I started with the balloons. I wanted a multi-lobed design with a coarse cloth surface, so I bought some cheap dollar-store balloons, and tried to glue them in a cluster. No glue worked very well, and then my son Paul suggested that I stuff the balloons into the "butt-end" of extra-large pantyhose. Well, that worked fine, and I was able to arrange the balloons, and apply layers of plaster bandage over that, to set the shape. Then, I popped the balloons, leaving the hard shell intact. At this point, the balloon cluster is about 12”High X 19”Long X 11”Wide.
In early January, I started work on the ship, or sky-vessel. The Gnomes call it a "ship" because that is a form they are familiar with, for water transport. The advantage of a "skyship" is that is doesn't have to be waterproof. This allows for more freedom in the design/build process.
The basic structure of the ship was built from clear pine wood strips, cut on my table saw. As in traditional ship construction, a keel was laid down, on a simple jig. The cross-frames and other braces were then added to give the ship its overall basic form.
Now the ship could be removed from the jig, and readied for sides and decks.