March 30

Why Everyone Loves Twisted Balloons

ae8OK, come on, just admit it. Everyone loves balloons. Kids love them. Adults love them. You love them too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article, right? Some people love balloons openly and passionately while others love them deep down, but bring a balloon artist into the picture, hand adults some balloon sculptures, and all of a sudden you have adults talking to their neighbor with their balloon character just like they did when they were eight years old. These little bubbles of joy have a tendency to bring out the kid in you.

It makes sense really. Think back on the parties and events you went to when you were a kid. What do you remember? If you’re like me it’s usually not much. What sticks with us are the things that made that time different, special, or more emotional than the rest of life’s experiences. Balloons were unique, fun, and something you didn’t experience day in and day out. When you did encounter them they were items of wonder and amazement, and they were a blast to play with. Even something as simple as a helium balloon was a prize to be treasured.

A balloon artist does more than just twist fun balloon creations. A balloon artist makes new positive memories that stick and brings back positive emotional associations from the past. That’s why balloon twisting at an event is so special. It’s a memory maker.

Twisted balloons come from fun people! At least they should. It takes a certain type of personality to want to twist balloon art for a living. These people are usually very creative, have a good sense of humor, and make the balloon twisting experience a memorable show in and of itself. They interact very well with both kids and adults and leave a lasting positive impression.

Twisted balloons are special. Kids will take their balloon art home with them and play with it until it either pops from wear or becomes deflated later from sheer age or loss of air. I have had an adult take a large flower sculpture home and keep it in a special place in her house for a month. Yes, it stayed inflated that long. I guarantee she will never forget that balloon.

People put a lot of planning, time, effort, and sometimes money into creating their special event. It is fun at the time but eventually as time goes by details fade and memories blur. People probably won’t remember the cake and they may not remember what games they played, but they will remember the balloons.

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March 21

Difference Between Mold Making and Casting

ae7Molds and casts have emerged as popular and accepted art forms for reproducing a sculpture, artwork or almost anything else. Indeed, using the basic techniques of mold making and casting, it is possible to recreate just about anything in its entirety. A variety of products and materials can be used based on the requirements and it is even possible to replicate the live human body. You can easily create a spitting image of a person’s face, hands or any other part you wish!

However, a layperson often gets confused between the two terms of mold making and casting. The following explanation will shed clarity on the methods and help you to understand them:

Mold making: A mold is nothing but a negative or reverse impression of an object or sculpture. It accurately captures the surface detail of the object right down to every fold and undercut.

Molds can be made with different materials such as clay, wax, plaster, moulage, polyurethane rubber, silicone rubber, thermoset mold rubber, liquid latex rubber and more. Plaster bandages yield rough form molds and are generally used to make supportive shell molds. Body molds are usually made with alginate as it is skin safe.

Similarly, there are various techniques of making a mold – ranging from simple to complex – depending on the type of object, mold making material being used as well as the proficiency of the artist. The techniques are divided into two basic categories – block mold and blanket mold. The material is usually poured or brushed on the object to form the mold. Injection and slush are other methods of making a mold.

Making a single part mold will suffice for simple shaped objects with a flat side, while objects with more complex shapes and undercuts require two part or even multi part molds. While most molds can be used multiple times, some such as alginate molds are single-use molds.

Casting: This is the subsequent step after the mold is ready. This is the actual method of reproducing identical copies of an object or sculpture. However, it requires a negative impression in the form of a mold to work on.

The casting material is usually poured into or onto the mold to form the final cast reproduction of the object. Depending on the type of mold, it is often possible to make multiple cast reproductions from the same mold.

Casting is open to a wide variety of materials such as plaster, gypsum, epoxy resin, polyester resin, polyurethane resin, liquid latex rubber, urethane rubber, silicone rubber, molten metals and more. Alternatively, cold casting powders can be mixed with resin to duplicate the look and feel of real metal.

At times, the same type of material can be used for both mold making and casting – such as liquid latex or silicone rubber. However, it is important to note that the liquid latex or silicone rubber will be formulated differently to suit each application!

