Working with Mike on the Picture Frame and Column Competitions
By Samuel Stamp-Dod
The day after we had completed our Sculpture entry for the World Balloon Convention (WBC) Mike Hurst of Reds, a balloon shop in Brackley, and I entered the Picture Frame competition together, the second of four entries that I would be making in San Diego.
For the Picture Frame we had just four hours to complete our task and, as before, not a bag of balloons could be opened or any framework prepared before the time limit started. Unlike the previous build which took place in the competition room away from prying eyes, this one was to take place in the corridor of the hotel with guests and delegates of WBC to watch us.
Our design was not to focus on the frame but to give the guests something to stand with/in/behind for their photos with the frame there simply to frame the photo. I based the design on the big build that I had completed at Ipswich’s Waterfront Gallery the summer before building a couple of tree for people to pop out from.
This design felt much easier to complete as Mike had joined me on the Ipswich build and so we were both confident in what we were achieving. Once again, we completed the task on time but unfortunately, we were not placed with this design, however we both walked away very proud of what we had achieved.
The following morning saw me entering two more competitions; a column and a centrepiece. The first was once again created with Mike with the last being a solo entry.
Mike took the helm on the Column design and based it on the Russia 2018 logo, a red and gold trophy. The idea was to use the logo to inspire the design, rather than to recreate it in balloons. Once again, we worked in the corridor of the hotel with guests and delegates watching us a we built.
The main structure of the column was to use classic décor techniques and, for a competition, we knew that to gain any recognition, sizing and position would be paramount. We used the latest chrome gold balloons to ass a spiral round the column with the gold chrome modelling balloons to add detail. The top of the design proved more difficult as we planned to partly cover a blue 3’ balloon with red baby balloons, however we hadn’t ordered as many as we needed! Fortunately, we recognised this early in the build, so resized the balloons and made the best of what we had.
Despite both Mike and I feeling that we could have done better, the design was awarded Bronze, gaining us our second trophy of the event.
As Mike finished off the column, I rushed into the competition room to create my final entry, a table centrepiece. By this time my fingers were aching, I was completely jet lagged and running on empty!
Before starting the competitions, I felt that this was going to be the easiest entry for me, as I would be recreating something that I had done many times beforehand, a classic bouquet rising from a base that has a couple of twisted balloon models in. This confidence was soon lost when I popped my first balloons, leaving just one spare. I started once more, inflating the balloons with helium, ready to personalise them only to find that the only spare balloon I had with me had a slow leek.
This cause my spirits to fall and negativity to set in. I had no way of replacing the balloon and time was running away with me. I moved on to the twisted element of the design and made my mermaid and starfish. My fingers were now in absolute agony and the models were some of worst I had ever made! Somehow, I managed to finish the design and take a picture before the whole thing collapsed.
Not surprisingly, I wasn’t awarded anything for this entry! I was pleased that I had entered and next time (yes I WILL be going back!) I will limit myself to just two or three competitions.
In the next blog I will speak about the many amazing people that I met during my time in San Diego