Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Thinking of competing at the World Balloon Convention 2014, here are some great reason why you should!

Registration for the World Balloon Convention has now opened, so if your thinking of going to WBC then why not enter a competition too!
"To all of you who have doubts about whether or not to participate in the competitions , I say try , no matter be good or not , the important thing is to try and never stop to learn and always improve" . - Alessandro Patanè CBA
I can remember the very first competitions that I entered, it was at the Qualatex - European Balloon Symposium in Paris in 1996! I entered everything that I could, large sculpture, delivery arrangement and table centrepiece, what a huge learning curve and the start of what I can only really describe as a passion for entering competitions! 

So what motivated me? 

Large Sculpture - Lamp inspired by Tiffany - by Sue Bowler  CBA

There are many aspects to entering a competition that you can attribute to motivation.
  • The conception and creativity time, the time it takes you to conceive your design idea's, especially if you are entering more than one competition. Some competition categories have theme's others are open, meaning that you can choose to design what ever you want to! The creativity period takes time and lots of research, "has anyone made something like this before as the judges are always looking for original ideas"? I love designing, I suppose that has stayed with me throughout my teaching career, the excitement of coming up with something new and exciting!
  • Practice and play! I know that many of those who enter competitions spend many months practicing, building framework and resolving potential problems. For me, I always spent a lot of time working on my centrepieces and buffet designs, but when it came to sculptures I think that it would be fair to say that I entered 'on a wing and a prayer' -  which basically means that you do it hoping that you will succeed, although you are not prepared enough for it! I think that most of us enjoy the play time, but finding the time is hard, but when you enter a competition you have the motivation to do it!
  • The competition... when that day finally arrives the excitement and anticipation is huge! All those months of planning and preparing can now be put into practice! But that is only a very small part, the bigger picture is that you have now joined an elite group, you are displaying your work along with other balloon artists from around the world and now you are the one inspiring others with your designs, ideas, techniques... your creativity!
  • The results! Adrenalin time, the excitement and anticipation that you might have won a prize!
  • The amazing opportunities to market your business when you return home from the convention.  
  • The fantastic portfolio pictures to add to your website and ever expanding portfolio!                                                        
So did I win any prizes in Paris? Absolutely no... I did not deserve to! But what I can say is that by entering the competitions in Paris gave me so many new skills along with the motivation and confidence to enter other competitions... and that was the start of my addiction to entering competitions!

Entering the competitions at The World Balloon Convention is different!

I think that it is really important that everyone knows why entering a competition at WBC is different.

At the World Balloon Convention, it is not only about coming 1st, 2nd or 3rd, it's about achieving a level of excellence. 

I often hear people saying "I know that I won't win"! I know that when I entered my very first competition in Paris that I would never win, but that did not stop me entering because I learnt so much from the experience. But the difference is that everyone  who enters at WBC has the opportunity to reach a level of excellence whether that is Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum! 

This might be your first ever competition, winning may not be the reason that you are entering the competition, like me, you might just want the experience and the challenge, but don't you think that it would be great if you knew how well you actually did?

Every competition at WBC has it's own judging standards, these are made up of different criteria's - if you would like to know what these are for each of the competitions just click HERE I strongly recommend that you read and understand these and make sure that you follows these when you make your design/s as this is how you gain points and it's the points that will determine which award you achieve!

There are always a good number of judges for each category and each judge will award points that will be added together to give an overall achievement level, the person who achieves the highest points will of course win 1st Place... 2nd and then 3rd place winners will be awarded, however, EVERYONE has the opportunity to be honoured with an WBC Achievement Award! 

Below are the different award levels and the number of cumulative points required to achieve each level.

WBC Platinum Achievement 90% of possible points or
higher in category
WBC Gold Achievement  80% of possible points or
higher in category
WBC Silver Achievement70% of possible points or
higher in category
WBC Bronze Achievement 55% of possible points or
higher in category

I know that I would have really enjoyed having this type of award scheme when I was competing, this would have given me the opportunity to aspire to a greater level each time I competed and the opportunity to show off my Achievement Award and promote my company on my return from the convention!

