It’s a spiritual practice
The process for making these large sculptures is arduous, back-breaking, and finger wrecking, but it is so so satisfying. Firstly I must say there is no way I could do this by myself. My own fingers have tied so many balloons over the years that after just a few hundred, my thumbs are screaming. To do this a team is needed. And not just any team. I generally have to find talented, hardworking artists who understand that the joy of creating outweighs the pain of the process.
For this build I was extremely lucky to have a fantastic crew.
My long trusted friend Leah Blair flew in from Alaska to help on this one as well as the following:
and a few others who dropped in here and there to lend a hand. Honored to have had them helping.
The work must take place on a clean and soft surface so the balloons don’t pop as I’m putting them together. For this we laid down a few dozen moving blankets and covered them with a thin polymer film and we work in our socks. Fun!
The process begins with machines inflating and bagging hundreds of balloons that I then twist and tie together into a matrix. From the matrix, the forms grow and grow. It is much like space frame architecture. In order to keep the forms growing in the right direction it is important that I remain fully present and stay locked in the experience. This way I am really in tune with what is happening and I can see many steps down the pike how the sculpture is going to shape up. Doing this is a bit like meditation. It takes strong mind control and focus. Some call it being in the “zone” In this state, much of the rest of the world and even time falls away and all there is is the very step I am on at any given moment throughout the entire build. Over the years my work has had a very profound effect on my mental emotional state and I think has been a driving catalyst in my conscious awareness practice. Also the fact that the work is temporary and we spend so much time and honor the process so fully is another way of being truly connected to the surrendered state.
This is the difference between routine and ritual.