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Mr. Woolery
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Fairbanks, AK
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Okay, saw Patrick Page's little bit about using the Troublewit and decided that's a prop I'd love to play with. But I can't find a good source of them and the various mentions of folding your own never include instructions. There seem to be three books available on the subject of routines and manipulations, but descriptions don't say if the books tells how to make the basic prop.

So, here's the question. Who know where I can find folding instructions for a troublewit? I don't mind buying a book, but I'd like to know it has what I want in it.

-Patrick
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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To my knowledge this has never been revealed. It is only mention that you use Cartridge paper.

The person in Newzealand, Jim (can't remember last name) past away some years back. There is a person on the USA that took over the business and supplies the folding paper.

You can purchse the white folded paper from http://www.stoners.com it is not on their web site, but you can email them or dickstoner@dickstoner.com and get the price info. I know they have them in stock. Tell them Bill told you to contact them.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
hugmagic
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Jim Reilly was the chap in New Zealand. I was at a Collector's meeting in New England last year and a guy was making his own. Personally, I would buy it. Just too much work.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
Mr. Woolery
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Richard-

I would tend to want to buy it, but I have been unable to locate a source! Bill's lead above may net me a troublewit, but every other place I've checked is out of stock or simply does not carry it.

For general information, however, I did get a PM regarding an origami book that has at least basic folding instructions. It is Complete Origami by Eric Kenneway. I will be trying to get it through my library to see if I can follow the folding instructions before I spend money on a copy for myself. Then, if it works, I'll go buy the books the magic shops carry on manipulating the silly thing.

Bill- thank you for the address. I intend to e-mail Dick Stoner today. If his prices are not beyond what I can justify to my wife for a piece of folded paper, I'll buy one of his.

I imagine trying to tell her "yes, it is a very expensive piece of folded paper, but look at the quality of the folds on the expensive piece of paper! No, I don't want to sleep on the couch."

-Patrick
hugmagic
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Have you tried Abbott's, Magic Inc., or Denny and Lee's? Just in case Dick Stoner does not have it.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
Mr. Woolery
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Richard-

Yes, I tried every place I could imagine. Most of them have three books on using the silly thing, but none of the folded papers. Either they don't list them at all or the listing says out of stock.

Plus, it would be kind of cool to fold my own. I keep thinking there has to be a fabric that could make a good one that would last longer than the paper. And I could make different sizes, too. I'll post back here after I get that origami book and let folks know how it goes with folding my own. Might work, might not. But isn't it just cool to use a prop you make yourself?

-Patrick
sleightly
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Hello gentlemen...

It was I who sourced the directions on constructing a troublewit to Patrick (It was great talking with you the other day on the phone. I didn't really expect you to share that with everyone on the forum, but why not...). I was also the guy making them at the Yankee Gathering (hey Richard, great spending time with you there; funny - "too much work" coming from a guy who makes feather flower bouquets!)...

I had contact info for the source in the US but I can't seem to locate them any more, every source I had seems to have dried up.

I've been collecting a significant amount of research on troublewit for almost a decade and have been manufacturing them for my own use (and a limited amount for others) since around 2002...

I may begin producing them in limited quantities for the general magic marketplace, but not until after the first of the year...

Anyone with any questions or research information, please feel free to PM me!

I can't wait to see what Patrick comes up with... It only took me three hours to make my first one (I had the benefit of a model, but no directions); I can now bust them out in under thirty minutes with concentrated effort...

I've made them in many different sizes (I know one performer who made one out of a dollar bill, but he was a masochist). With proper reinforcement I usually get around 200-300 performances out of one before it falls apart...

Andrew Pinard
Mr. Woolery
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Andrew-

I did avoid using your name because I figured that a PM was not meant for public consumption. I really do appreciate your help and the conversation. I only meant to let folks know that they can stop dredging their sources for this information for me, as you already gave me a direction to go.

I will certainly share anything I manage to come up with from the book. I'm really busy for the next few days with school (we start earlier in Alaska than in most places), Cub Scouts, Brownie Scouts, insulation on the house, building another house (well, having it built, but I am going to be doing a load of finish work on it), and trying to figure out what to cook for supper every day! When I have the relative leisure to fold some paper I will certainly look forward to sharing what I make with anyone interested. I'll also give a review of the instructions in the origami book, based on approaching them for the first time.

-Patrick
sleightly
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Hey Patrick:

I was glad to be of assistance! Made five this morning.

Good luck with your troublewit...

Andrew
Magnus Eisengrim
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Has anyone used the TROUBLEWIT SIMPLIFIED booklet illustrated by Sid Lorraine? The price is right.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
manal
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I was in the library yesterday and there was an old book in the section with oragami and kiragami books that had instructions for folding and using the troublewit accompanied by a efw pictures of DeVant using it.
Next time I go to the Library I'll remember to get the title and author.
Life is too important to take seriously.

james@jamesmanalli.com

www.jamesmanalli.com
hugmagic
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Andrew,
Sorry I had slipped your name from the memory bank. Old age does that.

What makes you think feather flowers are time consuming? Doesn't everything take that long to build?