Rather than just hearing my motives for entering competitions, I asked a couple of other 'serial' competitors this question: 
"Can you tell me what entering competitions means to you and what you believe you have gained as a person from taking part..."

Alessandro Patanè CBA
www.alessandropatanecba.it  Balloon Express Shop Riposto (CT) Italy

Alessandro has given his response in both Italian and English...

 Io lavoro con i palloncini Qualatex dal 1997, e i miei primi insegnanti, Franco Ferri e Tommaso Morgantini, mi convinsero a partecipare l'anno dopo alle mie prime competizioni. Sono stato fortunato è ho vinto la mia prima competizione. da quel momento in poi ogni volta che ho partecipato ad una Convention ho partecipato anche alle competizioni, non ne ho mai persa una. mi piace tantissimo fare le competizioni. ma non si può dire che lo faccio solo per il premio, lo faccio perché la Balloon art per me è una filosofia di vita, l'atmosfera che si crea tra i membri della squadra e tra i membri delle altre squadre è meravigliosa, un intesa incredibile. Anche se ognuno di noi era di nazionalità diverse , e venivamo da diverse parti del mondo, quella passione, quella voglia di creare opere incredibili, ci accomunava e ci rendeva tutti uniti in un unico gruppo, l'obbiettivo di tutti era di meravigliare le persone con le nostre opere. Quante cose ho imparato da tutti gli amici che ho conosciuto grazie alla mia scelta di competere, e ogni volta che ci rincontriamo anche se passa tanto tempo, è come se ci fossimo visti tutti i giorni, compagni di avventura. Forse è stancante, forse è complicato da capire, e forse ci chiamano pazzi perché ci mettiamo alla prova ogni volta, ma non potrei stare senza. Grazie a questo lavoro e passione ho visto il mondo, sono stato un po' dovunque. Ricordo con affetto Roberta Tincani Lever, per avermi sempre spronato a migliorarmi e a provare nuove tecniche e nuove idee per le mie sculture. A tutti voi che avete dubbi se partecipare o no alle competizioni, dico di provare, non importa essere bravi oppure no, l'importante è provarci e non smettere mai di imparare e migliorarsi sempre. Adesso dopo tanti anni, dopo tante sconfitte e dopo tante vittorie, non vedo l'ora di partecipare alla prossima competizione. Ci vediamo alla prossima avventura. È ricordate, la Balloon art non è un lavoro ma un modo di vivere la propria passione.

Alessandro Patanè CBA

English version 
I work with Qualatex balloons since 1997, and my first teachers , Franco Ferri and Thomas Morgantini, convinced me to participate in my first year after competitions . I was lucky is I won my first competition . From that moment on, every time I attended a convention I also participated in the competitions , I've never lost one. I really like to do competition . but you can not say that I only do it for the prize , I do because the Balloon art for me is a philosophy of life , the atmosphere that is created between the team members and between the members of the other teams is wonderful, an understanding incredible . Although each of us had different nationalities , and we came from different parts of the world , that passion , that desire to create incredible works , we shared and made ​​us all together in a single group , the goal of all was to surprise people with our works . How many things I learned from all my friends who I met through my choice to compete, and every time we meet again even if it passes a long time , it is as if we had seen every day, fellow adventurers . Maybe it's tiring , perhaps it is complicated to understand , and perhaps call us crazy because we put ourselves to the test each time, but I could not be without it. Thanks to this work and passion I have seen the world , I was a bit ' everywhere. I fondly recall Roberta Tincani Lever , always encouraged me to improve myself and to try new techniques and new ideas for my sculptures . To all of you who have doubts about whether or not to participate in the competitions , I say try , no matter be good or not , the important thing is to try and never stop to learn and always improve . Now after many years, after so many defeats and after many victories, I can not wait to participate in the next competition . See you next adventure. You remember, the Balloon art is not a job but a way of living your passion.

