Author Topic: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb  (Read 8982 times)

suebowler

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2013, 08:20:06 AM »
Hi Danny

Thank you for your questions...

1) Which do you prefer foils, latex or bubbles (and why)?
Each of these balloons are very important to a me. I'll start with the Qualatex Deco Bubbles. This is a relatively new balloon in the scheme of things, and I believe that if I was still decorating today it would be essential to my business! Gone are the days of messy/tricky hi-floated double-bubbles (which if I am honest, I would avoid at all costs, I just seem to get them stuck together). Bubble balloons are very long lasting so they can be prepared early - days early in fact, which has to be a blessing during very busy periods! Add tulle or organza to your designs and it will float for days even weeks! They look crystal clear and sparkle, I love them!
Foil balloons for me are a source of inspiration, it is often the foil balloon that stimulates my designs or decor. To make anything look good you need to follow rules, 'the elements and principles of design'... colour, line, shape, unity & harmony to name a few! Using the design/ colours and shapes within a foil balloon can help start the thought process of how I want my decor to look and how I am going to make everything work together to create a 'oneness'. I'll give an example of how this works and to explain myself a little better :) Let's say I was creating wedding decor and my 'inspiration' is being taken from the Qualatex Just Married Ivory & Gold Microfoil. Firstly, I look at the balloon and see what's there: The colours are Gold, Ivory, White and a hint of Silver, the shape is a heart shape and it has two distinctive "Qualatex' themes within the design... 'Elegant Roses' and 'Love Doves'! So, now it's easy, I select some, not all of these elements and I use them to create my design, that way I always create a design is visually very pleasing and it looks right, however, if I stick in a bunch of balloon that does not feature any of these elements, it would look odd and stand out for that very reason! If you look at many of my designs. you will see this system... the Mother's Day design I created for the Spring Fair is a great example of this!
Finally, latex! I left this one until last, as this balloon is the one that add's the 'art' to balloon art! With so many shapes and colours to work with it's like having the biggest paint palette and all that is needed is the artists creativity to turn it into anything... an amazing balloon sculpture, a baby, bride... as I said, it's down to the artists creativity, and there are some truly amazing balloon artists out there!
2) With the latex balloons what is your favourite colour? And shape/size? to use.
Probably the 5", I use a lot of 5" balloons! They are perfect when making a centrepiece, small characters... even fantasy flowers! My favourite colour at the moment is Wildberry but I am loving the new Caribbean Blue, which I saw at the Spring fair!
3) How do you see the future of "stackers" and twisters, with regard to helium resources diminishing?
Helium supplies are a major concern, but I was somewhat heartened by a report instigated by the Balloon Council USA, which has been featured in the BAPIA New Spring 2013 and is available to download http://http://www.bapiaonline.com. The report suggests that the current helium shortage is the result of several 'perfect storm' events happening at once, it also suggests that supplies will improve this year and that the world is not running out of helium! I am no scientist, but it sounds like good news to me! That being said, I also believe that maybe this is a good time and opportunity to offer different decor ideas to our customers, using more air-filled designs! To be honest, most of the designs that I create these days are air-filled, with just a few helium filled balloons... but equally I appreciate that 11" balloons on a ribbon is many balloon decorators bread and butter! I think there are those business's who will survive whatever happens, because they are determined and willing to change, yes, it's going to take a while to re-educate the public that there are alternatives to a helium filled 11" but I think once they see what can be done they will be very happy. I spoke to a number of people regarding this at Spring Fair this year and one of the main comments that I heard was that so many venue's these days do not allow helium balloons anyway, so this is nothing new! I truly hope that all balloon business's 'weather the storm' and find good alternative ideas to offer! Qualatex have produced a great booklet called Air-Filled Advantage, it can be downloaded from their website http://www.Qualatex.com or picked up at a Qualatex Distributor.

suebowler

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2013, 10:12:27 AM »
9.What is the most asked for model? I have changed this to what is the most requested balloon design?
I have not ‘sold’ a balloon design for a very long time as I have either been working for Conwin or as a Freelance Instructor, but when I teach I am regularly asked to show how to make my tabletop Bride & Groom! I think that it is still probably one of the most popular designs that I have taught over the years, I see featured on people's websites all over the world!

