Friday, 27 September 2013

Pleasant Grove sculptor creates Hobbit house with 2,600 balloons

Not every wife would be on board if you told her you wanted to clear out the furniture to re-create Bilbo Baggins' hobbit home out of -- no joke -- 2,600 balloons.

But then, not everyone is married to a professional balloon artist.

Jeremy Telford, of Pleasant Grove, has a worldwide reputation for balloon artistry. He has been flown to South America to create a balloon sculpture for a commercial. He has had installations at Thanksgiving Point. Now he is featured in the new book from Ripley's Believe it or Not! called "Dare to Look!"

"I cleared out my living room and spent three days building Bilbo Baggins' house," he said of the famous character of the Hobbit books.

Why build a balloon version of a hobbit hole?

"I'm a pretty big science fiction-fantasy fan and you can't get much more classic than The Hobbit," he said. "I'd been planning on doing it for while."

Balloon sculpting is Telford's full-time job.

"I have done hundreds of sculptures," he said, noting that he may be the only person in Utah and nearby states who does large-scale sculptures.

His wife is on board with her husband's occupation because Kristin Telford is also a balloon artist. In fact, unusual hobbies are what brought this couple together. Husband and wife met at a juggling club at BYU. Kristin Telford's brother, also a member of the club, taught his future brother-in-law how to make balloon animals. Creating small balloon sculptures in restaurants for tips is how Jeremy Telford put himself through college.

"Any of the sculptures can be commissioned, but the price really varies depending on the size and complexity," Telford said. "I've done small centerpieces for as low as $15 to $20 and huge sculptures for upwards of $1,500."

To see his work, including a time-lapse video of the construction of the hobbit house, visit


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