"NiteLites" (above) is my answer to the question Sue Bowler raised about career favorites in her February 14, 2020 article in The Very Best Balloon Blog.
NiteLites stands out as my favorite among all my balloon creations for its simplicity, elegance, innovation, and significance in the history of balloon art.
I inserted things like straws and wires inside balloons to shape them from my very beginning play with balloons in 1982.
In 1985 I coined the name "Fantasy Flowers" for some of the floral designs when I wrote about them as part of a series of short promotional "stories". The story/greetings were printed on folded business cards delivered with the creations.
I taught these techniques at some balloon conventions and soon saw others following with the same inside out approach.
I refer to the approach as "RIBS" ("Rouse Internal Balloon Structures") to give myself credit for the innovation, but also because balloon RIBS act a lot like animal and human ribs to provide structure associated with our air chambers (lungs).
Over the years and over the world there has been an explosion of "RIBS" in balloon "Fantasy Flowers". That is to say, the vast majority of those displays are designed as representations of flowers.
NiteLites, takes balloon sculpture in a more abstract direction rarely seen in our industry. The forms are simple, elegant. They congeal naturally from the stresses of latex and the internal tubes the way smoke swirls naturally around the flow of air. NiteLites points to an abstract aesthetic for balloons full of potential, but generally ignored at this scale.
NiteLites is the first balloon "LiteSculpture". The three elements of the sculpture may be seen as objects of light rather than as objects of latex; much as you might see light sabers in a Star Wars movie. The closest thing I have seen are custom made neon lights. LiteSculptures offer a more economical and more easily customized alternative within our medium.
for balloon artabstract use and display of RBS. introduced a second, more sophisticated kind of internal structuring that I invented and patented.
It allows the user to insert and remove things like the chemical lights in this sculpture while the balloons are inflated. It allows the user to add or remove air, at will, without having to tie or untie knots. It is quite powerful and impressive, yet is seldom exploited by balloon artists today.
[Read more at GRIDZ.link/NiteLites]
These are two of the earliest "RIBS", balloon "Fantasy Flowers" from about 1983. Notice that the internal structure is in the stem rather than in the petals. If a petal deflates, other petals can fill in. If the stem goes down, the whole flower falls, so I gave priority to the stem. Plus, I like the elegant flow of the stem as it curves to become the stand for the arrangement.