10. What do you tend to do more of if stuck in the 'balloon production line' model?

11. Who is your market aimed at?
I mainly teach decorators, although I have noticed that more Twisters are learning how to decorate too, which I think is great! I really love teaching wedding decor but not the ‘usual’ wedding decor taught. In the Wedding Series courses, I have included many twisted elements into my designs and I have created a very elegant wedding portfolio for the delegates, which they take away with them after the class, it includes some great photographs as it’s good quality pictures that everyone needs. I also make sure that everyone can re-create all the designs to a high standard too! If you want to know more about this course you can visit http://http://www.thequalatexevent.com/section/6/1/uk_qualatex_balloon_training_weddings

12. What kind of work do you do mostly - parties? Corporate? Etc
Last year I was approached by a corporate client to create a ‘Balloon Cloud’, and as I mentioned earlier I have not ‘sold’ balloons for a long time, but it was an amazing challenge and I really enjoyed the whole process from conception to completion!
Here is a link to the Very Best Balloon Blog, where I wrote about the 'Balloon Cloud Installation'! http://http://theverybestballoonblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/balloon-cloud-installation-from.html

suebowler

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2013, 11:33:07 AM »
Happy Valentines Day everyone! I hope that you are having a busy day! This must be my "Ballooning" Anniversary as I started my balloon business 2 weeks before Valentines Day... so I am now entering my 23rd year of working with balloons... oh my!!

Here are some more answers to questions that you have asked :)


13. What is your favourite /ideal gig to do?
I enjoy teaching at conventions when you have a little bit of extra time to catch-up with friends. I loved the Millennium Jam and the informality and fun atmosphere, I hope it comes back one day!

14. What irritates you most?

People who cut and paste pictures from Facebook and claim them to be their own work rather than crediting the original artist :(
People who fall asleep whilst your teaching! Sounds terrible really, but at balloon convention people have the habit of not going to bed or getting very little sleep, so when they come to a class and the room gets all snuggly and warm they fall asleep! I think it worse the first time it happens but they usually apologise afterwards! - I suppose they could be bored!!
People who talk on their phones when your teaching... people who pull your work apart to work out how was made rather than ask you... this list could go on and on, but I should stop now :)

15. How do you book yourself?
People can contact me through my website http://www.suebowler.com - now that I have fixed the link! Thanks Graham for pointing that out to me!!

16. What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever made?
The biggest thing that I have designed and made is the ‘Tiffany Lamp’ sculpture I made at BACI 2012, It was a complete labour of love as sculptures have always been my nemesis, I have had a love hate relationship with them! It took many months of planning and there was a lot of maths involved to ensure that the scale and proportion was correct, which is certainly not my strong point, but on the whole, I was very happy with the outcome! However, the biggest project that I have been involved with is building a replica of the Titanic with Fiona & Rodney Fisher, but all I had to do was add approx. 7000 balloons to the frame, Fiona and Rodney did all the hard work designing the sculpture and making the frame! I consider Rodney Fisher to be one of the best 'framers' in the industry!

Graham Lee

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2013, 12:32:35 PM »

14. What irritates you most?

People who cut and paste pictures from Facebook and claim them to be their own work rather than crediting the original artist :(
People who fall asleep whilst your teaching! Sounds terrible really, but at balloon convention people have the habit of not going to bed or getting very little sleep, so when they come to a class and the room gets all snuggly and warm they fall asleep! I think it worse the first time it happens but they usually apologise afterwards! - I suppose they could be bored!!
People who talk on their phones when your teaching... people who pull your work apart to work out how was made rather than ask you... this list could go on and on, but I should stop now :)

Sue can you go on and on then  :)  :D
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suebowler

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2013, 02:16:09 PM »
What are you saying Mr Lee...   ;)

colin myles

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2013, 03:33:19 PM »
Hi Sue,
I am sure everyone is enjoying the interview, great answers you are giving.
My favourite designs of yours are the baby and the bride ( I have made a lot of money from both, yes I will buy you a drink next time we meet ). I also lov the heart design you made at the Spring Fair this year. Pehaps Graham can put some pictures on the forum ??
My question is, of all the designs you have made do you have a favourite ?
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Graham Lee

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2013, 04:44:57 PM »
Quote from: "colin myles"
( I have made a lot of money from both, yes I will buy you a drink next time we meet )
If he does can you get a picture  :)  :D
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lowemagic

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2013, 10:03:55 PM »
On your DVD, you use a large heart-shaped frame. I think these cost over £100. How do you charge for these? Do you add in the cost of the frame, or do you go back to the venue and collect it? Or, do you give your client a choice between the two?
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suebowler