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March 12

The Psychology of Haunted Attractions

ae6Creating a haunted attraction isn’t just about profits. For a lot of haunt owners, a haunted attraction is a work of art. It’s an opportunity for self-expression. Many haunted attractions are immersive works of art with a spectrum of experiences for the senses. But there are psychological principals that haunt owners can incorporate into their works of art to make them even better for patrons. Because when it comes to haunted attractions, the details often go unnoticed.

When people get really scared, parts of the brain shut down. In a crisis situation, like when a person is attacked on the street for example, the victim may actually lose their eyesight temporarily, or they may go deaf very briefly. In an emergency, the brain will shut down sense information that isn’t useful. So, in a dim environment, a person may experience tunnel vision, or lessened vision due to trauma or fear. In a situation that doesn’t offer any auditory cues regarding a threat, like a really loud environment, a victim may simply “go deaf” and have no memory of auditory data during a fearful event. A person can practice martial arts or hand-to-hand combat to train themselves to react differently in these situations, but for ordinary people including those who are walking through haunted attractions, it’s unlikely that they’ll notice all the details put into haunted sets.

That doesn’t mean that haunt owners shouldn’t spend time creating cool environments. Flooding patrons with a lot of stimulation that targets all of the senses at once can have a decidedly hypnotic effect on people. This being the case, nudging patrons into an altered state of consciousness gives them a better bang for their buck, since their imaginations will do a lot of the work for haunt owners.

But if you’re going to play off the altered states of mind that your patrons are experiencing, be sure the you use sound effects in your haunt. Visual effects are important, but sound stimulates the brain in ways that our visual sense just can’t compete with. Sound effects encourage patrons to fill-in-the-blanks and make up storylines for the haunted attraction. To spend hours and hours on visuals only to leave out the all-important sound effects is truly a tragedy.

As you work to put together a spectacular haunted attraction, remember to use psychological principals to make the event even better for your patrons. Though you may view your work as an art project, the patron experience is more than likely an important facet of the overall experience for you. So as you build, take human consciousness into consideration.

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March 3

Hypnosis and Haunted Attractions

ae5Most people spend a fair amount of their lives in a trance state without ever realizing it. Being hypnotized is a common experience and in fact, a pleasurable one for most people. It’s a state of consciousness in which the brain is oscillating between 7-10 Hertz. Haunt owners can create more intense experiences by recognizing the fact that their patrons may be somewhat suggestible inside their haunted attraction. Many patrons naturally go into a trance first thing as they enter the haunt without ever realizing it.

There are ways to encourage people to go into trance without having to actively hypnotize them. For haunted attraction owners, encouraging trance can be as simple as overwhelming patrons with a lot of sensory stimuli. Patrons should see, hear, smell, and touch things that are unfamiliar to them all at once. This is an experience that’s easy to create in a haunted attraction, which is why most haunt owners can assume that a fairly high percentage of their patrons walk through their haunts in state of trance.

So, as a haunt owner, how can you use your patron’s suggestible state of mind to your advantage to create a more immersive experience? Sound effects are a good start. Sound effects are, by themselves, suggestions. Patrons hear a wolf howling and they automatically imagine a wolf, even though there’s no wolf there. The sound effects are therefore a “suggestion” of what you want patrons to believe is there. Many haunt owners fail to realize the power of sound, particularly in dimly lit environments. With sound, a haunt owner can alter and enhance the way patrons experience their haunted house.

A patron who’s in a trance will believe in certain experiences that are only “suggested” more than a patron who’s not in a trance. For example, if you create a section of your haunt in which patrons move left down a corridor, then right down a corridor, left, then right, left then… what will patrons do? In their suggestible state, they’ll naturally turn right once you’ve entrained them on this pattern. Congratulations on making your patrons feel disoriented! Disorientation is a great haunted house emotion. Once they’re disoriented, you’ll have a much easier time scaring them.

Though you probably enjoy building sets for your haunted attraction, it’s important for haunt owners to take their patron’s psychological make-up into consideration as they design their haunt. Most haunted house patrons are in a trance and this is a state of mind that can work to enhance the experience of fear and fun if used properly.

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