On the Side

IT specialist Sherry Paz makes balloon art


sherry
By Shanley Pierce | November 30, 2018

NAME: Sherry Paz
OCCUPATION: Information technology education learning specialist for Harris Health System
INTEREST: Balloon art

Balloons have long evoked the innocence of childhood and the joyful spirit of any age eager to celebrate a special occasion. But for Sherry Paz, balloons have become a way to express herself.

“The whole premise of a balloon is that it gives an atmosphere of festivity,” said Paz, an IT education learning specialist for Harris Health System who helps develop training materials and e-learning modules for medical health records. “You’ll see balloons at parties and entrances. It makes you want to come in when you see a place with balloons hanging around. Even a single balloon hanging by itself draws attention, but I just like the fact that I can take it to another level.”

As the eldest of five girls, Paz is often in charge of decorating her sisters’ birthday parties, baby showers, weddings and other festivities. Basic streamers had lost their charm so, after being inspired by fellow DIYers online last year, Paz decided to try
something new: balloon art.

“On Pinterest, you see so many things that you think, ‘All right, I can do this.’” Paz said. “As I did more research, I started to realize the versatility of balloons and the art form itself.”

Paz began creating decorations with small bundles of balloons, but as she learned more about how to incorporate different elements of art into her constructions—including line, shape, space, form and color—her designs evolved into more elaborate pieces involving intricate columns, arches and garlands. She folds, twists and wraps balloons to create a variety of eye-popping configurations, including animals and floral arrangements.

“The hardest part of learning any new skill is just refining it,” Paz said. “I want whatever I do to be above and beyond what anybody would expect.”

With the success of her creations and the requests she has received because of them, she decided to establish her own company, Balloon Ballyhoo, in November 2017. Since then, she has received numerous requests to decorate for parties and office events.

Paz is also working toward becoming a certified balloon artist, which requires an arduous four-hour practical exam that tests participants’ knowledge, ingenuity and ability to create unique art pieces. Last year, Paz treated her coworkers to a festive surprise during the holidays: She created life-size nutcracker and Santa Claus balloon sculptures for her team’s office.

In March 2018, she attended the World Balloon Convention in San Diego, California, to hone her craft and expand her repertoire. Although she specializes in balloon décor, Paz was inspired by the talent and imagination of other balloon artists in attendance and plans to combine her creations with fashion in the future.

“The thing that I’d really like to do to challenge myself is … make costumes out of balloons,” Paz said. “There are wearable pieces and dresses that I’ve seen that are absolutely gorgeous and look very couture. … They’re taking long balloons and weaving them into a dress.”

Whether Paz is creating colorful balloon arches, extravagant sculptures or whimsical animals, her ultimate goal is to make people smile.

“When I give a balloon or something I’ve created to somebody and they’re happy, that just makes it all worthwhile,” she said. “They feel the love that I put into it.”




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