Wednesday, January 25, 2017

International Balloon Art Festival India

I recently had the privilege to travel to New Delhi, India, to work with Fiona Fisher, CBA, of Worldwide Balloon Decor in Portadown, Ireland. Fiona was commissioned by Select Citywalk to build India’s largest balloon sculpture in one of the country's prestigious shopping malls. The Hot Air balloon sculpture took centre stage as part of the first International Balloon Art Festival that was being held from the 14th to 27th of January, 2017.

Fiona is no stranger to building large balloon sculptures and has won a number of industry awards for her incredible balloon sculptures. Fiona believes that competing at industry events, such as the World Balloon Convention gave her more confidence in her abilities, allowed her to move out of her comfort zone, and provide the opportunity to make things that she would not normally be able to build, primarily because of the space required and the costs involved. But she feels that the most invaluable thing was the ability to take fabulous photographs of her work that she uses to show prospective clients.

In  2013, Fiona was commissioned to build the most iconic ship in the world, The Titanic, on the 100th anniversary of its sinking.

To find out more about this incredible sculpture, check out my post Building the Titanic - an interview with designer Fiona Fisher.

Day 1 - Framing.
It was agreed that it would be more exciting and enjoyable for the visitors and shoppers to watch the sculpture being built from start to finish. So on the first day, we marked out a large space in the centre of the shopping mall and started work on building the frame for the hot air balloon. 

Not only did Fiona have very detailed plans and drawings of the frame to be constructed, she also pre-built the entire frame in Ireland prior to the trip to ensure that everything worked as she expected! It also gave her the opportunity to work out the exact balloon sizes we would need to make for each section of the design.

By the end of day 1, Fiona with her team had built the upper half of the frame, ready for the first balloons to be added the next day.

Day 2 - Ballooning the frame.

Having built the frame, it was now time to add balloons. Using the new Premium Twin-Air Inflators, thousands of Qualatex® balloons, and an eager team of helpers, we got started. 

Just seeing the first balloons on the frame really started to bring the balloon sculpture to life, and of course, it attracted a great deal of attention from the shoppers and mall staff. 

Some of our amazing helpers! 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

It's official: "Organic Balloon Decor" is a trend that is here to stay.

So what exactly is organic balloon decor?  If you look at Pinterest and type "organic balloon decor," you will see an array of designs including Arches, Swags, and table runners that use different balloons inflated to a variety of sizes with accent elements such as tissues, flowers, and foliage. This style of decor breaks all the rules that we would normally strive for in terms of elegant, precise lines and consistent balloon sizes.
Wedding Arbour by Sue Bowler, CBA.

If I am honest, I don't believe that it's a totally new trend. It's like fashion; they come and they go. Looking back on some of the designs that we made when I was part of the Conwin design team, the organic look was definitely present then, but maybe not to the same extent as it is today.

I asked a few of my wonderful ballooning friends if they would give their interpretation of this style of balloon art.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Qualatex® Event Slovenia makes a big splash!

Alberto Falcone, CBA. 
Late last year I had the pleasure of teaching at the Qualatex Event Slovenia. I love to teach at this event, not only because it's hosted in a spa hotel, which makes for a fun and a very lively welcome party, but also because I get to meet up with so many of my wonderful ballooning friends from around the world. This year was no exception. We had more than 150 delegates from more than 23 different countries.

For me, the event started with nine delegates from across Europe and Israel taking their CBA exam. The room was filled with anxiety and nerves at the beginning of the exam as always, but after a few short minutes everyone relaxed and did their best work. And of course they were awesome, with everyone passing!
A huge congratulations to:
Nikita Fric, CBA.
Roland Repaski, CBA.
Maayan Guri, CBA.
Zsuzsanna Ernst, CBA.
Erika Zeke, CBA.
Itai Yekoutiely, CBA.
Mike Hurst, CBA.
Iren Ille, CBA.
Barbara Tocaj, CBA.

Welcome to the CBA family!

CBA exam in progress.

CBA exam designs.

Whilst we were working away on the CBA exam, others were busily working hard to make the decor for the opening "Pool Party" headed by Colin Stewart, CBA, of SBB World Class BalloonART in Alliston, Ontario, Canada. 
Decor in the making.

Colin leading the decor on the move.

Entrance decor.

Ceiling palm tree's with fun monkeys.

Here are a few photographs from the party. It looks like those monkeys got everywhere!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

So what can we expect in 2017?

Firstly, I would like to wish you all a very happy New Year! 

Qualatex Balloons
New Year's design by Jose Luthman, CBA and Sue Bowler, CBA

2016, saw the fourth fabulous World Balloon Convention and wow, what an amazing convention that was! More than 900 delegates representing 58 countries came together in the fabulous city of New Orleans. The World Balloon Convention is a truly fantastic event offering so many wonderful opportunities to learn new skills and great techniques, share ideas, and make some amazing new friends and contacts. Most importantly, it gives the biggest injection of passion, energy, and excitement that lasts many months after the event and the opportunity to bring new life to your business. Although it might seem early, you have more than a year to start saving for WBC 2018, which will take place March 14 -18 in San Diego, CA, USA. 

WBC - "Mardi Gras" Costume Party
Photograph by Jani Blocker.

So what can we expect in 2017? There will be many exciting opportunities to attend events, classes, and training. I believe that we never stop learning. There is always a great new technique or marketing tip that helps us to significantly increase sales! Even after 26 years, I can honestly say that I am still learning and truly want to learn more! It's very easy to believe that we know enough, but to help us to stand out against our competitors and make us the best, we should make training and learning a big part of our development agenda. Training is not just about learning how to make new designs. It helps you to understand how to price your work for profit and offers some vital business skills, too.

For many, traveling to events can be difficult. With that in mind, the 2017 Qualatex World Tour will be on the road and visiting many locations around the world! This will give balloons artists many opportunities to attend some truly fantastic classes with an all-star line up of instructors teaching an action-packed day filled with fabulous designs, business skills, and much more! To find out all the locations and dates click HERE