Saturday, November 24, 2007

Inflated Rainbows

The day after Thanksgiving, I was holding a balloon sculpture workshop. I brought the girls with me. Chase opted to have some alone time with dad. Marina was there to help me. She's becoming very handy with the air pump and can teach basic dog as well as I can. What is basic dog? It's the first animal that I teach my balloon students how to make. Sierra learned to make it too. Below is her first dog, twisted with a little help.

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The dragonflies above are one of my favorite balloon animals to make. The hardest part about them is the head, because you need to push the knot into the balloon and twist the first bubble to hold the knot in place. The difficulty (for me) is pulling my finger free after I've pushed in the knot. If you try to pull too quickly, you risk popping the balloon. I'm not afraid of it popping, I just prefer not to waste my expensive Qualatex twisting balloons.

We did pretty well at this workshop. I don't think we had more than a dozen bursts. I've had workshops where every twist caused a pop and I spent most of my hour pumping up fresh balloons. Popping tends to be one of those things that scares people about balloon sculpture. I don't try to reassure my students. At the beginning of my workshop I tell the group that balloons pop. No one knows when it will happen, it just does. I look at it as one of life's fun little surprises. So if we get surprised, I tell them to yell something. This time it was "Zaloom!" because Beakman's World was in my head. I've also used "Ole!" No one minds a popped balloon when you're shouting "Ole!"

While working with the balloons, I started thinking about all we can learn from these colorful bags of air.
  • Pops happen.
  • Remember to stretch first.
  • Make sure you get enough air.
  • Sometimes we need help. That's what the air pump is for.
  • Be flexible, but remember your limits. Everyone has a breaking point.
  • Don't be afraid to grab the balloon with two hands and twist.
  • You can't make a square with a balloon.
  • You can make almost any 4 legged animal from a modified dog. Be creative.
  • It's hard to be sad when you have a balloon.
I like working with balloons. In our busy lives, where everything seems to need a reason for being, the balloon has only one simple function. Fun.

4 comments:

JK said...

very cool blog... and your balloon rules are certainly rules for life in general as well... thanks!

Muddy Mama said...

I was once given a book on making balloon hats. The kids and I had a blast! It's wonderful fun and so exciting to realize that it is possible for me (even me!) to be creative with balloons. I like the idea of shouting "Ole!" for the pops, too! :)

TobyBo said...

"Pops happen" LOL

divinagrace said...

Neat-O. The dragonflies are my favorite!

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