“NiteLites”; My Favorite Of My Balloon Designs

My Favorite of My Balloon Designs

The first (1995) public example of balloon sculpture incorporating both internal structuring techniques invented by Graham in 1982 (Fantasy Flowers) and self-sealing balloons/tubes patented by Graham in the mid-1990s.


My Favorite of My Balloon Designs

"NiteLites" (above) is my answer to the question Sue Bowler raised about career favorites in her February 14, 2020 article in The Very Best Balloon Blog.

NiteLites stands out as my favorite among all my balloon creations for its simplicity, elegance, innovation, and significance in the history of balloon art.

Two of the earliest of internally structured balloon sculptures by Graham Rouse from 1982-3

Two of the earliest of internally structured balloon sculptures by Graham Rouse from 1982-3.

I inserted things like straws and wires inside balloons to shape them from my very beginning play with balloons in 1982.

In 1985 I coined the name "Fantasy Flowers" for some of the floral designs when I wrote about them as part of a series of short promotional "stories". The story/greetings were printed on folded business cards delivered with the creations.

I taught these techniques at some balloon conventions and soon saw others following with the same inside out approach.

I refer to the approach as "RIBS" ("Rouse Internal Balloon Structures") to give myself credit for the innovation, but also because balloon RIBS act a lot like animal and human ribs to provide structure associated with our air chambers (lungs).

Over the years and over the world there has been an explosion of "RIBS" in balloon "Fantasy Flowers". That is to say, the vast majority of those displays are designed as representations of flowers.

NiteLites, takes balloon sculpture in a more abstract direction rarely seen in our industry. The forms are simple, elegant. They congeal naturally from the stresses of latex and the internal tubes the way smoke swirls naturally around the flow of air. NiteLites points to an abstract aesthetic for balloons full of potential, but generally ignored at this scale.

NiteLites is the first balloon "LiteSculpture".  The three elements of the sculpture may be seen as objects of light rather than as objects of latex; much as you might see light sabers in a Star Wars movie. The closest thing I have seen are custom made neon lights. LiteSculptures offer a more economical and more easily customized alternative within our medium.

for balloon artabstract use and display of RBS. introduced a second, more sophisticated kind of internal structuring that I invented and patented.

It allows the user to insert and remove things like the chemical lights in this sculpture while the balloons are inflated. It allows the user to add or remove air, at will, without having to tie or untie knots. It is quite powerful and impressive, yet is seldom exploited by balloon artists today.

[Read more at GRIDZ.link/NiteLites]




photo of a 4' chalice MadeWithBalloons
This seven foot tall Communion Chalice is a graphic design MadeWithBalloons™ and Rouse Matrix™ Expand-And-Load™ balloon frames.


———— ROUSEings™ ————
by Graham Rouse


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A CUP OF FAITH  –  Easter is here and many people around the world will reaffirm their Christian faith by drinking from a cup and eating from bread that represents the blood and the body of Christ.  That act reminds them of their belief that God was willing to sacrifice the blood and body of his only son for them.  It suggests, in turn, that they should be willing to sacrifice their blood and bodies for their god and their fellow men.
A DRINK OF RELIGION  –  Christians are not the only ones with such a relationship with their god. Many religions acknowledge acts by some higher power that benefit them.  These same religions expect their followers to act accordingly in response to the teachings and other guides associated with their faith.
As individuals, we certainly want to affirm our faith by the way we live whether that faith be based in religion, science or some basis that is uniquely our own.
A THIRST FOR EXPRESSION  –   As balloon artists and entrepreneurs we have media and skills at our disposal to further express our faith. It will behoove us to do so.
At the same time, when we accept a commission from someone of a different faith, we take on the possibility and the responsibility to give expression to their faith.  How can we as balloon artists help them to reinforce and celebrate their beliefs and their way of life.?
UNDERSTANDING THE CUSTOMER  –  We may know a little about the lifestyle and faith of our customers, and on many occasions, that may be enough. Other times, it may be important to dig a little deeper.
  • A CUP OF WOOD  –  One customer may want to give emphasis to the humble life of Jesus and his work as a carpenter.  He may visualize a wooden cup as an appropriate symbol for the Eucharist
  • A CUP OF STEEL  –  Another customer may think it is more important to remind participants that the 2,000 year old story is still relevant today by suggesting a modern stainless steel or anodized aluminum vessel to carry the message.
  • A CUP OF CRYSTAL AND JEWELS  –   Yet another may want to focus attention on the glory to come from accepting God’s gift and dedicating one’s own life to serving Him.  The sparkling light reflected in a chalice of crystal and jewels may better serve his vision.

CONSIDERING YOUR OPTIONS  –  Once you have a deeper understanding of your customer then you will have more options to consider.

  • A CUP OF WOOD  –  What about using brown balloons that you have intentionally oxidized to suggest ancient wood.  Maybe you add black lines made with puffed, but not inflated long balloons to suggest cracks. Maybe you add lines of red to suggest the wine/ blood.
  • A CUP OF STEEL  –  You might use metallic or chrome finished balloons.  Some metallic paints can work. Others have solvents that can pop balloons.
  • A CUP OF CRYSTAL AND JEWELS  –   Our photo above provides a starting example for you. Clear balloons and jewel-tone balloons are translucent and sparkle well in the light. Single layers of balloons are especially useful for this effect.  Rouse Matrix™ is used in this example for single layer framing.  RMS™ works especially well and can be cut easily with scissors into custom shapes.



I hope that

  • when all is done
  • the stage is set
  • the ceremony has begun and
  • the participants rest their eyes upon your display;

they will think to themselves

  • “Yes, this is in harmony with my faith.”
  • “Yes, this affirms the life I want to live.”
  • “Yes, I Will Drink From This Cup”  MadeWithBalloons.


Thanks for joining me for ROUSEings™.  Do return for more 
Pictures – Instructions – Reviews – Musings about all things MadeWithBalloons™. 
Graham Rouse
Your host and author for ROUSEings“.
© 2013 by G. Rouse


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