Garage Trick Tuesday (#GTT) this week got me thinking and really made me want to get up and start creating something new, I need a new magic project.
As many of you know, I have been obsessed with magic and variety entertainment since the age of 10 but I’ve been into creating and making things since I first mastered simple motor skills. My Grandmother (Nana Cope) would often arrive at our house with kitchen roll tubes and cardboard boxes she’d saved for me to have a go at making something out of, Nana Tye would encourage me to try and learn to draw with her (she was a great artist, I wasn’t) and my parents always encouraged me to play with Lego. However, it was the fact that my Grandad was able to create anything you could imagine from wood that fascinated me the most. Even if you couldn’t think of what you needed, you’d give him a problem, he’d disappear to his tool shed then come back with something he’d created to fix the problem for you. Dad wasn’t too shabby with a hammer and chisel either, often letting me sit on the garage floor hammering nails into a block of wood whilst he worked.
I was already pretty creative before my obsession with magic began but the two soon gelled together perfectly. My favourite tricks were always ones where I would have to build a special prop or create a gimmick I would need to achieve an effect. This resulted in hours of cutting, sticking, glueing and ending up covered in bits of playing card, drinking straw, modelling balloon and super glue.
At high school my Design and Technology teacher, Mr. Bolam, was always keen to help with my creativity in magic. He’d help me out with designing and building all sorts of props, one of the first being the Production Castle in this week’s #GTT video (below), the idea for which probably came from one of the books lent to me by Brian Taylor, a magician friend of Mr. Bolam’s, who was also a teacher at another school in Chorley. My woodworking skills improved over the 5 years I was at high school, partly due to my projects in school but mainly thanks to working on building all the illusions for my stage act with my Dad and Grandad in the garage at home. We all worked together on these but Grandad was definitely the gaffer who got on with all the really skilled joints etc., Dad had a lot of these skills too and I kind of learnt on the job. Although most of the illusions came from plans, we always tweaked the designs to make them work just the way we wanted or to add an extra little twist. I was also fortunate to have a great friend in Peter Diamond, one of the UK’s finest illusion builders, to critique our work.
This allowed me to attempt something a bit more technical for my final project at school in Mr. Bolam’s Systems and Control GCSE class. I was back at my parent’s house earlier this week and found it in my magic cupboard (yes I still have loads of stuff stored at their place too). Unfortunately, the years have meant a wire has come loose so it wasn’t fully operational but the prop itself was in great condition, thanks to the velvet bags machined for me by good old Nana Tye, she was massively skilled with a sewing machine as well as a box of colouring pencils.
Just finding these bits in the cupboard brought back great memories of making magic props over the years and has really got me pining for a workspace where I can start creating things all over again. In a way, this kind of links back to the article I wrote about Reigniting A Spark, but watch this space… I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and start some new Magic Projects.
As always, if you’re based in Wakefield, Leeds, Yorkshire or anywhere in the UK and want to know more about what I do, give me a call on 07838 157 044.