My First lesson was with Aaron "Dizzy Doc" Hay. Dizzy makes his livng at balloons and does a lot of his own stuff. At the 2-minute competition, he won one of the categories with his butterfly with spirals tucked into the wings (makes for quite an elegant butterfly). When classes were being announced, he said he was offering one on designing your own stuff, which is what I want to do. For one I want to do stuff that probably won't appear in books - such as Tux, or balloon badgers or bassoons. Also, the plethora of books and videos available are slowly bankrupting me, so if I can figure out that kind of stuff on my own, maybe I can start saving some money.
Dizzy is a great teacher - if you have a chance to jam with him or take a lesson or two, it's worth it. I learned a number of exercises to do similar to learning your scales if you're a musician), and together we did a first try at Tux the Penguin. He's also working on a book, so keep your eyes peeled at the T Myers catalog.
I was having so much fun with Dizzy that I forgot my second lesson with Jack, who was doing a storytelling. Luckily that one was a "just meet me in the lobby if you're interested" kind of gathering, so I don't feel too bad about bagging out on that one.
The third lesson was with Rick Mohr, also on going from concept to balloon implementation, but this time from a visual artist / cartoonist angle. Plus I picked up a new hook twist technique I need to work on.
For the most part, the twisters I met were genuinely nice and personable folks, willing to teach and share their knowledge. I had a great time with "Mice" and his wife (oh no! I've forgotten her name), dizzy, Lynn, Raoul, as well as with some of the Really Big Names. If anyone would have told me I'd go grocery shopping with John Holmes, Fred Harshberger, and Rick Mohr, I would have said they were nuts. The balloon hq guys Larry Moss and Sheena Beaverson) were awesome as well. I was disappointed in the behavior of some of the other Big Names. Two were sitting behind me in Norm's lecture, chatting and playing with balloons (it was not a lecture involving the class doing anything with balloons), in short being extremely disrectful. Also, in general, we as a group left a really big mess behind. I'm not a neat freak (as anyone who knows me can tell you), but I felt some pangs of guilt as a Ieft a messy area behind. I tried to police the area around me the best I could, but cleaning up after eighty to 100 twister is a daunting task. Kudos to the hotel housekeeping staff. I hope they didn't have to pick up every scrap, since I can't imagine vaccuming balloon bits.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience. I got more out of the wednesday and thursday small-group jams than the great big huge megajams (there was just so much going on it was overwhelming) Can't wait til the next one.