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Jim Sheard’s bursting with pride – but, luckily, his art isn’t.
The Queenstown balloon artist’s just returned from a trip to Australia to hone his skills, and participate in one of the largest balloon art installations in recent years.
Sheard was one of 25 international balloon artists and dozens of volunteers to help make the enchanted forest, created for a friend’s wedding in Noosa.
“Originally I think [the bride] had the idea ‘let’s have a little balloon garden at the wedding’,” Sheard says.
“They were talking to other professionals for a while, looking at ideas, it grew just a little bit to take up somewhere around 1200 square metres.”
The forest, which included a nine metre-high balloon waterfall, balloon animals and trees, and about 110,000 balloons in total, was later opened to the public.
“I had a blast,” he says of the experience. "Every time I looked up, I’d see something new.”
It took two 14-hour days of work to finish the forest.
Sheard began creating balloon art about six years ago.
He can sometimes be found showing off his skills down at the lakefront, easy to spot in his brightly-coloured suit and top hat.
“I love the endless surprise,” he says of his creative capers.
“Being able to watch somebody’s mind break and then re-invent their impression of the world.”