Monthly Archives: June 2013

201st and 202nd Balloon Sculpture, Flag with Post and Bald Eagle

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Thursday the 27nth of June was my 9 month balloon twisting anniversary and I had a gig at Earth Fare that day well as my first assisted living balloon gig.

I wanted to do something special and festive for Independence Day coming up.

I made my first flag thanks to Michael Langerman’s USA flag tutorial on Youtube,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hbr0wiyxWy8.

I also made my first Bald Eagle, which I adapted Andre Nolle’s Phoenix design, Youtube tutorial link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYpD8fV6ZuE, to make.

I made a flower weave for the neck and made the curves pointy to go for a jagged design that bald eagles have.

I made a flag pole also thanks to my experience from making Andre Nolle’s Column design that I learned, link to Youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QI3QcDY4yU. As you will see, I adapted it just a little bit on the top as the eagle rested on the top.

It was a hit and I am so glad that everything worked out and the three pieces could work together!

And yes, there are 50 stars painted on the flag and 13 stripes! 🙂

Enough talk, now pics.

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My husband and daughter are in pic below. I love this picture!

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Interview with Balloon Hero, Gabrielle Hodge

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Gabrielle Hodge is a most whimsical and wonderful balloon twister who resides in the UK.

I really admire her ability to be so whimsical and just create out of her own head such wonderful joyful creations.

If you go to her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/gabrielle.hodge.1?fref=ts, you will see every single day pretty much a new creation. I follow her work on Facebook and intend on replicating several of her designs and will be sure to show and tell here on my blog.

She challenges me without even realizing it how I need to develop my own style and to start trying to be more on the fly with my creating. The things she does with hearts are especially amazing and boy howdy- I intend on playing around more with sculpting with hearts as a result of seeing her awesome work! It makes sense she would be so good with sculpting with heart balloons because she has such heart and passion for this art. Gabrielle, thank you so much for sharing your work and for participating in this interview and for doing an art that brings a smile to anyone who looks at your work. 🙂

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How long have you been twisting balloons? What caused you to start twisting?

I started balloon twisting about two and a half years ago. I was in a bit of a mid-life crisis and needed something new to do. I had always had a creative outlook on things and had always liked clowns so I thought I’d give clown school a try. Alongside clown school I took up balloon twisting and finally decided clown school wasn’t for me so I started to focus on the balloon side of things and have never looked back.

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What is your favorite balloon sculpture that you have made?

What is your favorite sculpture that someone else has made? (Include pictures if you can) Out of my many balloon sculptures that I have made I’ve had many favorites as every new sculpture is exciting, although a few that I especially enjoyed making are The Flintstones and my balloon representations of superheroes. I’ve been inspired by many others work and have many various favorites which are too many to name.

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Do you have any advice for people new to this art and or business? Is there anything you wish you were told when you started out that you would like to share with others?

My advice for people new to the art of balloon twisting is to keep practicing and seek inspiration from everywhere, whether it be a kids T.V. show or a fairytale story also the internet can be used as a great tool to improve your skill as there are lots tutorials. When I first started out balloon twisting I wish I was told how hard it is to get noticed by the public as a balloon twister and get them to appreciate your balloons.

Do you have any balloon heroes? If so who?

I gain inspiration from a lot of people whom I consider to be balloon heroes. But to name a few: Jeff Hayes, Philip Flash,Suzanne lively and Jonathan Fudge.

Do you have any personal goals you hope to achieve involving this art? Is there any kind of project you would like to see realized?

My goals would be to keep creating balloon models a hopefully develop more of a business in the balloon industry.

What is your favorite balloon color and shape?

My favorite shapes to use while balloon modeling are hearts and round balloons as there are various ways which you can work and twist them into your models, as for color I like colors such as the Caribbean blue and a lot of the tropical colors.

How would you describe your personality? What are you like? Is there a fictional character you really identify with?

