You know what makers do when they have a major life shift? That’s right: they keep on making.
The same day I turned in my BlackBerry badge last week, kwartzlab artist in residence Drew Ripley was running a group build to make a giant balloon submarine. When I say that out loud it still makes me smile. I joined in, armed with my camera and my own best makerly daughter Arden to learn about balloon art construction and hang out with really cool people. Check out Drew’s writeup on the kwartzlab blog.
Click through for an unreasonable number of pics…
Happily, it turned out that we didn’t need lung power for the hundreds of balloons involved. These three floor pumps saw a lot of use and are very quick.
I saw Drew speak earlier this year at Ignite Waterloo at the Kitchener Market, and his work was impressive. Having been to his workshop, I’m now doubly impressed with his organization and teaching. He had these sample characters on hand to illustrate techniques.
And I learned Drew had trained-the-trainers prior to the event. He invited a handful of people over to his house to enable them as team leaders. High five for awesome prep.
All balloons are not created equal. If you want them to last a few days, then you need The Very Best ™.
Eager students waiting.
Always a cool mashup at kwartzlab.
Hey! This is Drew.
More to organization: Drew shows detailed plans for the sub project. Overall plan. Component plans. You need this many balloons of this colour blown up this long. Wicked!
Starting with the basics: technique. To make a fish.
Now we watch kwartzlab’s Davenport volunteer to twist.
Drew’s wife and co-conspirator Linda looks on.
It’s so easy you can do it behind your back.
Mr. Jim Tigwell getting the video.
More material. Corralled. Even though Drew and crew swept up thoroughly before the event, many balloons were harmed in the making of this project as they found sharp snaggy things on the floor.
More organization: Drew had laid painter’s tape along table edges with the relevant lengths marked off. 18” balloon? No problem.
More organization: there were lots of pumps available, this one electric. You know how sometimes at workshops the relevant tools are in short supply? This wasn’t that.
Main body construction techniques…
explained. Component-level plan.
Balloons photograph so well. Shiny and colourful.
Very interesting technique: you take the sausage links of the fatter balloons, fold it in half, and then weave the skinny balloons between layers of the sausage links to knit them together like rebar in a block wall.
Neil and Jim turn theory into balloon reality.
While the sub was being constructed on the main floor, upstairs the creatures and plant life were being handled by a separate team.
My new phone background.
Linda was running this crew. There’s my daughter Arden at far right.
There were many funny faces made while twisting and tying balloons, but Arden had a Zen-like calm.
Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.
Emma and Megan making building supplies.
Jugglers in the house. kwartzlab.
Steph and Cedric making progress.
Normal Bastow. kwartzlab President.
Kayleigh who does the most amazing face painting, was a team lead.
“Hear my words, Drew!”
Irrepressible Cedric, demonstrating frame within a frame.
Juggler Tim and Bastow.
If you have not yet been, I have three words for you: Tuesday Open Night.
Neil was framed.
Drew is a guy you have almost certainly seen at public events at some point or another.
Blue == uncertainty.
Then the flora/fauna balloons started merging with the submarine balloons.
Game face. Jeremy.
Jim works on the window.
Steph! Madam Treasurer.
Hey, is this going to fit?
Smile for the time lapse.
Agnes makes me take these photos.
“Arden, my fish isn’t working out.”
“Like this, Dad.”
Davenport’s LED-infused creation.
I love it when a plan comes together.
“I make your eyes!”
stringing the beasts together.
These guys went home with us.
Sub looking sub-like and…
queue the sea life.
Then we headed for home. Great energy and a great night. Thanks a lot, Drew, for a great workshop. And well done kwartzlab for continuing your monthly artist in residence program. Showing the way.