Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Could you design the decor for one of the biggest parties in the balloon Industry? That's exactly what Alexandra & Ellie Ventura did and they share their experience with the Very Best Balloon Blog!

In 2012, yes that long ago, the World Balloon Convention set a challenge to the Worlds balloon community inviting artists to create WBC 2014 decor for the Lobby, the Thursday Night Costume Party and the Final Night Grand Gala, by entering the WBC 2014 Decor Design Competition, 'the opportunity to design your dream decor using UNLIMITED Qualatex balloons and a full staff to help realise your vision!'

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Alexandra Ventura CBA with Chelsea Gaspard, Pioneer Balloon Companies
 Marketing Communications Director.

Sisters and business parters Alexandra and Ellie Ventura of Pacha Balloon Creations in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada rose to that challenge and were awarded the opportunity to create this years Thursday Night Costume Party decor 'WBC Rocks the World'.

To create decor on a grand scale is no mean feat especially when you are creating a party for the biggest balloon convention in the World! I invited Alexandra to share her experience with the Very Best Balloon Blog!

“Aim for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll still be amongst the stars”. This wonderful saying was taught to me at WBC 2014. A lady named Micki told me that her mother would tell her this every time she faced a new challenge in life. Micki could not have chosen a better quote to describe an experience at WBC.

In her case it inspired her to compete in the balloon column competition, and for me, it is reflective of the entire week. I was literally amongst stars, stars of our industry and stars....tons and tons of microfoil stars.
My only wish was that my sister and business partner, Ellie was able to join me, but as I write this, over a week ago she gave birth to my nephew Marcus! Being pregnant was definitely an amazing reason for her to not be with us at WBC.

My sister and I were introduced to this wonderful industry nearly 15 years ago by Karen Ruttimann of SKS Novelty Co. Ltd. Karen asked Ellie and I to take one of her balloon classes. After that first class we realized that the use of balloons in the event industry have endless possiblities and our imaginations ran wild.
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Alexandra with Mark Toomey and LaDonna Belcher
On October 2012, after receiving an e-mail for the competitions for the WBC 2014 competitions, Ellie and I decided to participate in the Thursday Night Party Design Competition. We were told only the Rock theme, everything else was up to us to create. By December 2012, we were thrilled to receive an e-mail from Julie Conner informing us that we had been selected as finalists. By June 2013 we were honoured to have Chelsea Gaspard and Marylynn Borondy personally come to meet us at SKS Novelty Co Ltd to tell us we had been awarded as the WBC Thursday Night Party designers. Almost immediately we began conference calls with LaDonna Belcher, Cam Woody, Eve Antonello, and Silvia Santos to organize everything to make our dream decor a reality.

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Alexandra with Eve Antonello and Silvia Santos
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Sketching out your initial ideas is a great start to the designing process, here is one of Alexandra's and Ellie's sketches.

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Rock Hands designed by Alexandra & Ellie Ventura

Stars Accent Pattern
We are often asked what inspires us or how do we begin a design. Inspiration truly comes from absolutely anywhere. I vividly recall walking downtown Toronto with Ellie once and seeing a shape hanging from a street light formed by fabric. We later used that shape as a design for a backdrop for one of our events. In this case after reviewing the microfoils by Qualatex related to the Rock theme, we decided to use the Qualatex Stars Accent Patterns microfoil as our colour palette.

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Ellie and I sat down and brainstormed what came to mind when we think of rock music, rock style, and rock concerts. After numerous ideas we narrowed down the concepts that we thought would create interesting atmosphere to the party. We decided to focus on rock hands like an audience enjoying a concert, spike collars like “Rocker” style clothing accessories, “Zippo” lighters that used to be lit in concerts, Skull Boy and Skull Girl who we had created for previous rock theme events, a Gene Simmons parody from the rock group Kiss, and of course stars....lots and lots of STARS! LOL!

Gene Simmons parody from Rock Group Kiss
by Alexandra and Ellie Ventura
 After narrowing down the concepts we began design. Many were straight forward from the concepts we drew. Other designs took some trial and error to get them to look just right. Another interesting note we had to keep in mind was that the use of helium in the
Denver atmosphere was different than what we were used to at home. Our design concepts were primarily air-filled but the use of helium was adjusted for Denver. Decorating a venue that you have never seen in person lead to concept designs that could be adjusted as necessary upon arrival in Denver.
Alexandra at work!

 As an event designer, in general, you must always prepare for changes even if you are very familiar with the venue. This event was no different. Floor plans changed even once I arrived in Denver. Redesigning the areas to adapt to these changes was a lot of fun. Collaborating with other amazing artists and recreating new concepts in the process was wonderful.

Once in Denver, the most challenging part as a designer was to be able to quickly assess the skills of the volunteers and effectively delegate the tasks to be completed. I had my own employee, Morgana Ruttimann-Hoskins, by my side along with other Canadian delegates, including Devon Kirke and Bella Beazer. I truly appreciate every single one of the volunteers and look forward to seeing them all again!

I cannot end this blog without acknowledging and thanking those individuals who worked to truly make our design dreams a reality. The most memorable part of this designer experience was to be able to work with a staff of the most incredible and talented artists in our industry. Being able to work and collaborate with LaDonna Belcher, Debi Leidel, Lisa Talip, Cheryl Skoric, Bonnie Fisher, Sue and Kevin Boone, Mark Toomey, Greg Arrigoni, Garrett Gruberman, Braden Meyer, Ray Wilson, Luciana Oliva, Tara Silva, Marco Rodriguez and everyone who worked so hard in putting all the events together from ordering, to inventory to installation was an absolute honour. None of the events at WBC would be as spectacular as they are without their hard work and dedication. Even through altitude sickness and the flu, this team could accomplish anything. I hope that the design winners for WBC 2016 will be able to share the same experience and will be able to work with all of them as well.

For more great photos of the entire WBC 2014 experience visit Devon Kirke’s site at http://www.twistamajigs.com/wbc2014/
I look forward to seeing all of you at WBC 2016 in New Orleans!!!!!! Keep rocking!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alexandra for taking the time to share her WBC experience, sketches and photograph with us all, I am sure that many of us can learn from your hard work and fantastic preparation! 

The party was awesome, the decor really set the scene and atmosphere of what can only be described as an amazing evening of fun and dancing... WBC really did Rock that night!

Happy Ballooning!



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