Personally I am shy but am friendly to anyone who requires help or advice within the balloon community and once I am indulged in a conversation I can’t stop! I’m a very creative person because as a dyslexic I have never really been great with the written side of things so that’s why I choose to create things. I’m very devoted to my family and friends and very overprotective of my dachshund named Fred. My daughter relates me to the Disney character Goofy as I have a very similar goofy and quirky nature and basically I am a big kid but also Goofy is quite caring so I suppose it’s a good thing!

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What would you say is your biggest strength with this talent, what comes easy to you and how do you feel you shine? Is there anything that remains challenging for you?

My biggest strength with this talent would be my ability to create balloon models just by taking inspiration from a picture I have also been told I have a very good imagination and a creative brain.

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What are your other interests and hobbies?

I am an animal lover and also love photography and anything artistic such as making jewelry although mainly balloons take up most of my life let’s just say I’m addicted.

What would you say is your favorite memory involving balloon twisting?

My first time I made balloons publicly at an event in a hotel this is when my balloons started getting noticed and I started receiving positive feedback. It was also a nice feeling to see my balloon creations put a smile on children’s and some adults faces.

Have you ever been to any balloon workshops or balloon conventions? What were they like and how did they change or not change your life? If you haven’t, what are some balloon events that you would like to attend?

I have not been to any balloon workshops or conventions, although would love to in the future I have seen pictures and people’s feedback from balloon conventions in America and would love to visit someday to join in with the fun. I hope to start going to them in the UK too when I get the chance as I’m sure I would gain more skill and experience from these events.

About how many balloons do you think you go through in a week?

It mainly depends on how many creations I have made and how many bookings I have but basically I would say lots because I am always needing more and more balloons.

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200nth Balloon Sculpture, Ferris Wheel

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200nth Balloon Sculpture, Ferris Wheel

I remember seeing Roger Lander’s Youtube video months ago and just being astounded at his balloon ferris wheel!

Link to it below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYmfygEwy0g

Is that not just absolutely fabulous awesome sauce?!

I was hired for another VBS job and they had a carnival theme so I had to try to figure this thing out and bring it! I made balloon goodies for the kiddos and they loved everything which made me feel so good! I love it when they love their creations so much that they run to you and give you a giant hug! That cannot help but make your day!

I think I went about making the ferris wheel the harder way and started with the places that are yellow. I should have done the blue part first and then proceeded from there.

I needed to make it wider but other than that I think I did okay considering this was my first go of it.

The lovely Karen demonstrates it moving in this video on this link on my Facebook page. You can video of it in motion there. I figured out to get it to move as best as I could but I feel I am missing some little nuances.

Everyone just went crazy over this balloon! It was a huge hit!

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=346939562099138

Now for Pics.

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199nth Balloon Sculpture, Church VBS Decor with Jesus, Fishes and Loaves and Rainbow.

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The moment I got into Chattanooga the evening that I got back from my trip to Ohio I got a text from a lady asking me if I was still coming the next day to do decorations. I am not exaggerating either- the very moment we got into Chattanooga I got her text. It was hilarious!

She had Facebook messaged me about prices for decorations but never told me the date of the event and I never knew I was for sure hired,lol. She had messaged me back letting me know I was hired the day I left for Ohio and I didn’t have wifi for about a week. I texted her back and let her know that I had the balloons I needed and that I was up for the task.

I am sooo glad she texted me! She is a kind person. I am very glad to have met her.

So the next morning I had to figure out how to make a Jesus, a Rainbow connecting two columns, and a Basket with 5 Loaves and 2 Fishes.

I woke up early and got started. I had never made a rainbow before and it needed to be quite large. I had also never tried hanging something from the middle of two columns. I also needed to make a tall Jesus and a basket with 5 loaves and 2 fish.

I had to be there at the church by 4 to set up and be done by 6 p.m.

To make matters more hectic, my daughter had an occupational therapy appointment that morning as well. That took 3 balloon making hours away from me.

I managed to do everything in time. It was another miracle involving Jesus,lol.

Now next time I will play around with the face more and start practicing different face designs. I also would push the columns closer together and make the rainbow higher. I meant to push up Jesus’s arms around the neck and have the arms come down on the sides.  They also wanted a boat for a prop. I added an angel too because hey why not,lol. It was a great learning experience especially where I have to think on my feet and just come up with stuff that I have never made before. All in all I managed to get 8 hours of balloon work in to make this. That is including setup and driving and all that jazz,lol.

