Recently I was honoured to become an award-winning balloon artist by receiving my first industry award. But to those outside the industry, what does it even mean? Let me break it down for you. Recently, I attended OzJam…
What exactly is OzJam I hear you ask? It is a balloon industry event, run by Pioneer Balloons Australia – the distributor of Australia’s #1 brand of balloons – Qualatex. Delegates from all over Australia, New Zealand and even other countries converge at OzJam. We do this to to network with others in the balloon industry but more notable is to learn from our industry greats. It’s occurrence is bi-annually, making it a priority event if you want to learn and grow within our industry. Targeted mainly towards twisters, it also has balloon decor offerings for attendees. I fondly call OzJam “Balloon School”.
Now to me, one of the fun aspects of OzJam is the balloon competitions. This is the chance for those who want to push themselves and be judged by our industry leaders against our peers.
This year, the categories included: Centerpiece, Column and Medium Sculpture. Each category has guidelines that much be adhered to, but still allow for your creativity and expression to shine. I had big ambitions to enter all three categories, however I realised early on that I couldn’t achieve it all. And so I focused my energy in creating the one piece that I could be proud of. To this end, my reward was to place 1st in the Medium Sculpture category.
Want a Closer Look…?
When Inspiration Strikes:
Inspiration found me in the form of friend’s daughter, Kenzie. (Kenzie along with her sister Charlie are brand reps on Instagram. To see my inspiration picture, please visit here.) I was drawn into her sweet yet strong style, and I knew that I could combine that with my love of crafting and sewing. To do this, I decided to make her a tutu and colour match it with my intended balloons. In addition, my chosen colours also matched perfectly with a little doll dress that I had previously made (via my other business, Hunny + Bee).
Sometimes in the evenings as I would lie beside my children waiting for them to fall asleep, my mind would wander to balloons. From here I would get ideas for what I wanted to create and techniques that I wanted to try. And as OzJam came nearer, this occurred with more frequency… Until within the stillness of the night, a small doll in a dress and the rose at the young girl’s feet were ideas that bloomed in the darkness. Cheers for that, kids!
The Techy Bits:
Now there have been many talented people before me who have used balloon distortion to create similar designs. It was their ideas that inspired me! In the early planning stages for my piece, I knew that I wanted to try these methods in a creation of my own.
If you are not familiar with the term: balloon distortion occurs when one distorts the natural shape of a balloon – commonly with other balloons inside of it – to create a new shape that is not achievable with just the regular inflation of latex. (I have dabbled with this in the past and know now moving forward it is something that I would really like to focus on for my clients.) With my balloon girl- her legs, face and hair bow feature balloon distortion as described above.
To provide colour harmony, I selected two of my favourite Qualatex colours – Pink and Wildberry – and used this to tie in with the fabric components. If you are curious, the other dominant and beautiful balloon colours in this piece are: chrome mauve, chrome gold and chrome silver inside Jewel Magenta.
I hope that you enjoyed reading a bit of the behind the scenes of creating my balloon sculpture. There certainly is more that I can talk about with the creation of this piece… But for the sake of not overdoing it, I will leave things here. If you do happen to have any questions, why not drop a comment below?