When Jeremy Telford set out to build a house, he had three things in mind.
He wanted to finish in three days, he wanted it to resemble 18th Century England, and he wanted it made entirely of balloons.
Forty hours and 2,600 balloons later, the latex Hobbit house was born.
“I really enjoy doing large sculptures and I wanted to do something from the hobbit or Tolkien for a while,” he said.
For the professional balloon twister, planning the house was simple. He created a timeline and budgeted for supplies, and then he chose a style for the structure’s furniture, doors and windows. When all the planning was done, it was time to get to work. Using a pump and a bit of ingenuity, Telford began to create the outer structure of the Hobbit house, and slowly began filling it with the balloon furniture.
He admits the appeal of a balloon house was almost too much for his two-year-old son.
“The kids have grown up with it, but it was hard to explain why he couldn’t play with the balloons,” Telford said.
After the house was completed, Telford’s children were allowed to help tear down the amazing balloon house - within minutes, reducing it to latex rubble.
Telford’s interest in balloon sculpture goes back to college. As a college student, he took on twisting to make a little money and quickly grew to love it. Shortly after graduating, he decided to follow his passion and began perfecting the craft. Over the years, he’s created hundreds of large-scale balloon sculptures, including a six-foot tyrannosaurus Rex and a life-sized motorcycle that was used in an Orbit gum commercial. Two years ago, he published “Balloonology” to share his craft with others. This January, he plans to launch a blog January to continue teaching others how to twist balloons.
Last Independence Day, Telford spent the day creating twisting balloons for families in Auburn. Although he lives in Utah with his family now, his wife has roots in Oregon. Their love the northwest remains strong.
“We’re very fond of the area and we’re looking to move back permanently someday,” he said. “We miss the green.”