Shrunken skulls (and other deflated creations)
I don't know how many times I've heard that balloon art doesn't last. I guess it depends on what you mean by "lasting." At the 2006 Balloon Manor, Don Caldwell created an incredibly memorable genie. Despite all of the other artwork there, including many things that were far more intricate, the genie became a big hit that was talked about all over. When looking for an iconic creature from the Manor to decorate my truck with, we chose the genie, knowing that it was a striking piece that people would recognize. When I was invited to be on the Martha Stewart Show the following year, the producers specifically requested that the genie make an encore appearance on the show. Don agreed to make another that I carried down to NYC for the appearance.
Here it is four years later. I was moving things from one storage location to another and stumbled across a small box labeled with only the single word, "genie." I had no idea what I'd find in there. I was pretty sure I didn't have any garage door openers in storage. Much to my surprise, I discovered a four year old, almost completely deflated, balloon sculpture of a genie. Interestingly, it still holds its shape. All of the original twists still appear to be in there. It just takes up less space than it had previously. Now it was just a matter of figuring out why I had it. I save pictures, I encourage people to mentally record their favorite things. But it's not often that I have a reason to save a particular sculpture.
The mystery was solved only moments ago when I read a note from Todd Neufeld. He, as one of the key crew members during each of the four Manor builds, was responsible for boxing it up and placing it in storage. He hoped it would be uncovered by someone else one day in the future. I bet he never imagined it would turn up during the Halloween season.