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poppa
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Austin, Tx.
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I have never gotten into silk magic, but I would like to experiment with it some.

Is there a reason that I want to spend the money for "Professional" Silk silks, or could I do as good by making my own from rayon or polyester fabrics from a fabric store. Some of the synthetics are very sheer and very silky.
~Poppa Jim Mitchell
http://www.AVisitWithSanta.com
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Jim,

Magicians use silks for several reasons. One characteristic of silk that many people overlook is the fact that it is 2/3s as strong as steel. They are not the dainty fragile things they appear to be. They are much more compressable than other fabrics. And they wear like iron! Nothing else picks up stage lights like they do. And most of all, they pack small and play big!

Try it you'll like it!

Bob
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Bob Sanders

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kregg
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The material you choose depends on the effect chosen.
Some people view silk scarves a feminine item, yet, they handle them like they would a baseball bat... Sympathetic Bats, there's an idea for Penn & Teller!
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Bob Sanders
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Kregg,

Great concept! We do tend to think of silk as some very femine fragile something. But there was a time when large amounts of silk were used in the electrical manufacturing fields because there was no truly flexible plastics that were very durable. Also the silk would keep its color better than early plastics would do.

The real incentives to invent synthetics were to overcome short supply and reduce costs. They are seldom as good or better than the real thing. An example is Nylon rope that can't survive being in the light. New it is stronger but too elastic to be used safely in many applications where rope made from natural fibres do fine. It is simply a cheap substitute. Some applications do not require the strength or safety. The other problem is that the length of rope that can be made is restricted to the length of the "rope walk". That is not a restriction for Nylon.

Most things do not require the strength of silk either. But silk chord is nearly as strong as steel cable the same amount. However it doesn't rust and will hold a knot. Unfortunately, it's not as cheap as steel either. There is no contest there.

Bob
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Bob Sanders

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kregg
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Bob,
Indeed, silk is very strong, it has been used for parachutes and the like. Still, that doesn't stop people from thinking of silk as regal and delicate.
The author James Burke has a neat brief history (WWI/WWII) about silk and the development of polymers in his book Twin Tracks.
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Bob Sanders
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Kregg,

Don't you just love doing magic supported by the audiences' unshakable misconceptions they brought with them?

Does it translate into "ignorance makes good magic"?

Bob
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kregg
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Bob,
I suppose the misconception, that silk is delicate, has more to do with snags and "runs."
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Bob Sanders
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Kregg,

Certainly, I think that you are right. They confuse loss of the weave pattern with loss of strength. Apparently they have never been charged with cutting out vines. (We have a yard full I would like to let them learn on! They grow faster when they see me coming!)

There should be some fun magic associated with that. Where are our magicians who understand physics?

The loss of pattern or "organization" is likely responsible for giving silk a feminine identity too. I'm not an engineer but I am an old university professor who taught marketing, management and finance to MBA students for decades. What research tells us in organizations, we find that when males make up the group anyone who fails to respect the "order" of things (rules of the game) is thrown out of the group. If the group is female and one member won't play by the rules, they reorganize to continue including the individual. That is both good and bad. But either way it appears to be nearly "hardwired" into gender. Both have something to learn. Both are right and/or wrong. (I sound like John Kerry!)

In the case of silk, we as males may see it as feminine because we are hardwired to believe that anything not maintaining the order is weak and feminine in its behavior. We forget individual strength! The organization may lose strength but the strength of the individuals is still there. It relates to another hardwired male trait. Males functionally tend to believe that the way you change people is to change people. (Get another!) The feminine approach is to modify behavior. (Boy! Does Lucy have a task ahead of her! Don't tell her.) Things are changing some but I'm resisting. I have to go now. The Avon man is at the door.

Bob
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Bob Sanders

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fccfp
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NJ
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Bob.
THe silk may still be strong, but after it has a run or losses it's pattern (weave), do you still want to use it in performance?

Bruce
A.K.A. Jay The Magician
www.jaythemagician.com
Paddy
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Quote:
On 2004-09-27 23:30, poppa wrote:
I have never gotten into silk magic, but I would like to experiment with it some.

Is there a reason that I want to spend the money for "Professional" Silk silks, or could I do as good by making my own from rayon or polyester fabrics from a fabric store. Some of the synthetics are very sheer and very silky.


To get back to Poppa's question. I too discovered silk magic and am spending a lot of money getting my props and silks. Seems to me that if you or someone close to you can sew, you could go to the fabric store and save a bunch of money.

My 18" silks now cost $38.50 a dozen and that equals 3 yards of fabric. Hmmm, something to think about.
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Bob Sanders
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Bruce,

The "run" usually only changes the appearance but not the strength. It upsets the weave pattern without breaking fibers. But I do agree, if it's not pretty, get another one. (See! I think just like a guy!)

In my bulk productions of silks, tears I won't use, but runs are usually kept in show unless they are unsightly. When silks are shown one at a time, I'm pretty picky. I also keep a box of "Silks for Parts". Those are silks that I will cut up and use on gimmicks. Often these are silks that have been cut, torn, or stained. (Sharpie pens with the cap off ruin silks in a heartbeat.)

I will also admit that over the years if my show colors needed changing, I have sold my old silks at auction or to a friend and replaced all with new silks. There was nothing wrong with the old ones except wrong colors. (I can remember in the 60s when we used so much yellow, green and orange. I'm glad that's over! In the 70s everything was red, white and blue. I really just like RED!)

Bob
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Bob Sanders

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TaylorTheGreat
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Hey,
I've been messing around with silk replacements never having the spare change for decent silks. I was wondering, how large of a silk can you stuff into a thumb tip without your thumb looking like it's six inches long? I appreciate any replies.
Down With The Masked Magician!
-Taylor M
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