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.