To me, summer is all about nostalgia: Walking barefoot in dewy grass, sticky popsicles melting down your arm, catching fireflies after dinner. Nothing beats these simple pleasures that come with summer. But they get harder to hold onto as we get older. So for my Maker Studio project I wanted to create something that was unpretentious and brought back that same childhood thrill.
Being from the Midwest, carnivals and fairs were commonplace on my summertime agenda. There were, of course, the rickety rides where half the fun was wondering if they’d break while you were on them, deep fried everything; and – what my parents could never justify buying for us – balloon animals. While making funnel cakes in our studio would have been delicious, albeit dangerous and cumbersome, the idea of making balloon animals seemed simple, fun and, thanks to Jeff Koons, strangely New York.
I figured I’d buy some balloons and the pump, practice an animal or two the night before and easily be ready to show the studio how it was done. I quickly learned there’s a special skill to perfecting balloon animals and a six-step process to follow:
1. Stretch out the rubber before you begin.
2. You can’t blow, you have to pump.
3. Don’t fill it up all the way – it’ll get too big to work with and could burst. Leave a little extra at the tip.
4. Be gentle when you hold it, but be sure to twist it tight.
5. Some maneuvers might feel like more than you can handle, so take it slow.
6. It might not be perfect, but hey, you did it by yourself!
How many “That’s what she said” jokes did you just think up in your head? See, you’re already acting like a kid again! With all the adult anxiety we have to deal with in today’s world, sometimes it’s important to take a moment and allow yourself that silly childhood giddiness.
This summer at ThoughtMatter, we’re ending every week with a “Maker Studio Friday” activity. During each session, a different studio member leads us through a hands-on activity that results in each of us having made something with our hands and minds. The activities help us keep our minds open, and pushes us to create better and more innovative work for our clients.