Thursday, April 21, 2011

Central Park April 22. Free outdoor balloon twisting workshop.

We are going to meet for a free outdoor balloon twisting workshop in the Mall of Central park, NY. Hours 2 pm to 4 pm (only if the weather is OK). Have fun and happy twisting :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We are getting closer, the "longest" chapter

The entire book "Balloon-O-Therapy" provides answers for two questions: what and how. Many thousands of pictures and hours of videos should fill you with ideas and examples of what you can do with balloons and how to make it. However there is still one childish kind of question that starts with the word WHY. You will find some of my "why "thoughts in this chapter. Answering why question is the first and probably the last step that a curious growing mind may dare to in generally every aspect of our lives. Answering why question helps us to determine our motivation, sets priorities and makes it a lot easier to achieve desire results. Far from many people try to find answers for the why. Yet fewer of us ever applied why with regards for balloons. We often settle for a simple answer: I like balloons. I love to get a free balloon. I enjoy even more to give a free balloon. It feels good. Feeling good is enough reason to rather give or take for me. Why do we make all those balloon sculptures? Why do we like balloons? Why do we give them to people? Why do I get involved with balloons? Why...? Could it be course your answer is the right answer! Whether you do it for fun, for money, for someone, for free, for etc. it's always to make at least one person happy, even if the person is just you. We do everything with balloons always to make us happy! And you can make a lot of people happy with balloons. 
Every copy, every part of this book, every balloon twisting workshop, the whole idea of the FewDoIt project is to make people happy. Is it possible to make people happy with as little as one balloon? ... 
Is there one universal source of happiness for everyone? 
One old immigrant from Russia told me that there is only one thing that man really needs. It is to be in a good mood. You may be the wealthiest and the healthiest man in the world with a beautiful wife and smart children. However, your life would be miserable and worthless if you were in a bad mood. Your only good mood is the everlasting guardian of your personal well-being and your happiness. Keep yourself in a fine mood and the rest will come easily to you. Well, balloons are one sure way to bring many of us in a good mood. You give a balloon inflated not just with the air. You fill it with your soul and it comes from the depths of your heart. This simple act creates and attracts a pure positive energy and feelings back to your from people. Your smile returns many smiles from people around you. It may work just for few minutes, but it does the magic. It breaks the chain of boredom and makes everyone feel better. Whoa! You want to do it again and again. Have no doubts. It is the nature of the balloon twisting art. We make people happy! 
Balloons can be used to make a sculpture of virtually any object. The time is the main factor I take in a great consideration in making any balloon sculpture. The more balloons we use the more time it would take to make the sculpture. We have very limited time twisting balloons for a crowd of waiting people. The time frame often dictates what size sculptures we do. People perceive balloon twisters as a magician capable to make everything and anything. 
Can you make the elephant for my son and a ladybug for my little girl? A couple minutes later mommy walks away with two happy children holding such desired toys. The balloon dude used just one balloon to make each of the toys. The giant elephant of the same size as the little bug! And mommy wears some balloon flower as a bracelet. Three balloons make four victorious smiles. We can get the same results with much more balloons. However the value of time persists. It would not be an art if everything were so easy to make. Make people happy is a real challenge of skills for any balloon twister. And I mean more than balloon twisting skills. What we make is important not a less than how we make it. Soon or later the balloon sculpture will pop or deflate. The joke you say, the fun you make with balloons last much longer then any balloon. 
Well, this book is mostly about how to make balloon sculptures. So let's get closer to our subject, the balloon twisting. 
There is only one way to make it. MAKE IT SAFE. Your safety and the safety of other people is one of those routines you should never neglect. Make it a rule: no balloons in the mouth or close to the face and no kids playing with balloons without adult supervision (balloons are not for toddlers). Some people have a latex allergy. Some are just afraid of balloons. Play safe. Be polite. Ask people if they want the balloon. If someone does not like balloons, do not insist. Dispose popped balloons properly—to the garbage. 
