Returning to school

 

Winslow Elementary bee mascot and flower by Airigami
the mascot of Winslow Elementary, the bee, was constructed for the first day of school.

 

Winslow Elementary bee
Such a friendly bee to great all of the new and returning students.

The summer is over. School is back in session. With that comes the school bookings and a complete change from the stuff we’ve done over the last couple of months. “School bookings,” for me, usually refers to How to Catch a Mouse, my school science show. This year, I’ll continue to perform those shows as I always have, but we’re also continuing to add new performers doing that same show in other parts of the country. With kids of my own, getting to schools in various regions is always a challenge. I’m excited about expanding the roster of performers able to present the show to new audiences.

I have some of those mousetrap performances on the horizon, but the first Airigami school appearance of the year was a sculpture installation at Winslow Elementary in the Rush-Henrietta school district, just a town over from where I live. Last year, Kelly and I were invited to do a welcome back sculpture of a rocket, to fit their “reach for the stars” theme. The response was so great, it was fun to hear from the parents that wanted to bring us back this year. There was already talk of making us a yearly tradition. I’ll certainly enjoy that if they’re able to make it happen. I’d love to do more installations like this in other schools. Of course, it’s even more fun when the installation is large enough that the entire school gets involved in the construction. Those of you that follow my blog may recall the project I was involved in at Blue Mountain Middle School last April. Six hundred kids, not me, built a model of Henry Hudson’s ship as a school spirit project. That was a school installation not to be forgotten.

balloon witch - Ken Stillman
Ken Stillman's witch sculpture, assembled during his class at the Airigami studio, uses his balloon bead technique.
Ongoing learning

As long as we’re talking about balloon sculptures in schools, I should mention classes we held in the Airigami studio last week. Ken Stillman, a friend and fellow artist, has been spending the summer traveling around the country giving advanced balloon decorating and twisting classes. Ken and I don’t get to talk often, so it was fun having the excuse to host him. His class was very well received.

The dozen people that were able to stay and hang out after the full day of instruction expressed a desire to have more guest teachers in the future. With a little bit of urging from the crowd, we decided we’ll do our best to satisfy the request. We’re going to try to have an out of town instructor teach once a quarter. We don’t know who it will be next. We need a little time to get ourselves organized and see who wants to come through town.

Of course, Kelly and I are also always happy to teach classes; everything from professional level classes for experienced artists to beginning classes for those that have never touched a balloon or even a pencil. Let us know what you’d like to see in the studio or at your own location.

Selling sculptures

We’re obviously in the business of selling our art, but we decided to try something a little different. We’ve had a shop on etsy.com for a while. We’ve been using it to sell our prints and small things you’d typically find on Etsy. Someone just suggested we list bigger things, so just for fun, we listed some ginormous installations. Of course, it’s no different from what we already offer as custom installations, but we thought it would be a hoot to list a $100,000 soccer player sculpture on the site.

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