Balloon school

balloon duck hat

This is what I made at balloon school today.

A care and share day in the world of balloons is an event whereby balloon artists gather together to share ideas and to learn new techniques. Today I attended my first such event.
I have never previously met any balloon twisters and spent many hours perusing my newfound hobby so was quite interested to meet fellow artists for the first time. What would they be like? Would they be wacky zany characters in colourful clothes? Would they be super advanced twisters who would make me look like something off The Generation Game? What small talk do you make with another balloon twister?

Our teacher for the day was Graham Lee who is regarded as one of the U.K.’s most renowned balloon twisters. A creator of many instructional DVDs and pals with the worlds most famous balloon twisters, I was keen to meet Graham to be both inspired by and learn from. He organises fantastic lectures from teachers from all over the world who come to the uk to share their craft wisdom. Many of these I shall be attending in the future.

I met a great bunch of people here. From seasoned professionals to parents looking to learn something new to do with their children. Everyone I met was very friendly and helpful. It seems that the balloon community is quite close knit and welcoming to newbies like myself. I was able to see some of the kit that twisters use such as custom-made bags to hold the wide range of balloons available and advanced pumps. The pumps were great. 3 foot high rocket looking beasts that enable you to pump the balloon all the way in one pump. This may sound unneccesary & extravagant however when you are making lots of balloons at a party your arm really does ache after a while. This pump eliminates this problem. I had to buy one and luckily for me Graham had one to sell me on the day. A new toy!

Being in the advanced beginner phase I took a lot from today and learned lots of little tips and tricks to make things easier and quicker when I am twisting. I certainly feel I’m ready to take my balloon twisting to the next level. I really enjoy making new sculptures and I find twisting is something you get better at the longer you do it. I’m exited about one day being able to say that I am great at my craft. Though I won’t say that out loud! How boastful that would be. Back to practicing the duck hat I learned to make today.

I’m occasionally asked by parents what games I do in my parties and it’s always a bit of a mouth full to explain so I have wrote this for greater clarity. To begin with, none of my games are elimination based which means no one is ever ‘out’. This ensures all the children are engaged throughout and are not going to become bored which is very important to me. On to the games!

Character statues
I tell the children to dance and when the music stops to freeze and impersonate a well known character (superheroes, Disney princesses etc). I’ll pick the most creative one each time ensuring that everyone wins. If there are a lot of children, I’ll pick multiple winners each time so by the end they have all won.
Why it’s good
– The children enjoy being on their feet, if they don’t want to pretend to be a character they will usually just  freeze normally so they still feel involved. It’s  easy to understand and we can play it instantly. The children are never bored in this game and are always riveted throughout. It’s been so good over the years.