Before you start to do any balloon sculptures you have to understand what you are going to make. You have to picture it in your mind. Then you make it perfect in your very special way. This book is designed to help you learn what and how to make using just one size balloons. Through all instructions I use only 260's. 
You are welcome to read this book the way you prefer. I advise you to look through the book from the beginning, whether you already have twisted balloons or have never done it before. I provide detailed explanations of the basic twists in the first sixteen instructions. So, it would be easer for you to understand the terminology I use through the book if you read from the beginning. The first sixteenth instructions (chapters) organized in a numerological order. The later chapters organized in alphabetical order. You will find some more tips and different ways to make the same things as you go through all instructions. 
Each chapter consists of: 
A photo of the balloon sculpture. 
A video clip. The first picture of any instructions has sign over it “CLICK HERE TO PLAY VIDEO ►”. Click the picture to play the video clip (in blog posts I provide links to video instructions in different formats). Please note: the photo instructions quite often are different from the video instructions to the same sculpture. I did it purposely. To twist your mind even more into balloon twisting! 
A list and a photo of materials I use to make the balloon sculpture. 
The scheme of the balloon sculpture. Please note: starting from the third edition of the e-book not all instructions have the scheme. The scheme is what the balloon sculpture looks like if you dissemble the sculpture after it was completely made. Please note: the scheme is done only for the purpose of this book and to help you to understand how this sculpture was done. On the scheme you may see all the bubbles with numbers on them in the order I twist bubbles. The capital letters with big arrows show where to make the twist or the connection. The small arrows indicate what points should be connected. Often I use a couple of sculptures to make one sculpture. For instance I make a head of an animal (the sculpture) and attach it to a body (the second sculpture). I give a description of each of those sculptures in a separate chapter. 
Photos and descriptions of how I twist and assemble the balloon or balloons to make the sculpture. For your convenience pictures are taken from over my shoulder. This way you see what I do as if you may see it by looking over my shoulder. The balloon is in front of me the same as it is in front of your. There is no mirror reflection. I assigned a number to each bubble in the order I twist the bubbles. I use those numbers for the purpose of this book only. You don’t have to write the numbers on the balloons. 
Below is a draft of how you may study this book. 
Open the chapter of the balloon sculpture you choose to make. 
Find and prepare all the materials you need to make the sculpture. You may find the list and photo of materials for the sculpture at the beginning of each chapter. 
Try to visualize the sculpture in your mind the way you want it to look like. Go in your mind through the process of making the sculpture from the beginning to the end. 
Watch the video clip. It’s located at the beginning of each chapter. 
Read the whole description. Think about how you are going to make the sculpture. 
Make the balloon sculpture. 
Use your (or anybody else’s) imagination. Every sculpture can be done in different ways. Try to change the color of balloons, the number and the size of bubbles. Try to use different combinations and proportions. 
Relax if you can’t make the sculpture. Try to make another sculpture or do something else. It happens quite often to me too. Try to make the sculpture at another time or in a different way. Please, don’t get nervous if balloons pop. Balloons always pop! No matter how good you are. There is only one remedy for it—twist another balloon. Keep practicing. Remember, practice makes perfect. 
Some of those sculptures are easier to make than others. The difficulty level of each sculpture is varying from person to person. I mean that the same sculpture could be hard to make for me and it may be easy for you and vice versa. I have used the least possible number of balloons to make each sculpture (at least it’s what I came up with). You may find better solutions with more or fewer balloons than I used. Good luck with it. It may take a lot of practice to make what you want. So, take it easy and do you best. I also believe that balloon twisting art is part of entertainment art. People remember and judge you, as an entertainer, by the way you entertain. Important is how you entertain by making sculptures, not what sculptures you make. Well, I can be wrong about it. You’ll see it for yourself. 
