Ipswich man on cloud nine after winning big at balloon competition
A balloon artist from Ipswich went out with a bang at a competition in America last month when he swiped two international awards for his sculpting skills.
Samuel Stamp-Dod, who runs VIP Balloons in Ipswich, was thrilled to win big at The World Balloon Convention in San Diego, also known as the “Olympic games of the balloon world”.
The convention, which was first held in 2016, returned from March 14-17, 2018 – attracting nearly 900 delegates representing 52 countries.
Mr Stamp-Dod entered four competitions while he was there and took home two bronze awards: one for his balloon sculpture based on the popular children’s film Finding Nemo, and another for a column design inspired by the Russian World Cup logo.
The convention hosted 55 classes teaching various forms of balloon art, as well as nine competitions with a total 157 entries.
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It also served as an opportunity for 25 balloon fans to get officially qualified in the art, as organisers held a CBA (Certified Balloon Artist) Exam.
As an added bonus, 100 children from the Greater San Diego Boys and Girls Club were invited for an hour of balloon entertainment and a personalised tour through the sculpture gallery.
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Mr Stamp-Dod said he was convinced by friends at home to travel over 5,000 miles across the Atlantic to the convention on America’s south-west coast.
“These events happen every two years, and after speaking with colleagues from across the UK who went last time, I decided to go and compete,” he said.
“For the [World Cup] sculpture I formed a team of five people, all from the UK, and we had twelve hours to complete the design.
“It was touch and go as to whether we would finish on time, but we did it.”
He added: “The event was amazing – just seeing how different countries tackle their designs.
“The Japanese used lots of intricate bubbles within their designs, whereas the Americans chose to impress with huge balloons.
“I learnt so much in the two weeks there, I can’t wait to use some of these new skills with my clients back here in Suffolk.”
Mr Stamp-Dod has written a detailed blog about his activities abroad on his website.