And Now For Something Completely Different – Balloon Scrapping!!

For the last three years I have been saving the balloon scraps from my deflated and popped sculptures. When I started saving balloon pieces, I really had no idea what I was going to do with them, just that I was sure they could eventually be used for something. I kept a giant barrel in the living room of my small college apartment that I kept the balloon scraps in and eventually word got out what I was collecting. Friends and neighbors would drop by to give me fragments from balloons they had found! It was February of last year that I thought it would be fun to try and create a picture of a favorite church of mine on campus out of the balloon scraps I was saving. I spent a month on the picture and this birthed the art I like to call "Balloon Scrapping."

The artwork has been an ongoing process with many changes made along the way. When I first started I found some balloons would shrink after they'd been cut and glued to the picture causing that section to pull away. To solve this problem I place all the balloons I am going to use in a metal pan over a heater. The heat seems to shrink the balloons to a size they can maintain once pieced into a picture. I use a combination of super glue, rubber cement and hot glue to create the pictures.

Balloon scrap pictures have taken me anywhere from a few days to a month to piece together. I have created 12 pictures thus far; having sold nine of them over the last year. Flower pictures tend to be the most popular. Balloons are universally associated with celebration and, as a result, tend to come in bright colors. Because of this I use bright and cheerful colors in the pictures and try to make sure my artwork captures that same celebration and joy.

Recently I led a workshop on balloon scrapping with over a dozen art enthusiasts attending, and I've received dozens of e-mails inquiring about the art. Currently I have a picture on display at a Tacoma, WA hospital and at their request I'm donating several of my pictures to be placed on display at a local children's museum. My balloon scrapping artwork has also been featured in several local television news programs.

 As for me, I am a 22 year old public relations major at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. I run a business called Balloon Bonanza through which I create large-scale balloon sculptures and decorations, as well as perform kid's magic and balloon shows. My goal is to break the world record for the largest non-round balloon sculpture with a sculpture of Jack and the Bean Stalk in Seattle that will utilize over 65,000 balloons.

Ryan Oelrich
Balloon Bonanza
Spokane, WA

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Website by