It’s hard to explain how much pressure you have to apply on a bubble to twist it or how soft the bubble is supposed to be for each particular twist, or what the exact size the bubbles should be. How do you teach a person to ride a bicycle? You may explain it in words and show the ways you ride the bicycle. It all makes sense only if the person gets on the bicycle and tries to ride it. Before he or she gets the skills and confidence to really ride the bike the person will most likely fall many times. That’s the way it goes. You will see the ways I twist balloons. And there are many more different ways. It does not mean that you have to do exactly the same as I do. You watch it and try to do it yourself. A good thing about learning the balloon twisting is that you won’t fall (you are not on a bicycle now). You may hardly hurt yourself at all. You will learn balloon twisting faster than you learned how to tie shoe laces. Everything you will learn only by your own experience. Experience is your reliable teacher. It will teach you the best way to twist, what colors to choose and how to make the fun. The size of bubbles I give in the book is close to original sizes but not necessarily exact. You may change them or change the proportions of the sculptures. Do whatever it takes to express yourself in the best way you may think of. Experiment with everything. Add more details to the sculpture to make it look more attractive. The balloon sculptures are not supposed to be an exact copy of the original object you reproduce. Make it look more like a cartoon copy. It’s not so hard to make a cartoon character as one may think. Just make the sculpture recognizable and funny. People will recognize it if you choose the right colors and shape. You may make the sculpture look funny by exaggerating some features of the object or character. 
Before you start to read the next chapter you have to get some essential tools and supplies. To make the balloon sculpture at any place and any time you need an air pump and balloons. Scissors and a permanent marker will be handy too. 
Let me tell you a few things about the air pump. 
There are some reasons why everyone must inflate balloons using only the air pump. Inflating balloons with your mouth is not safe. Balloons pop. If it happens when a balloon is close to your face or inside of your mouth, the parts of the balloon may get in to your throat or hurt your eyes or face. Keep the balloon away from your face and warn people to do it as well. People want to get balloons from you, not the germs from your mouth. Inflating balloons with the air pump is easier and faster than one may do it by mouth. Usually air pumps made of plastic and have some rubber parts inside. The plastic pin is fragile. It brakes if you bend it. Different air pumps are available on the market. I would recommend dual action hand air pump. It pumps air either you push or pull it. 
There are a few words about balloons. Balloons come in different sizes, colors and shapes.
I used only 260's modeling (pencil shaped) balloons to make all the sculptures described in this book.
The official name of this balloon is 260. Regardless of the company maker of the modeling balloons the name of the balloon is the same—260. The number 2 means the diameter and the number 60 means the length of the fully inflated balloon. Both sizes are approximate. The real size is differing greatly depending mostly on the temperature of the air and what the balloon is made of. The cooler the temperature of the air the less the balloon may stretch. Balloons made by different manufactories are different by their ability to stretch and keep their colors and shapes. It’s a good idea to try balloons that made by different manufactories to find out what balloons you are the most comfortable to work with. Big companies such as Qualatex don’t sell their products directly to the public. They have a list of distributors and retailers from whom you may buy their products. Keep balloons in the original packages. Store the packages in a dark, dry and cool (not freezing) place. What do all balloons do? They pop. Any time it happens you have to dispose balloons properly. Put them into a garbage receptacle. If a balloon bursts in long pieces I usually keep those pieces for later use to make small bubbles or even small sculptures. You may find more information about balloons and other supplies on official websites of the companies that make and sell balloons. 
This book covers a good number of sculptures and different balloon twisting techniques. Nevertheless you may and should look for more info, new ideas and etc. Twisting with other balloon twisters is the sure way to get new ideas. There are some useful links on our website our new website as well as entire web is at your disposal. 
That is enough talking for now. Let's do some balloon twisting and just … 
Have fun and happy twisting :)

