World Record Dragonfly Sculpture
You can see the final record on Guinness World Records’ site.
In June of 2015, we got the opportunity of a lifetime. Brian has always wanted to break a Guinness World Record, ever since he was 16 and added it to his bucket list. For years, the idea of making the largest balloon sculpture in the world has been his goal, but it has taken years to develop the skills, connections, and design experience to make it a reality. He spent two months finding a balloon sponsor (Betallatex), drawing up plans of where every balloon would go, and recruiting volunteers.
On June 7, 2015, we all got together at the Indiana State Museum to create an 88 foot dragonfly. There were about a dozen crew members and we worked for five days, over 400 crew hours in all. When an impartial surveyor and witnesses came on Friday the 12th, they took our final measurements at just over 88 x 70 feet and 17 feet tall.
A month later, we were honored to have our record accepted by Guinness World Records and listed on their website. Below you can see lots of pictures of our finished project and the process of building it. It wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing crew: Christina Williamson, Aaron Messer, David Baker, Dustin Queary, Michael Mauthe, Frances Young, Kriss Uptegrove, Skylar Ward, Jack Owens, Roger Getz, Linda Getz, Andrew, Deb Price, and Joe White.
Our sincere thanks to the Indiana State Museum, the museum facilities crew for their help in rigging, and our family and friends for their support.
World Record Dragonfly Sculpture
Each balloon was counted prior to inflation
We used Electric inflators
After inflation, the balloons were placed in bins or piled, ready to be used.
We used a few weaving patterns to create the dragonfly's body and tail
Christina was getting in the way
Mike Mauthe Weaving
The tail sections completed and stacked by the wall
Mike starting work on the legs
Finally starting the wings.
Weaving wings ad nauseum
Weaving wings drove Dustin Query crazy
We rounded the edges of each wing
Everything was documented by video and time-lapse
I delegated the head construction to Dustin
We had educational signs throughout the museum
We loved interacting with guests and explaining the build
The body and wings took shape concurrently
The inside of the thorax looked beautiful.
Day 2 progress
Whenever a balloon popped, we would immediately replace it with another from the uncounted bags
David Baker adds balloon structure to hold the sculpture upright. We used no structure but balloons, not even string.
We assembled the dragonfly on her back to be measured
We needed to keep the legs vertical so we added a grub.
The grub isn't the prettiest, but it helped from a structural standpoint. We removed it after measuring.
On day 4 we added a bit of length to the wings, just to be safe.
We also added 4 rows onto the tail
This bug was massive
We ran it into the hallway to give us enough space for measurements
Panoramic view from the lift
The crew pales in comparison
Several local media outlets showed up
TV morning shows turned up throughout the week.
The scale of the beast
Dave Croft, our surveyor, measured the wings first, then the length.
Dave and his wife measured each distance, then made marks with tape to double-check
Surveyor measured each distance twice, once in imperial and once in metric, then measured the tape marks to be extra sure.
I used the lift to get Dave and an assistant up to the legs.
Once I finished lifting the pole into place and maneuvering the lift, I stepped back and impartially let them measure.
Kelly Croft held the pole straight and level while Dave measured from above.
Dave held it level and took measurements from above.
For the final measurements only the impartial surveyors had their hands on the pole.
Final Measurements from Surveyor
Witnesses working on statements
Dale Campbell working on witness statements
Once the record was completed 25 volunteers marched the dragonfly up the stairs.
We put a 70 foot rod through the body and hoisted it up 25 feet
From the lift I unrolled the wings and positioned them
We then lifted the head and tail a bit higher
We had rigged attachment points with paracord and secured the wings.
The legs were curled up like they would be in flight.
The grub had served its purpose and Christina curled up inside it
final photos after record completion and hanging
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