Incredible balloon tailor hopes giving up the day job won’t blow up in his face
A dad of one has ditched his corporate day job to take his extraordinary ballooning talent full time- swapping trousers and tie for anything inflatable.
After 18 years of entertaining with in his spare time, Glen LeValley, 54 from Edmonton, Canada, decided last year his wonderfully wacky hobby was worth quitting the office job for.
Glen’s wife, Margo has supported his journey in becoming a pioneer in the world of balloon twisting and costume design after years studying the craft.
Glen said: “I started when my daughter was two or three, about 18 years ago when I wanted to learn magic to impress her, then one thing led to another.
“I started off reading books and then balloon conventions, I still go to classrooms where I sit and practice- I sometimes even attend lectures.
“I went full time last summer because in my job I was not growing professionally and I wanted to grow as an artist.
Family man Glen felt as though it was time to see just how far he can stretch his remarkable skills financially.
Balloon entertaining may be Glen’s bread and butter but the real money for him comes in sales of sculptures to marketing campaigns and fancy dress costumes.
Like a tailor with balloons, Glen will design inflatable fancy dress costumes to fit customers of all sizes- the key to avoiding a big pop, he says is confidence.
Glen said: “I can design a costume for anyone. I think it’s the year of the costume people are becoming aware of it. I’m trying to get people interested in it.”
“Balloons can sense fear so you have to show them who’s boss and show them you’re not afraid.
“What you think is a great fit might be too small as the balloons can expand a little so it’s always best to go bigger.”
He does however create a lot of balloon sculptures, props and general decoration for commercial and private events.
Sticking to his routes- Glen still dabbles in balloon entertainment at parties and festivals where he will even give aspiring twisters a tutorial.
Having grown up with a party entertainer for a dad, Glen’s daughter, graphic designer, Majo, 22 is as qualified as anyone to give him ideas and feedback.
Glen said: “To have someone in the family who’s also artistic is fantastic, I think she has a very good critical eye so we actually work collectively.
“My wife is manager for a data group and I’d say she’s pretty much balloon resistant but she can help with tying them.
Glen thinks people do not appreciate the high level of fitness required of a professional balloon twister and costume creator.
He said: “It’s a fairly physical piece of work. The last tree made, I twisted over 1200 of leaves, then I lost count. Now that’s a lot of twisting!
“I have always been quite active as an adult although I learnt through ballooning that there were certain parts of me that were not as in shape as they should be.