Friday, February 14, 2020

If Asked, Would You Be Able to Name Your Favourite Balloon Design?

A few weeks ago, I was asked to name what I consider as my favourite ever balloon design, something of my own creation. After nearly thirty years of being in the balloon industry, that question stumped me. So before I tell you what mine and a few of my ballooning friend's favourites designs are, I would like you to think about what yours would be, and why?

Naming your favourite design is a little bit like publicly saying who your favourite child is, and that is exactly the problem my fellow "balloonies" had when I asked them! 

Elephant Sculpture by Chris Adamo
Elephant Sculpture by Chris Adamo
Here's what Chris Adamo, CBA, of Balloons Online in Sydney, Australia said;
"OMG it is so hard to decide on a favourite design but this is the first one that I thought of.
It was made to the exact proportions of an adult male African Bull Elephant. I actually saved the working drawings I used for proportions.

Why is this my favourite? I spent a long time researching how other elephants designs had been made with balloons, but I couldn't find anything that was made using a texture that seemed appropriate. Depending on the texture you are looking for, quick links and twisted balloons sometimes looks a little messy and draws focus away from the overall project. What I endeavoured to achieve in this project was a finish that was smooth and consistent, and the duplet square pack method created a finish that allowed the audience to see beyond the balloons and for a moment in time be transformed to a vintage circus"
Elephant Sculpture by Chris Adamo, CBA

Chris will be building a large balloon sculpture as part of the sculpture competition at BACI 2020 in Milan in March. I am very excited to see what he builds - of course I will report back! 

Cam Woody, CBA, of Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, USA, is a little like me, in that she struggled to find her absolute favourite. So she chose 4 designs! 

Flashy Flamingo Design by Cam Woody
Flashy Flamingo
"I love this one because it has so much personality. My friends, who aren’t fond of balloons, couldn’t resist these flamingos. It’s not a complicated design. My favorite designs are usually the ones that are the most simple to make. These flamingos only require a minimal amount of twisting to create a character that draws people to it and makes them smile." 

 Baby Shower Decor

Baby Shower Decor by Cam Woody
"I chose this shot because of the way it makes me feel. There are a lot of different details in the scene that make it special. I like how light and airy it feels with the clouds and the hot air balloons. I like the rhythm that the different textured balloons add. The difference in the way the Chrome, Pearls and Standard colors reflect the light in the room makes the photo feel light it’s breathing. And one of my favorite details in the shot is the hot air balloon cupcakes. Again because they were so easy. I hadn’t seen anything like this before and it seems like it should have been so obvious. I used washi tape for the stripes on the 5” balloon and attached the balloon to cake pop sticks and added little bows."

Elegant Hearts Column 
Elegant Heart Column by Cam Woody

"I like this column for several different reasons. First, the balloons look so elegant! The Chromes mixed with the Rose Gold and White come together to make this design radiate luxury. I created a tack weave in the center part of the column with the 260Qs, a technique that I don’t use often, but I’m so pleased that I did for this piece. The elegance of the design justified the extra time that it took to add this detail."

Sparkling Unicorn Smiles

"This design featured some of our newer balloons, which I love. I made white the primary color to keep the piece light and airy. The sheer white ribbon also adds to the ethereal atmosphere. The whimsical Unicorn and Unicorn Horns along with the fun saying on the 18” foil delivery the message and color for the design. And I added a few paper flowers for the final details. The piece feels like something out of a fairy tale, which is exactly what I was trying to achieve."

My final guest for this blog post is Luc Bertrand, CBA of WaW Balloons in Vichte, Belgium. Luc's designs vary from large sculptures to small retail designs, so I was intrigued to see which of his designs he would consider to be his favourite and why.
"In spring 2011, Qualatex introduced the numbers shapes and the 18” foil smile faces in different colours. 
As I was teaching at the JBAN convention in Japan I was asked to showcase both new products. I was allocated two “demo” time slots of 15 minutes each to show one design including these. Subsequently, I traveled to Japan with a design for the numbers and a design for the smiles in mind. 
On the day of the demonstration, I was informed that the timetable has changed and that I now had only one 15 minutes time slot! 

Realising I could not show and properly explain my two designs in such a short time, I knew I had to come up with a new design. I decided to combine both, positioned the number on a base and topped the number with a smile face, gave the character two arms to create emotion and the “Happy Numbers” were born! 

Happy Number by Luc Bertrand
I started teaching the design worldwide and soon pictures started to pop up everywhere with my creation. A bit later, I start adding other faces on the numbers and now 'Happy Pigs', 'Angry Cows', 'Wondering Giraffes', Winning Lions', 'Waving Frogs', and many more soon appear.
Then I started to hear dazzling numbers when delegates told me how many "Happy Number" they sell a month, a week, a day! Gratitude is great but knowing how my design resulted in such huge sales for my colleagues worldwide will always be my biggest reward. 

Happy Numbers by Luc Bertrand
9 years later, they are still a top design. I was teaching abroad only yesterday. During the break a lady came over and showed me the picture of a happy number (not my picture) on her cell phone. Little did she know it was my original design. She then asked me kindly if I was able to explain “such design”.
Therefore, when you ask me what my favourite design is, I must go for the Happy Numbers.

  • a simple concept
  • easy to reproduce when knowing the right techniques.
  • 2 arms giving the character all kind of expressions and emotions,
  • a gift that must have made numerous of thousands happy.
  • long lasting air filled design
  • a definite money maker,
  • a timeless design that will be alive and kicking for many years to come!

And now it's my turn! Like everyone else I really struggled with choosing my favourite design. I wavered between two solid options. Should it be my first place winner from many years ago at IBAC 13 that helped me to boost my International profile, not to mention my ballooning and teaching career?  On the other hand, should it be a design that has excited me the most more recently? I have chosen the latter, as I have always enjoyed and thrived to create something a little bit different, which is exactly what I did last year for a client for their Great Gatsby event in London. I knew that I wanted to create a column, but also add something unusual. After spending a little time researching the Gatsby Theme, watching the film and referencing Art Deco style, I made a simple sketch in my note pad. I then turned my sketch into a digital image that I was able to show my client. 

Gold Column Sculpture by Sue Bowler

On the right is my digital image with the final result (shown side-by-side), made from Gold Chrome balloons and complimented with 3' and Deco Bubble confetti-filled balloons! 

Whilst I was making these Gold Column Sculptures on-site at the venue, I could not believe the number of compliments that I received from the hotel staff, the event organisers and general passersby! It was so exciting to hear all the positive comments and exclamations of "we've never seen such beautiful balloons!" 

A week after the Gatsby event, I attended the Qualatex Event in Mexico and decided to share the design with the delegates. I made a few changes and added a few new elements - once again I was greeted with an overwhelming positive response. 

Since this event, I have used the same style of frame to make an elegant organic style wedding design. 

We are so used to strong vertical lines with balloons that by using soft curves often feels more natural, organic and playful. I have also found that creating a curving line rather than a straight adds volume, giving the appearance of a bigger or more voluminous design.

I have loved seeing the designs selected by Chris, Cam, and Luc. I truly admire their work and styles, and have really enjoyed compiling their testimonies and getting their perspectives.

Have you decided what your favourite design is? Considering this aspect is an important reason to acknowledge our personal success is it can help us continue to achieve. If we reflect back on what worked well and why, we can often repeat the process and hence continue to benefit repeatedly. 

Happy Ballooning!


1 comment:

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