Thanks for helping this guy out.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
Domino Magic
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I did the best search I could and it seems like it's been over a year since anyone has posted about Troublewit. Andrew (Sleightly) is selling these now, and in 3 different colors. It's sure been hard to find these over the past few years, but if you're interested in buying instead of the hassle of learning and making yourself, you can get them at http://troublewit.net
Bill Hegbli
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I wonder if the Tyvek material would be a good product to make Troublewit out of if the creases are set sharply. I do know Tyvek can loose it firmness, but it might be something that will last longer.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
hugmagic
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I know Sid Lorraine said the trouble with Troublewit was that you just had it broke in and it was wore out. I think it was Frank Herman who reinforced his troublewits with tape.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
gaddy
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The Modern Conjourer by Charles Lang Neil?
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Pete Biro
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Jay Marshall folded his own. I have a few of them in storage. After Christmas will see if I have them and would sell one.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Michael Baker
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Andrew Pinard,

It would seem that unless someone emerges, as you did, to make a few of these now and then, that this could quickly become a dying art. The fact that these were common in some dealer catalogs a few decades ago, but had become so difficult to find, attests to that.

May I suggest that before you eventually tire of making them, that you document the process, if you haven't already, so that the information does not fall into oblivion? It would be unfortunate if putting together someone who has the knowledge of constuction with a person who has the desire to use it, became too difficult.

Technology tends to overshadow many non-technological skills, but it could in such a case as this, be used to preserve this one.

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Bill Hegbli
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Just pulled out the Modern Conjurer Book, it only tells the size of the paper and 1st flat folds. It does not discribe all the angle folds that help create the designs.

It is funny, it said the same thing Andrew Pinard, buy one and copy the folds and design. Now that is not very helpful if they are obsolete.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
sleightly
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I have been performing and making Troublewit for almost a decade. Only in the last few years have I been making them available for other performers. During that time I have conducted extensive research on history, construction and routines with the Troublewit. In the process I have gathered hundreds of pages of source material in English, French and Spanish and plan to share that information when I publish my book. It will include photographs of many Troublewits I have collected (including a couple of Jay Marshall's, one used by Don Alan and others), photographs of a number of performers who have featured Troublewit in their work and possibly an extensive bibliography (currently have around 80+ references). I feel like I am starting to get closer to some answers to certain fundamental questions: Where did Troublewit originate? Who made the first one? Why are they called Troublewit? I hope to have answers to these questions and more before I publish.

As for construction, one can learn from the books through trial and error (although it does help to have a model). As mentioned above, The Modern Conjurer is one source on constructing Troublewit. Anyone with two hands, ten fingers and patience can learn how to make them (I think the number of fingers might be negotiable). The corners are, perhaps, the most finicky part (Ellis Stanyon laid claim to them at one point in the late 19th century).

Troublewit have been made out of a variety of paper. Early 20th-century sources refer to "cartridge paper" which was a stiff paper used to make gun cartridges (think the outer layers of a shotgun shell). Colors, size and even shapes have varied over the years (some early works have an extra set of longitudinal pleats that make for a more complicated shape. Robert A. Olson may have the record for the smallest Troublewit to date (made one from a dollar bill). I have made some out of 8.5 by 11" paper, but the ones I sell begin life as a sheet of 26 by 40 inch paper. This size is perfect for hats that are relatively proportioned for adult-sized heads. Tyvek unfortunately does not work well as it does not hold a good crease and it has a tendency to flop over being rather flimsy. I have used experimental paper (a form of non-tearable paper) but found problem with layer separation.

I experimented with an extra set of pleats (as detailed in some of the early published references such as Ozanam) and also die-cutting along long pleats with different colors on opposite sides of the paper. In different reference works we see variation in angles (from 90 to 45 degrees). The extra set of long pleats allows for a couple of other shapes but does affect the handling. The die-cut is interesting, but doesn't necessarily contribute to the actual shapes formed (except aesthetically).

Frankly, there are so many shapes that you can make with the standard troublewit that one could put together four or five routines and hardly repeat shapes. I am continually open to other options. One thing I plan on trying is to cut the long edges in a "wave" formation to give softer edges, or perhaps in a ragged edge to create other textures (like turrets on a castle)...

One of the reasons I produced black troublewits first was that most of what identifies the shape is its silhouette and black "swallows" up any shadows that might lead the eye into the pleats and away from the overall outer shape of the object formed. That being said, if you wear black (I don't) or perform in front of black curtains, the ivory or white will work better. After the first of the year I will be experimenting with colors (the sheets must be painted prior to folding). I think the plain single color Troublewit is elegant and reinforces the shapes, but I know many who are used to working with colored one and have grown to prefer them.

Other shapes and proportions are possible and others have played with these. One manufacturer produced something that looked like a plunger that could be shaped into other objects. I have in my collection a blooming flower toy that uses pleated paper to create other interesting transformations.

To my eye, Troublewit is a precursor to modern balloon twisting (although you don't give away the produced shape). It is performance origami. Witnessing a performance of Troublewit is a sensual experience. The movement of the paper and transformation from one form to the next is truly engaging. The flexibility of shape order and opportunity for story-telling make it a natural for the performer looking to stand out from the crowd. Creating so much entertainment from such simple materials is truly enchanting to audiences and reveals the character of the performer. It truly packs small and plays huge...

I have been documenting all my work throughout (initially for myself and eventually for others). Recently I have ramped up gathering original source material that has been evading me and expanding and refining the bibliography with annotations. I have had a lot of help from different people and I truly appreciate their time and generosity.

Troublewit will never become obsolete as long as performers care enough to spend time creating original character pieces. It is one of many tools in our arsenal to communicate with audiences. In a performance of Troublewit we share endearing artistic qualities that reveal complex beauty through simple manipulation. This resonates with audiences whether you are there to entertain or enlighten.
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