balloons and would take about 6 hours – give or take an hour.
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