Originally posted 08-14-06 in MBD2
Long Island balloon artist and magician Sheree Brown-Rosner, aka “The Great Wandini”, is colorful — and I mean that in every possible way! On first meeting you will notice her hair, it is purple, blue and yellow, er I mean purple haze, atomic turquoise and virgin snow, as Brown-Rosner points out. Previously, she wore a tail that was bleached, but one day she was dying it, and unbeknownst to her, the end of it hit the top part of her head and changed the color there. The rest is hair history. “I don’t see it. I do it for everyone else. Some people ask “Is it natural?” and I say ‘Yes, my mother was a parrot.”
“I became a magician when Shari Lewis died. She was so young and vibrant and I loved everything she did,” Brown-Rosner said, adding “Young girls also looked up to her as a role model.” Her work with puppets began to increase as hospitals began enforcing a no latex policy with entertainers. Brown-Rosner is already known for her chip clip puppets, that is, balloon puppets that she makes using a small chip clip. Currently, she is studying ventriloquism and at the past Twist & Shout conference she was very excited to be able to get some lessons from Bob Rumba. Now she is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her new addition to the family, custom ordered from Selberg Studios. “I haven’t gotten him/her yet, but I carry pictures!” she exclaimed.
Color has been a running theme in Brown-Rosner’s life. “I was doing early research with Scott Tripp while making the Colored Balloons and I came up with a solution to make the balloons glow! I do a swirl pattern, like Scott, but when we taught a class together at Twist & Shout last year I saw that we do have a little different way of making them. There is no right or wrong way! But I did notice that he does not do the special dance I do while creating each balloon one at a time. Scott does have a book out and I am including my process in a DVD I am currently working on,” she said.
Brown-Rosner has only been twisting for about six-and-a-half years and has won many balloon competitions including 3rd place (her 7th win) for her medium sculpture “Out to Lunch“ entered at Twist & Shout this year. “I was the first to have movement hidden inside balloons,” she said, “to make them move, like in the “Fish and the Fisherman“ that won me 1st in medium fancy figure at TJAM on 2001.” Brown-Rosner would take the innards from dancing stuffed toys and apply the movement to balloon sculptures. She may have won the most competitions for being only a part-time twister.
When she’s not entertaining, Brown-Rosner works for the U.S. Government’s Department for Senior Enrichment as a photographer. “Seniors make me feel young…sometimes their buttons are older than I am,” she said. She also has a photography business, Smile Photography, that she runs from her home with her husband. “It’s hard for me to be on the other side of the camera.” she said, and if you ever meet her at a jam you will notice she is usually busy documenting the event. You can visit Brown-Rosner at www.smilephoto.com.
“I‘ve met so many people from (being involved with) balloons that it is really a motivator,” Brown-Rosner said, adding, “I have friends all over the world and it’s such a beautiful thing.” Her advice to newbies: “Have fun! Learn as much as you can and get to the jams…the bigger the better!”