I am so happy to have met Pip Milford-Hughes also known as Pippity-Pop. I just want to replicate everything this woman has done! Not only is she very clean and highly acute in technical ability, she also has an exuberant cheerfulness about her pieces that reflect her personality.
I have had the absolute pleasure of getting to know her on Facebook- which is really exciting as she lives in New Zealand so how else would I be afforded such a wonderful opportunity.
Her Pippity-Pop Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PippityPop.
Pippity refers to herself as a Balloonologist. I asked her to explain what a Balloonoloist meant and was referring to exactly. Her response, “I turned up at a gig one day and they had a sign to show me my spot it read Balloonologist. I loved it and have used it ever since. I think it shows that I don’t take myself too seriously BUT expect something more than a 3 twist dog. My catch phrase is “yes that’s right I’m a BalIoonologist. I wanted to be a Psychologist, but I’m no good at listening and I’m full of hot air”.
How cool is that?! Balloonologist! That’s gold!
She is in my top ten of all time favorite balloon artists and she is just a really lovable and awesome person to know. She was gracious enough to indulge me in an interview.
Hi my name is Pip, my business name is Pippity-Pop!
I live in a small city named Dunedin, which is located at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand.
New Zealand? Isn’t that part of Australia? – NO!
Zealand is an Island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. We are quite often left off World Maps shown in the movies.
We are the first in the World to see each new day.
We were the first country to give women the vote.
We were the first to climb Mt Everest, created the Bungy Jump, the Hamilton Jet, and split the Atom.
We are home to The Flight of the Concords and Lord of the Rings.
We are also home to ‘Crowded House’, ‘Lorde’, Anna Paquin, and Russell Crowe.
Australia tries to claim all our talent, but with Russell, we are more than happy for them to have him lol
1. When and how did you get started with balloon twisting?
When I was 9 years old. I saw my very first Balloon Twister who was travelling with a Carnival. I spent all my money buying all his designs on offer. A one balloon Poodle, Giraffe and a Bear. I begged him to sell me some of his uninflated twisting balloons – which he did, and would equate to $2 per balloon in today’s market. I went home and untwisted each design, then re-twisted them. Once I worked out the sequence I could make them with the 6 balloons I purchased. Even today, my one balloon Poodle is the exact same design.
I didn’t twist another balloon until about 10 years ago when I went to a fancy dress party as a Clown and I juggled and twisted some balloons. I was asked by a colleague to attend her son’s Birthday Party and it grew from there.
2. What is your favorite color and type of balloon?
I love the neon’s (so long as you don’t have to untwist as they mark). But Quartz Purple has to be my all-time favourite colour. I use Qualatex, with the addition of Betallatex Metallic Range as I love them in my floral bouquets.
3. What is your favorite balloon twisting memory?
Oooh now that’s a hard one.
Twisting at the Hospital is always so rewarding.
Then there are the times when children are sooooo excited that they shake with anticipation.
I think it’s the ‘feeling’ that balloons give that resonates with me.
4. What is your favorite personal balloon sculpture that you have made?
Oooh that too is a hard one:
My ‘favourite’ seems to change with each new design I come up with. It becomes my ‘New Favourite’.
I LOVE my Rainbow Delivery that I made for my sister who was going through major dental work.
I also still LOVE my little Hermit Crab that I designed for Zoo Moo – a Television Programme I’m twisting for.
And then there’s my convertible ride in car.
What is your favorite sculpture someone else has made?
I love EVERYTHING that Patrick Van Der Ven creates.
When I first started I was blown away (pun intended) by Michael Gjerek from Belbal Balloons – Slovenia His large sculptures are made with a framework not of netting, but precision 260/160 intricate weaving.
I also love seeing Pascal Grooten’s amazing designs – His point of difference: No glue, no wire, no frame, no marker.
5. Do you have any specific goals in this art field? Any specific projects you would like to have realized?
I would love to have the funds / funding to make a Super LARGE sculpture, such as a castle / house etc. that children could enter. Now that would be soo much fun.
6. Has this endeavor changed the way you interact with people? How has it impacted your social interactions and social life?
Being the youngest child, and living on a farm, I was never around a lot of children, so I never felt confident in interacting with children. Wow! Boy has that changed. Now I’m more concerned when talking with adults – I have a tendency to want to entertain the group, speak loudly, and I have to keep checking myself that I’m allowing others to finish their stories before I impulsively butt in with mine J – I’m now just like a BIG KID.
When I’m out and about, I love receiving lots of smiles and waves with whispers of “Hi Pippity-Pop!” or “There’s Pippity-Pop!”.
7. What other interests or hobbies do you have?
I LOVE baking – on the downside, I LOVE eating! J
I also love craft work.
I dabble in Magic and am current President of the Otago Magic Circle.
I have a terrible tendency of once I’ve mastered something, I move onto something different. I think that’s why I love Balloonology, (her term for serious balloon twisting), so much as the challenge to up-skill and create something even more fabulous never ends, and you are always inspired by other artists.
8. How do you feel you shine the most in this art? What do you most enjoy doing and feel is your greatest strength?
I’ve always been outgoing and loved the spotlight as a child. At my last office job, my Boss told me “if there is any hilarity in this office, you are always at the center of it”. Unfortunately he didn’t see it as a positive thing and I was told to be less disruptive. J
With Ballooning, I know I’ve ‘found my fit’. I love people, I’m pretty open minded, I’m loud and love to laugh, and I’m sure kids can see that I’m genuinely interested in them.
I’m a perfectionist, which is perfect for the world of Balloonology.
9. How has balloon twisting influenced how you see life and or how has the way you see life influenced your balloon twisting?
Wow – now this is deep……….hmmm.
One thing that I am truly passionate about is the negative statement that we often hear starting with “I don’t know, the young children today…….gggrrrrr grumble etc.”
I honestly don’t find that. Out of all the parties and event’s that I’ve attended, there are only a handful that are ‘memorable’.
What I see:
Are kids that are super excited – I’m sure a Birthday Party is equivalent to a wedding for a child.
Kids having fun.
Kids that care for each other.
Kids that truly want to help – and sometimes that means pulling out the colours for next sculpture 😉
Kids that want to laugh even if your jokes are BAD and I mean really BAD!
And YES Kids are often a reflection of their parents
I remember a quote from a fellow Balloon Twister (sorry I haven’t got a name). But he said:
“A child may not remember what you made them – but they will remember how you made them feel”
10. What is the biggest challenge you have come across in this field?
Charging – as I underestimate what I’m worth.
And along with (I’m sure) just about everyone, ‘assertive’ Parents, and Grandparents! J
11. How would you describe yourself? Is there a fictional character with which you strongly identify?
I was going to go with either Sponge Bob or Sid off Ice Age!
But then I remembered that I just recently took one of those character quizzes on Face Book and was assigned Lorelai Gilmore– from the Gilmore Girls.
I can relate to her a lot…..controlling and opinionated mother, hardworking, keeps personal issues close to her chest, looks for the positives, and always defuses the seriousness of the situation with a joke= often at an inappropriate time.. Yip that’s me without the teenage pregnancy and rich parents! (shame about the rich parents!).
12. What has been the craziest balloon request someone has made of you?
I often have young boys wanting the most bizarre things – but the most memorable request was from a young boy at a Birthday Party asking for a Worm – just a Worm!
I made a very cute segmented worm with bobbly eyes and smiley mouth. Then I just imagined what his Mum would say when he brought it home. So I made him an apple house. Everyone oooed and arrrhhhed EXCEPT this little man who reluctantly took it, stating again that all he wanted was just a worm. lol
Below, more pictures of her fabulous work.