What is it?!?

Here’s an interesting project I did for a top balloon artist. The request was for an armature or skeletal type head with moving mouth, moving eyes and raising eyebrows, over which balloons could be placed making for a very unique vent puppet. I first had to come up with a concept of how this might look and be practical for use. Here’s one of the drawings I did before starting to build this:

This was fairly challenging as none of the construction was like that of a conventional vent figure, and certainly not something I had done before. I opted to keep the framework simple and overlay it with a light weight covering (I used styrene sheet). The eyes needed to bug out of the head to allow for the thickness of the balloons that would be wrapped around, so I had to come up with a unique way to do that. The mouth had to be such that it would move the surrounding balloons and yet not be that apparent. And here’s the kicker. The customer requested that the moving eyebrows be removable! I don’t like backing down from a challenge so I figured out ways to do all of the above. Here’s the finished armature/head sans balloons

The eyebrows are indeed easily removable. You just pull them straight out, and then the face is free to wrap balloons around quickly and easily. After all the balloons are in place you simply insert the eyebrows back in place and they are ready to move. This was done with a unique pressure fit set up with silicone tubing. It worked flawlessly. I was quite happy with it. My only regret is that I did not get photos of the inside of the armature and mechanism. Rats! Here’s a few photos of the armature/head in use

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