Balloon-A-Kazoo!

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey
Clare Fischer holds the book and pump from the kit that started her down the road of balloon twisting.

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Clare Fischer holds the book and pump from the kit that started her down the road of balloon twisting.

NEW ULM — Balloon Artist Clare Fischer, 13, is hoping to expand Balloon-a-kazoo! which has grown from a gift into her business.

The soon-to-be eighth-grader makes balloon animals and other creations. She works at events ranging from birthday parties to library events.

It all began with a gift from her parents.

“When I was 5, my parents gave me a kit which came with a book, a small pump and 40 balloons,” Fischer said.

From there Fischer learned about balloon distributors where she could get them in bulk and started making it a hobby.

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey
Clare Fischer, 13, and her siblings show off a collection of patterns Fischer has learned. Pictured from left to right: Clare (behind), in a viking hat; Elizabeth, 5, with a flower; Helen, 11, with a flamingo and Max, 7, with a big sword.

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Clare Fischer, 13, and her siblings show off a collection of patterns Fischer has learned. Pictured from left to right: Clare (behind), in a viking hat; Elizabeth, 5, with a flower; Helen, 11, with a flamingo and Max, 7, with a big sword.

Her first public performance was in a talent show in kindergarten. At the last minute Fischer decided she wanted to make a balloon flower.

Unfortunately they did not have a lot of balloons at the time and her pump broke. Using an air compressor at home (which broke a few of their dwindling supplies) they pre-pumped some balloons for her.

When she got onstage, using a book for directions she began twisting the balloons. She popped two, leaving just enough for her to finish her flower.

Fischer went on to perform at her grandmother’s benefit, the Roman Barten Memorial Benefit Breakfast. It is in memory of Barten and raises money for children with serious health concerns.

From there, Fischer’s talents grew until she moved on from performing at family and friend’s functions to being for hire.

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey
Clare Fischer, 13 (left), takes another request from Avery Tyhurst, 4 (right), during the Summer Reading Kickoff at the library.

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Clare Fischer, 13 (left), takes another request from Avery Tyhurst, 4 (right), during the Summer Reading Kickoff at the library.

She has a wide range of sculptures that she offers. She has made the standard dogs, flowers and hats but her favorite (and most popular) sculpture is called a giant sword.

The sword was initially an accident. Fischer’s mother, Mary, made a mistake while ordering a fresh supply.

“My mom thought she was ordering the regular size of balloons and ended up ordering these really fat ones that are kind of hard to twist because they are like 3 inches in circumference,” Fischer said.

There are three types of balloons Fischer works with: 160s, which are 1 inch around and 60 inches long; 260s, 2 inches around and 60 inches long and 350s, 3 inches around and 50 inches long.

Fischer’s regular balloons are 260s. She could not find a use for the 350s until her father found a pattern on Youtube.

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey
Clare Fischer demonstrates some of her skills by making a flamingo out of two balloons.

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Clare Fischer demonstrates some of her skills by making a flamingo out of two balloons.

Probably the most complex balloon sculpture she has made, and her only original design, was wearable turtle shells from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

She made those on special request for a birthday. While she does have a standard menu, if a birthday kid has a special interest and she is told early she will try to find fitting patterns.

Along the way Fischer has learned a few tricks. One is leaving a tail on the end of a balloon.

A tail, the small uninflated portion of a balloon, allows for air to move around as the balloon is twisted.

“If something has a lot of twists and you are using too much balloon for each twist then you will end up at the end of your balloon (early),” Fischer said.

Often she will pre-pump a number of balloons to cut down on wait time at large events. Although for smaller events she will turn inflating the balloons into an interactive experience for the kids.

“That is part of the fun, not just having a balloon handed to you but watching it be created,” Mary said. “The kids love it, they love watching it come to life.”

After moving from Belle Plaine near the beginning of last school year, Fischer’s business has slacked a little. She is hoping as word gets out it will pick up.

“I just want to expand my business and I am going to start doing that by expanding my menu,” Fischer said. “Right now I have like six things on my menu. I am going to take some things of and expand it to nine.”

To schedule Fischer, call (507) 354-9976. She appreciates scheduling as ahead of time as possible, anything large should be two weeks in advance so she can get enough balloons.

Fischer charges $35 for an hour plus $20 for every additional hour.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.

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