Colin Myles CBA, Smileyballoons. 

very best balloon blog
Colin at work creating one of his many stunning balloon dress's

I love to enter competitions; I entered my first balloon competition in 1999, and have entered countless competitions since then all over the world.
WHY!!! Probably when I started out winning was very important to me, but as I have got older and hopefully wiser I realise that the most important aspect of competing is that you are forced out of your comfort zone, you have none of the normal constraints of budget or cost effectiveness that you do when working for a client so the sky really is the limit. 
I have also realised over the years that when making a competition entry whether it a large sculpture, a small centrepiece, or even a 12 minute twisted piece, that the principles and elements of design are hugely important, 
I have been fortunate enough to have won quite a few awards over the years but to me the biggest legacy has been the learning curve whenever I design an entry. I am already looking forward to the next event so that I can challenge myself again.

Competition entry Colin Myles CBA

Balloon Dress - By Colin Myles CBA
Luc Bertrand CBA, WAW Balloons

... before I add Luc's comments, I just wanted to mention that I first met Luc at my first ever convention in Paris, along with a number of balloon artists who are all doing extremely well in the balloon industry today!

Luc competing in Prague.

When I started doing balloons Many others with me did participate to competitions. The first time I participated with my wife was at the then called EBS (European Ballon Symposium) in Paris, organized by Pioneer Europe Limited. We were really newbees in balloons, well I think 3 months after I tied my first duplet can be called fairly new. It seemed like a lot of fun to participate to this odd happening. The reason we participated is because I realized we had the opportunity to play for (nearly) free with thousands of balloons and try out loads of things. I may not be very proud with what I then made but I guess It was not al too bad. We probably did not take it very seriously back in that time. Nevertheless, we got very good comments from people that then were considered as stars in the balloon community.
We were making our sculpture next to a lovely person who made her first sculpture as well. Her name is Sue Bowler, it was the beginning of a long friendship. In the years that followed I competed again and again, each time next to knew friends, Bob, Alberto, Azusa, Wynn, Jodie, Dee, Robbie and many more. Too many to name, but each of them have a place in my heart.And along the way I got a few awards. Maybe important for my image but never they will be as important as awards such as knowledge, experience and the long lasting friendships I gained.The knowledge has been useful in many ways. Not only for the teaching I do but as well for the many realizations I sell to my clients. No harm in making mistakes when making competition-pieces but mistakes will not as easily be forgiven by paying clients.

Cobra - by Luc Bertrand CBA

Clown - Large Sculpture - by Luc Bertrand CBA

Dolls - Large Sculpture by Luc Bertrand CBA

Fish - Large Sculpture by Luc Bertrand CBA

Buffet Design - Luc Betrand CBA

Starball - Luc Bertrand CBA
And finally Matt Russell CBA - Twistedmr
Matt Russell at work!

Column Competition

"I believe competitions are not just about winning but getting in and having a go. Trying new techniques and pushing your self to the next level 
What have I gained. 
I have gained the confidence to give things ago. Which has in turn help me take on things for clients I wouldn't have before hand." 

Medium Sculpture WBC 2012 - Team Australia

I hope that some of you who read this blog will consider 'having a go', yes, I agree, it's a huge stepping stone to make, but I think that from the words that have been shared by Alessandro, Colin, Luc & Matt will convince you that there is much to gain from taking part... so start planning now!

If you have any questions regarding the competitions at WBC, you can contact the WBC Competition Coordinator Dale Moore - email: wbccompetitions@yahoo.com

One final note from me, I honestly believe that without taking part in competitions, I would not be the person that I am today, it has allowed be to grow my skills, confidence and my passion for balloons and the balloon industry!

WARNING... competitions can become addictive!

Happy Ballooning!


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