Friday, July 27, 2018

Building Those Stunning Disney PRIDE UK & Ireland Mouse Heads - My Day Working With Stuart Davies

Earlier this month I was given the opportunity in London to join Stuart Davies, CBA, of Beyond Balloons in South Wales along with his very talented son and daughter, Kai and Kerys Davies, to assist with building the fabulous interactive decor for Walt Disney International for the 2018 Pride London Parade.

Rainbow Mouse Heads designed by Stuart, Kai and Kerys Davies

Stuart first landed this fabulous contract with Disney last year for the 2017 Pride London Parade. After his amazing success, Disney did not hesitate to ask him to design and make the decor once again. Stuart was also commissioned to create the decor for Disney at the 2018 Dublin Pride, too! 

The Big Picture 

Being able to give a client a clear idea of what you are proposing is a great way to get them excited. Stuart shares his proposal design. Above is the proposal which Stuart designed using Microsoft Publisher and below is the actual end result! 

Stuart confesses that at the proposal stage he had not worked out how he was going to make each of the designs - he still had plenty of time to do that! Stuart said "At this concept stage you don't need a huge amount of detail. Your job is to give that 'Big Picture.' The emotions, the feelings, the impact it will have - the detail comes later."

Probably one of Stuart's biggest challenges was to design the rainbow-striped Mickey Mouse heads.

There were four major issues in creating this design:

1. Converting a 2D design into 3D. 
2. Creating a viable structure more than 4ft. in size that could be moved around. Plus, a design that could be taught to others and created relatively quickly.
3. Making it light enough to carry above head height and strong enough to withstand the movement and attention it would get during a six-hour long parade through London, enduring wind and searing heat.
4, Ensuring it had no visible supporting collar on the connecting pole, which was just 14mm or 1/2 in. in diameter, and that it could be twisted, turned, and swung around with no movement from pole to balloon structure.

Stuart said that "In doing this we had to develop three new techniques. We did NOT use nets, NO alternate duplet square pack and NO Bead technique.

My initial concept idea and theoretical design involved over forty-seven mathematical calculations to get the sizing correct! Then as my co-designers, Kerys supported the development of the 1st prototype and Kai led on the development of the invisible cradle.

What we achieved as a team was a great design that looked as though it was magically attached to a 1/2 inch pole, just like we suggested in our concept drawings!"

Here are some truly magical photographs from the day. The balloons make such a huge impact!

Disney PRIDE UK & Ireland

Disney PRIDE UK & Ireland

Disney PRIDE UK & Ireland

Disney PRIDE UK & Ireland

Disney PRIDE UK & Ireland

Stuart with Kai and Kelsey

For me, this was a fabulous opportunity to work with Stuart, Kai, and Kerys. I really enjoyed my day working at the Disney Store in London, albeit, tucked away in one of their large prop rooms, which to be honest was perfect as it was a very hot day outside and it meant that we could keep the balloons and us nice and cool! And look who I met whilst I was there! 

My job was to work on the Mickey Heads, which was great! Seeing a familiar technique applied in a totally new way was very exciting - your secret is safe with me, Stuart!

I am very proud to say that I was part of the team who made these two beautiful mouse heads!

Working with other balloon artists.

How often do we get the opportunity to work alongside other balloon artists? I cannot recommend strongly enough to take any opportunities you can to work with other balloon artists. It might be that you are relatively new to working with balloons and are looking for hands-on experience. Or maybe like me, you are keen to learn and work on an exciting project - it's not every day that you get the opportunity to work on a Disney project!

A huge congratulations to Stuart, his team, and the fabulous Disney employees who also worked really hard to prepare the decor! 

The Team: Stuart Davies, Nicci Rene, Julie Dommett, Vicky Earl, Sue Bowler, Kai Davies
Kerys Davies & Kelsey Evens.

Pride Parades are becoming big business. I spoke to a few balloon companies who said that this year they had seen a big rise in demand for decor leading up to the Pride Parade in London, maybe this could be a new opportunity for you?

Happy Ballooning!



Airmaster said...

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Jaki Jade said...

Hi Sue,

I am so in love with your blog. You are such an inspiration to me. I was wondering if you could do a post on how to do Large yard numbers ( not sure if that's what they are called).