So far you spent on this page.
for you

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The FewDoIt project

This book ("Balloon-O-Therapy") is developed for you under the FewDoIt project. I did not write about the project in the first three editions of this book. It was and still is hard for me to write about a project that is developing. However, over the past few years so many questions have been asked about what, how, and most importantly why we do it, so I feel obligated to write about at least some of the concepts and ideas we follow.

Lack of either time or/and money are the two main reasons why I personally would not help someone. My guess is that this is also true for many of us. We all are born with kind hearts, we do want to help; however... 
It is hard to find a spare hour in our schedule. Especially it is hard to find time for regular volunteering work. Volunteering to help is a commitment. I have volunteered with a few different organizations at various times. A good share of my time was wasted for filling out some "required" papers. We have solved this time issue at the FewDoIt project in a very simple way: we volunteer when we have the time. There is no need to spend my (and your) valuable time to register, to travel and etc. I can twist balloons and teach it in any public place at any convenient time for me and so can others.

The general idea of helping is to give money. People give to those who dare to ask for it. 
However ... 
There are many more people who don’t dare to ask for help, even those in desperate need of it. Maybe they are to proud, too shy, or just have no idea that they need and can get the help. And by the way, money is not the only thing we need; simple, shared smile is the most wanted among all our untold needs! FewDoIt for you. And yet, how much would $10 help a beggar? It helps to buy some food for a day or two. It does not solve the beggar’s problem. It takes about ten minutes to teach 3-5 people to make a couple of simple balloon sculptures. It cost less than a dollar to pay for the balloons. The simplicity of the math! One needs a very little money and some very basic balloon twisting skills, not magic skills, to earn $. It is that simple. 

And yet ... 
There are many people like me, who don't need a middle man to help us to help someone. Do we really need these charitable, non-for-profits (with a six digit salary for CEO and some other office expenses) organizations that helps to help? Few do it. 

How long have we been in business? 
Officially, we established the FewDoIt project as a family project in 2007 with the publication of the e-book "Balloon-O-Therapy" and the website: I had also worked as a balloon twister before we started the project. 

What do we do? 
We teach balloon twisting (free instructions). We give balloon sculptures to people at (free outdoor workshops). We do it all for free. We also encourage people, not just professional balloon twisters, to do it in the same-free fashion. 

How do we do it? 
We publish balloon twisting instructions in this book. We publish the same instructions in different media formats on many Internet sites. We teach balloon twisting and provide free balloons at free workshops in open public places. 

Do we have expenses? 
Yes. We are modest and very reasonable in our expenses. We don't have anyone on payroll. We don't have an office. We pay for our website hosting, balloons, office equipment and etc. 

Where do we get money to pay all expenses? 
We pay all expenses out of pocket and from profit we make selling balloon supplies and commercial copies of instructions. We appreciate donation though we never ask for money. We try to earn enough cash to make the project self sufficient. 

Is the FewDoIt project a non-for-profit organization? 
No. The project does not have the official status of non-for-profit. However the idea of the project is to help-that is to give. There are a number of technical and ethical reasons why FewDoIt does not register as a non-for-profit. I don't believe in pure non-for-profit. If there is no money, then there are other benefits. Otherwise it makes no sense. It's one point. Non-for-profit projects that are based mostly on donations are very vulnerable in their existence. It's the second point. The bureaucracy! It's done for good reasons. I can do the project alone. Though it would need at least three people to supervise my activity under existent rules for non-for-profit. One of the beauties of the project is the ability to run it by a single person. I need no help to help others. 
We do it. I do it for myself. It makes me happy. People like what we do. 
I love the world I live in and I accept our world as it is. We change it to better every day. And it is never enough. We have to do it now and again with the help of our children. They have more to our dreams than we do. 
I have many dreams. I wish for them all to come true. 
My most crazy dreams... If our mind was opened for other people to read or somehow understand on some telepathic level our thoughts or just if we were not able to lie at all; the word we live in would be so.... it would be very, very different! In the mean time I chose at least to keep my words as often as I can and to trust people, to a certain extent.
Have fun and happy twisting :)