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2013, 10:36:35 PM »
Hi Ian, I actually have a template for the heart on the DVD, it will cost you no more than 2 lengths of aluminium rod... so maybe £10-£15, I will happily send you a copy :) I personally would cost it into the design... for the base you can use the famous 'Not' lamp from Ikea, which will be another £5 ish. Let me know if you would like the template, it's very easy to make...  Sue x

suebowler

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2013, 05:51:48 PM »
Hi Colin... hmmm, a favourite design?? I think that my characters are my favourites. When I start making them there becomes a point when they 'come alive', and they make me smile... it's like seeing an old friend appear in front of my eye's... they never seem like balloons, especially once they are fully made with a face! I suppose that's why I still love balloons every day, never a chore always a pleasure and they always make me smile ;)

suebowler

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2013, 05:55:19 PM »
17. What has been your proudest achievement in our wonderful world of twisted latex?
I am not sure this is the right answer, but my proudest achievement was being awarded the ‘Golden Light’ award at the World Balloon Convention 2010, in honour of my dear friend the late Linda Bruce.

18. What advice would you give to someone starting out, or wanting to increase their business?
Learn your trade well and be the very best that you can. Attend courses and conventions and never think that you know everything, because believe me you won’t!

19. What road in latex do you see yourself taking in the future.
I love what I do today, I have a few roles! I am a Social Media Columnist for Qualatex, that means that I write ‘The Very Best Balloon Blog’, which I love writing and is very popular, plus I run the Qualatex  Group and the QBN Group on Facebook! I continue to teach in Europe and around the World, my next trip is a tour in Australia at the beginning of March and then to Puerto Rico... it’s a tough life but someone has to do it!! (Joke... it's much harder than people think... really!)

20. What is your personal goal when you set off to work? Is it money or to entertain etc? My goal is to inspire and share my knowledge to help budding balloon artists to build a better business and make their business more profitable. If I can give them a little bit of my endless enthusiasm for this crazy industry, that would be great too!

suebowler

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2013, 01:47:25 PM »
21. What are your balloon goals for the future?
To remain doing what I am doing now for as long as possible and to continue to grow my skills... one day I WILL make a balloon dress, or have the skills to make one!
I would also like to make at least one more DVD, my first one launched late last year and has been very well received, I am being asked when the next one will be available!

22. If you could start all over again, would you change anything?
No... there is nothing that I would change, every step has been a positive part of who I am and what I do today.

23. How would you like the future of balloon modelling to develop?

I see it develop every time I look at Facebook or attend a convention, a new amazing twist or technique, I am sure that there will always be something new created?

24. Who's the most famous person you have made a balloon creation for?
Up until last week I had never made anything for anyone famous, but last week at Spring Fair I was asked to make a ‘gift’ for Rachel Ellen, the designer of one of Qualatex’s new foil balloon ranges, she loved it!

25. How do you keep the enthusiasm going & what still excites you about our great world of latex?
I just love the balloon industry, sure there have been a few and I mean very few days when I could have walked away, but we all have those, but I would say 99% of the time I love what I do. It is very easy to stay enthusiastic when your passion is your work!

suebowler

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2013, 01:34:31 PM »
Today is my last day! It has been an interesting journey, thinking about my likes and dislikes, favourite memories etc! Here are the answers to the last few questions!


26. What inspires or is your thought process in coming up with a new design
Now that’s a great question, and one that I am often asked! Sometimes it is as simple as looking at the design on a balloon. The very first competition that I won, was by taking the image on a foil balloon and re-creating a 3-D version of it! Today, when I am creating a design I will still use the main focal point as my source of inspiration, that could relate to shape, colour, pattern or theme, once you know which way you want to go the rest falls into place really easily.

27. Who would you like to work with dead or alive?
I am not sure? I have had the honour of working with some of the best in our industry, sadly a few of them have since left us... I need to think about this a little longer :)


28. What makes you laugh?
Many things! There are many funny people in our industry... last year I spent 4 days working with Dom Cassidy & Keith Stirman and laughed so much during the week it hurt so much!
Our adorable puppy ‘Mylo’ makes me smile constantly and is always up to naughtiness!
Oh yes, and the emails I get occasionally where I am asked to design someone’s decor for them, cost it... oh and can you give me all the instructions on how to make it too!

Thank you and I hope you have enjoyed my interview :)

lowemagic

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2013, 03:30:32 PM »
Thanks Sue, I enjoyed it.
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Pam Pearce

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Re: Sue Bowler Interview 11/17th Feb
« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2013, 10:07:07 PM »
Thanks Sue, great answers.... Nice to read we are all as nervous as each other... We always think its just us....your designs are amazing and inspire me no end .....xxx
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