Day 2 – Chapter 6 – Using the Fold Twist

The next chapter in the book teaches the fold twist. If I am assessing the progressive nature of learning balloon twisting, this can be a step forward, and a step back at the same time. On one hand, it’s quicker than twisting 3 or 4 bubbles and locking. It’s a very fast move. But in many cases, it leaves less articulation of detail, so it isn’t necessarily a better choice. Of course, in some cases it is definitely better, for example the elephant. It’s all a matter of the balloonist using the best option. The exercise here includes a couple figures from chapter one, to show the various ways you can achieve the same thing.

I’ve been doing multi-balloon sculptures mostly, so going back to single balloons is still presenting challenges, mostly in handling. It’s an interesting discovery, since one would assume that multi-balloon pieces are inherently harder. But I’m finding that getting a one-balloon piece perfect is sometimes more difficult. You need to use the whole balloon, space it just right and get the air exact. With a bigger piece, you usually take off the excess so that whether you have an inch left or four on one particular balloon, it doesn’t matter.

Perhaps the goal later should be to return to perfecting a one balloon dog. Excellence in simplicity is its own reward. I have a good friend that studied the Japanese tea ceremony. To an outsider, it looks very simple. To one who studies it in depth, perfection in a simple thing is worth practicing and studying for years.

Zen and the art of the balloon dog. Hmmmmmmm…. there’s a book in there somewhere.

OK enough waxing philosophical.

Here are the first four figures in the chapter, all variants from chapter one. with the simple fold twists, the difference between them becomes even simpler: body for daschund, neck for giraffe, tail for cat.

Basic Fold Twist Figures

The next two took two attempts each, the first ones popped.

The elephant ran out of room and popped when the tiny tail was attempted. The alligator popped when putting too much pressure on the first set of legs. I softened the next attempt.

Elephant and Alligator

The basic sword and flower both utilize a triple fold twist. Interesting how a symbol of beauty and a symbol of violence can be so similar in structure. (OK I don’t really want to get too philosophical on that one. Too controversial. This is balloons!) Returning to the theme of back to basics, I had learned the very difficult 6 petal twist from Don Caldwell’s youtube video before I did a simple fold twist flower. This was the first I made one like this. It’s nice in its simplicity.

Sword and Flower

The birds come in chapter 8, but we have the bees here. First is the one balloon bee, nice and simple, using the uninflated tail as a shaped contrast. Then the second one utilizes a bee body, with one full 260 for the wings. The bee body is the first multi balloon sculpture in the book. It seems to me that at one time the bee body was a lot more popular. There were not  a lot of variant shapes in the early days. They are still made, but I don’t encounter them much in the newer balloon materials I see. Undipped 321s are more in vogue now.   I am assuming this is the source of the dinosaur teeth in the 2010 Twist and Shout award winner shown on page one of this blog.


So after only 2 basic twists, a lot of variations are already possible. You may notice that I haven’t added any artwork to any balloons yet. For the purposes of this blog, I won’t be doing any drawing. First, my drawing isn’t that great. but more importantly, I think a sculpture needs to be recognizable on its own as a balloon. Added work is a nice enhancement, but what it is supposed to be should be evident from the latex alone first, then give the kicker with the drawn on bits.

Next chapter: drumroll please……… the pinch twist! Then we’ll be cooking with fire!



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