Silk Fountain Construction. . .

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Postby Ray Eden » 06/17/04 04:30 AM

I'm getting ready to make up a Silk Fountain, but I was told that silk must be sewn is a special way. Can anyone give any advice on sewing silk for the Silk Fountain?

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Postby GAMOLO » 06/18/04 03:42 PM

There are two basic kinds of dealer item silk foundations.......those utilizing complete silks and those employing the sewn, half silks.

The advantage of the latter is that it saves you time folding & when opening, the display appears to produce twice as many silks, albeit smaller, half size silks.

I prefer the latter for small rooms....same effect and can be seen. However, for larger venues the whole silks can be seen better.

You can also purchase silk cranks/rollers which save you time in preparing & they compress the silks far better than you can by hand, thus enabling you to load many more silks than you might otherwise be able to employ. A simple folding of all four squares into the middle, holding the pinch by either hand or gimmick will suffice.

If sewing half silks, then obviously only sew on the "bottom" two sides.

In addition to Tarbell & Rice's Silk Encyclopedia you can call Pete White and other silk mavens....unless I had a bundle of beautiful, fresh, virtually never used, 100% Rice quality silks....frankly, rather than starting from scratch preparing my own....probably better off purchasing a Magic Hands/General Grant/White/Hank Lee etc. already prepared dealer item.
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Postby Guest » 06/18/04 04:13 PM

In Rice Encyclopedia of silk magic Vol. #3 there are instructions on how to make one and use it and if do not have acess to this book on http:/laflinmagic.com web page he sells either a DVD os VCR tape of the same information and sells them already made up. Pretty trick.....Mike
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Postby David Nethery » 06/18/04 06:03 PM

Jay Scott Berry has a method for a very compact silk fountain using diamond cut silks in his lecture notes "Illusioneering" .
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Postby Guest » 06/18/04 06:52 PM

Frank Chapman published the Grandaddy of silk fountains in the forties - worth a look if you can find the manuscript.

Also, check out Slydini's silk fountain...

Best, PSC
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Postby Ray Eden » 06/19/04 01:12 AM

Thanks for the thoughts. Unfortunately, most of my books are in storage in New York City and I'm sitting in Finland. Hence the questions. . .If I had my Tarbell with me life would be so much easier. :-)

I'm planning to make up the full silk version (as seen in the Jeff McBride MAGIC ON STAGE series). I've already bought all the silks, so there's no going back on this one for now. Perhaps I'll buy a ready made in the future.

My basic question still remains. . .does silk have to be sewn differently from other material, and if so, what is the method? For example should a small square of cotton material be used to base each side of the stacked silks to offer support and prevent 'ripping' of the fagile silk fibers?

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Postby Pete Biro » 06/19/04 11:28 AM

I was GOING to do a Silk Fountain (but never did) HOWEVER... in discussion with Slydini, he told me to use a condom to put the silks into. I don't know the details, but if you know the basics of a silk fountain you should be able to figure it out.
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Postby Guest » 06/19/04 12:38 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
...Slydini...told me to use a condom to put the silks into....
Oh no, the condoms that I use are much too large....
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/19/04 02:21 PM

I use 24-inch silks myself :p
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Postby Guest » 06/19/04 03:28 PM

The upside of the Slydini "secret device" for the silk load/fountain are the following:

A.) The "device" is flexible/stretchable so the size of the load can vary and the "holder" will work reliably regardless...

B.) The construction of the "device" allows you to roll the thing back onto itself, in the reverse way that it is unrolled when in "normal" use. This allows you to control both the release of the silks and the speed of the production quite nicely...

C.) The "device" is easily obtained, readily available at any convienience store, and the costs should be well within the budget of fledgling performers...

D.) Packs flat, plays large, and comes in its' own custom carrying package, usually nicely decorated graphically!

Best, PSC
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/19/04 05:23 PM

Tony taught me a great STEAL... the load is just on the table. You drop something and the kneel down position, with one hand to pick up the item, the other goes to the edge of the table, to support yourself (?) and as you stand, both hands come together (one with the load)... etc. etc.

