This week, an Aiken couple will show that sculpting is not limited to wood. With air, imagination and hundreds of thousands of balloons, the couple will be making history in Rochester, N.Y.
Sandi and Tom Brandner, owners of Aiken Balloon Creations, accepted an offer to take part in building a five-story balloon sculpture inside the Sibley Building in Rochester. The sculpture will be a recreation of the fairtytale “Jack and the Beanstalk.” The first story will be a garden and the top story will be the castle.
Sandi Brandner said 77 balloon artists from around the world will be participating, making it even more special that a couple from Aiken was chosen.
“The actual building of the sculpture will be from Feb. 1 to Feb. 4,” Brandner explained. “We've been twisting balloons for over 30 years and have been in classes all over the country, so this is something we're very excited about.”
After construction, Brandner said, there will be an elevator inside the building that will take visitors from the first floor to the fifth floor to tour the sculpture.
After several days of enjoying the festivities, the Brandners will also take part in a popping party on Feb. 10 where participants will have fun popping all of the balloons from the sculpture.
Brandner said they will also learn more about making larger sculptures during their trip. The couple will be attending the Twist and Shout Balloon Convention, which is the largest balloon convention in the country.
“It's going to be absolutely fabulous and it's just such a unique opportunity,” she added.
According to Brandner, the project is being sponsored by Kickstarter – a New York-based company that specializes in funding creative projects. The sculpture is being designed by Larry Moss, the founder of Airigami – a company that also specializes in creative content with an emphasis on balloons.
After returning to Aiken, the Brandners will take what they've learned and apply it to an Introduction to Balloon Twisting class at Kennedy Middle School. In addition, they will also apply their skills to their business which includes services at various celebrations and events.
“Our work is extremely interesting to people who have never seen balloon creations outside of the usual dogs or other animals,” Brandner explained. “It's also important to note that the latex balloons we use are biodegradable and decay at the same rate as an oak leaf.”
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.