I like that I put hearts in Jesus’s hands.

Everyone loved it and everyone was super sweet, warm and wonderful.  It was a Spanish speaking church and so the banner you will see below says the “Miracles of Jesus” in Spanish.

Below are pics of what I came up with.

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I added one more 5 inch white round to make the rainbow perfect and I added it after this picture was taken, otherwise I would totally love this picture,lol. See if you can tell the difference between this photo and the consequent ones,lol. Also I hated that the boat fell over in this picture,lol. Otherwise it is beautiful,lol. My digital camera ran out of battery after this picture too,lol. I had to resort to the ipod for later pics,lol.

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198th Balloon Sculpture, La La Loopsy Parody

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It was my daughter’s birthday just a week or two ago and so we had a little birthday party for her at Pink Sparkle Spa.

She and her friends got a manicure and a sparkle tattoo. It was really cool. They do a great job and it is a really fun atmosphere. I highly recommend it!

 

I of course had to make balloon goodies for the kiddos. I also made my first attempt at a La La Loopsy parody for my daughter. I want to make further iterations but this is what I came up with for the party. I also played around with ballerina designs, I took some influences from Andre Nolle. The La La Loopsy Parody I tried using what I learned from making Nifty Balloons Sundae Float thing only upside down. I found that using 5 hearts for a ballerina skirt works much better than 4.

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They had a blast!

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Lance T. Miller, My Fairy Con Father.

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I went to an Origins Board Game Convention in Ohio with my husband last week.

My husband is working on a board game and hopes to one day have it
published. It was a trip to support his dream and passion.

I brought my balloons just because it is my passion. I spent a lot of time at the hotel with my daughter and they really kept me feeling right at home.

I ended up going to a couple seminars there at the convention. I went to Publicity 101 and I went to a seminar called Entrepreneurship for Artists.

Artist, Lance T. Miller was the seminar speaker for the latter seminar. He is a multi-award winning fantasy artist and playing card designer. Check out this pic of his steam punk cards he designed below. His Facebook.

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(Photo Taken by Kris D’amico)

There were 7 of us there to listen to him. He asked everyone what kind of art they did. I showed him a picture of my balloon Dalek costume I made and he was very impressed and he had never before met a balloon sculptor.

His seminar was very motivational. He talked about his personal failures and his personal successes.

The biggest two things that he strove to drive home was that he sees so many artists
sell themselves short and not to do that and that it is very important to find a
mentor.

He is quite a character and personable and though he is just a
year older than me, he felt a million more times adult and worldly. He has done
a lot more and seen a lot more than me.

He saw me as needing to do bigger things and projects and to think bigger for myself. I was quite flattered and scared to hear that, lol.

He changed my mind on my time.
I thought that since I am a home-maker, my balloon making time wasn’t worth as
much as other people.

He really stressed and made clear that artwork is
work. Our time has value. Our work has value.

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After his seminar, I told him that his life story fit the Phoenix theme perfectly and I showed him a picture of Andre Nolle’s Phoenix that I made and that I would make him one.

He loved it and said, “I tell you what, you make it and tell me how much it is and decide how much your time is worth and I will pay it. I want to make sure you learned something from this seminar.”.

I forgot what all was said exactly but I started wavering and I got to
make the joke, “Fool! You’ve learned absolutely nothing from my one hour class!”
That is a Simpson’s reference, specifically the C.E.Doh episode from season 14.

He just encouraged me again and let me know
where he would be in the vendors room during the con.

I worked on the Phoenix for 3 hours that night. Which was a huge improvement from the first time I made it, I was a lot longer last time. I had to do everything from memory as I didn’t have wifi in the hotel room and so I couldn’t watch Andre’s Tutorial. I had one picture to go by in my iPod. I had only made it once before. I managed to remember!

I brought it down to Lance the next day and before I left, my husband said that I should charge $150.

Could my time really be worth 50 an hour for special orders I thought to
myself?