What I wanted to do was to start with a kleenex, and dropped one... the load was on the table behind the box.

His misdirection ploy was perfect.
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Postby Glenn Farrington » 06/19/04 07:02 PM

If you give up making one. The best one I ever had was a silk fountain to dove and it was made by Pete White (P and A silks). It was a thing of beauty!
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Postby Guest » 06/20/04 05:55 PM

Ray:

The various fountains I have or have seen have been set up like the one Jeff McBride demos on his video. They have been sewn in the middle of the stack with a few loops of sewing thread. I have one made by Abbott's which has a small (1" x 1") square of felt sewn to the bottom of the outside silk to prevent pull-through. It uses the straps with velcro and small plastic ring seen on the McBride video.

My current fountain is made by General Grant, using his one-handed release he uses on his dove productions. Easy, one handed, silent and super secure. Both anchor points for the closure on his bag are heavily reinforced. General Grant's fountains use the half-silk idea.

Here's something that's puzzled me - I've read descriptions of silk fountains that use a 'loading tube.' What is that? What's the difference in set up and effect from the traditional folded type? Anyone know? --Asrah
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Postby Ray Eden » 06/20/04 10:19 PM

Thanks Asrah,

This info helps me out!

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Postby Gregory Schultz » 07/06/04 11:22 AM

The late great Neil Foster taught me his method of making a silk fountain. Boy, it takes a long time to prepare for every show. The point I wanted to make however, is that when Neil made his fountain, he purchased silks in all the available colors. He then took white silks and hand dyed silks in shades that were in between the colors he had purchased. Hence he would get much more of a rainbow effect. How many people would go to the trouble he went through to do this? Neil's perfectionism is one thing that made him such a magnificent artist. He is greatly missed.
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Postby Ray Eden » 07/07/04 07:59 AM

I have my newly constructed silk fountain in hand and it works fine. I have a woman who is very talented as a seamstress and she did a lovely job. Turns out that the ribbon (for the style I wanted) acts pretty much as a batting for the silks, so no extra was necessary. Perhaps as time goes by I'll experiment with some other versions, but for now this suits my purposes and I was able to choose my own silk colors and placements.

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Postby Guest » 07/07/04 09:49 PM

I have used alll sorts of silk fountains -- and even got to the insane point of using two per show -- two shows a night. Folding was time consuming enough to require that 4 fountains were being prepared daily. I use 24" silks rotated and sewing in blossoming color order with Velcro strap wrap and a black or dk (forest) green shielding silk as the wrap.

Why do I go to the trouble of trap folding about 18-20 silks each time and again? Done PROPERLY it is one of silk magic's most beautiful pieces that actually looks like the magician is doing something...creating color, not pulling rags from a box.

So that brings me to my biggest pet peeve (and Peter White helped me put the thought into words some years ago) properly done silk fountains are not an MTV trick!!!!!

Too many people shake them open way too quickly -- instead of letting them "develop" into a colorful opening bloom -- almost as if shot in stop motion. I have seen one to many magician shake these as Jim Carrie would shake maracas for a rigerous Rumba.

Properly folded, just a SLIGHT motion wil keep the bud growing and opening if you use good silks. I also have now installed about 6 varied color streamers (Z folded in rotation) at the center to drop out of the center to climax the bloom.

Move slowly -- let it flow open. GC
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Postby Ray Eden » 07/09/04 01:06 PM

A couple of questions now that I have my Silk Fountain in hand.

1) What is the best way to store it when not in use, and

2) How far in advance of the show can the it be prepared?

Thanks in advance,

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Postby Gregory Schultz » 07/09/04 04:53 PM

As far as how long in advance one can prepare it, and how should one store it, I will again state what Neil Foster taught me. He thought the fountain wshould be wrinkled so as to "bloom" slowly. I had no problem setting the prop even weeks in advance.
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Postby Ray Eden » 07/10/04 12:36 AM

Thanks Gregory,

I agree with the wrinkled look. I don't iron any of my silks. I'm wondering if a longer 'preped' storage time allows the silks to open more slowly.

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