I guessed that I should give it a shot. It was tricky because if
I charged too low, I felt that Lance would feel that I really didn’t learn
anything and would be disappointed and I didn’t want charge too much though and upset him and be a jerk. I also have no idea how much balloon artists charge for things like this so that puts an added level of difficulty.

I figured that he is so frank and assertive that he would let me know if I was
being insane. He has that magical combination of being very frank and assertive but personable, likable and relaxed at the same time.

When I got to his booth with the Phoenix and he asked me
how much, and how many hours, I easily said three hours but I was so shy and
scared and barely got the 150 out of my mouth. I kind of stuttered for a minute too,lol.

He said, “Patricia, this is how you do this, you say Lance, it took me three hours, my time is 50 an hour, so that will be 150 dollars.

He then gave me 150 dollars in cash. I was dumbfounded.

People were going crazy over the balloon.

I came back later to get pictures and thank him again and he talked about how my balloon helped cause people to stop at his booth and that people were really loving it.

He then stressed how getting people to come to your booth and stop to talk and therefore look at your product is worth something. The balloon was helping with that, that made the balloon extra valuable. That makes my art really worth something. This is causing excitement and making wowing memories for people. Don’t sell myself short.

I got lots of encouragement from he and his lovely wife, Amber,
both. I showed them both pictures from my Ipod of things I had made. They loved everything.

He took the Phoenix and took me around the con and introduced me
to people and people stopped us every five steps it seemed to get pictures of
the balloon.

He asked people how much they would pay for the balloon and
it went everywhere from 40 to 100 dollars and all in between. He told me that
prices for regular folks would be a different price point then say a business or
big establishment. He really wanted me to go bigger though and not be afraid to
do it. Believe in my worth and don’t be afraid to show others that worth.

Whenever someone would wow, he would say, “Here is the woman who made it!”
and he would make sure I was in all the pics taken with he and the balloon.

He felt like a Fairy Con Father and really made me feel like a somebody,
like a Balloonerella, lol.

It just about made me cry.

He and his wife really believe in me and they want me to go far and really believe that I can.

It solidified to me that I should take this art and talent I have
as seriously as I can and that I should do everything in my power to go to the
World Balloon Convention next year. If I am making a Dalek balloon costume at 4 months experience, imagine what I will do next year and especially if I could go to workshops and learn all kinds of advanced techniques?

My husband said that it is really expensive for us and that we both would have to work extra hard but that we will try.

I am not even going to let it be an option that I won’t go. I don’t care if I would have to sleep in my car instead of a hotel. I have to go to this.

I would get to go to all kinds of workshops at this convention and seminars about business and balloons and maybe I will find a mentor.

I have goals for myself and I want to grow and keep moving up
with this skill and I am determined. I want to do huge displays and projects like Addi Somekh and Larry Moss. That is where I want to head and go!

Lance’s purchase is going towards that trip.

Lance is an amazing artist and person. He and his wife both.

It is nice to have cheerleader’s in life. Where would we be without the cheerleaders in our lives?

Cicero said that “Without confidence, we are twice defeated in the race of life.”

Randy Pausch said,“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who you are not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

Thank you Lance and Amber, I really appreciate that I have this experience to look back on whenever I get downtrodden or nervous, I know that this experience with you guys will help keep me going. I do find permission to seek success from seeing your success, and I did feel liberated just as Marianne’s quote said. Lance made it over the wall and I really believe that I can too. 🙂

 

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197th Balloon Sculpture, Dylan Gelinas Cat

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197th Balloon Sculpture, Dylan Gelinas Cat

I saw a picture of Dylan Gelinas’ Cat and loved it and decided that I would give it a go.

I made some modifications. I felt that his tail looked too much like a monkey tail and that it needed some pink in the ear. I used a 350 for the tail to make it feel a little bushier. I also added whiskers. I made the hind legs differently as well. There are other differences in the face. To my knowledge, he does not have a tutorial for this so I played with the design ideas on my own and made my own version of it.

Picture of his cat=

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My modified version. I think next time I will try to make the cheeks a bit larger.

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