Lynetta Welch and Fabric Manipulation – A Stitch In Time

Lynetta Welch

Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webster gave a lecture to our local magic club almost a year ago. For some reason, the subject of Toppits became the center of the question and answer session. Tim related how he had paid an enormous amount of money and time trying to find a tailor that could perform the modifications he needed for his very special leather jacket he used for his FISM award-winning act.

A tailor who understood magic and the needs of a magician, he suggested, is very hard to find. Some of those assembled even asked for the name and address of his tailor in Australia.

Flash forward to two weeks before the 2004 World Magic Seminar. I heard through the rumor web that there was a tailor who knew magic. He allegedly had worked as a magician for years, worked with some of the best in the business and had some connection with the Lance Burton show. I also learned that this man was living in Las Vegas and may have opened a shop.

I was going to find this mysterious tailor. It was my mission.

I found him and he was a she and…

Lynetta Welch

Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webster gave a lecture to our local magic club almost a year ago. For some reason, the subject of Toppits became the center of the question and answer session. Tim related how he had paid an enormous amount of money and time trying to find a tailor that could perform the modifications he needed for his very special leather jacket he used for his FISM award-winning act.

A tailor who understood magic and the needs of a magician, he suggested, is very hard to find. Some of those assembled even asked for the name and address of his tailor in Australia.

Flash forward to two weeks before the 2004 World Magic Seminar. I heard through the rumor web that there was a tailor who knew magic. He allegedly had worked as a magician for years, worked with some of the best in the business and had some connection with the Lance Burton show. I also learned that this man was living in Las Vegas and may have opened a shop.

I was going to find this mysterious tailor. It was my mission.

I found him and he was a she and a magician at that.

Lynetta Welch is certainly no man. In fact, she looks the opposite of what I expected to find. She is a soft-spoken, young woman with a tremendous sense of confidence backed by actual knowledge of the magic business. But she is more than a tailor with knowledge about magic ? she is one of us, she is a professional magician.

As a child, Ms. Welch moved through out the South and discovered that performing magic was one of the easiest ways to break the ice with her new schoolmates. One of her moves brought her within the vicinity of the Magic Castle and she snuck in to learn from some of the greats and read the classics of our Art.

World Magic Seminar

There is an unfortunate bias or prejudice that exists in our profession that perceives women as either assistants or lesser magicians. Female magicians ? like their counterparts in many occupations ? have to work twice as hard to be accepted by their peers. Ms. Welch’s talent and knowledge of magic brought her acceptance not only by her fellow magicians but by those who book the theaters, showrooms and private parties.

Ms. Welch has performed around the world and has worked with the top names in our business. Doug Henning, Johnny Thompson, Lance Burton, David Copperfield and others have enlisted her assistance in designing and refining effects.

But beyond all of that, Ms. Welch is a tailor.

Ms. Welch started her company, Fabric Manipulation with her partner, Lisa Caterbone. Ms. Caterbone brought her experience as an Internet marketing expert to Fabric Manipulation after working with companies like the Los Angeles Times and Hewlett Packard.

Ms. Welch and Ms. Caterbone hit upon a real need in our business and designed Fabric Manipulation to fit the demands of the working magician for high-quality, durable and commercial effects made from fabric.

They knew the need was there. After all, Ms. Welch had been providing these types of effects on a custom-order basis for the top-working professionals. Their plan was to make the same type of effects available to the rest of us and at a reasonable price.

If you have ever had an egg bag rip on you during an act, you know the frustration that comes from using inferior products. It is a terrible feeling to realize that the ten minutes you have scheduled for your routine have now been cut short to about a minute and a half because of a torn seam or loose threads.

Ms. Welch uses the same techniques and emphasis on quality on the products for sale through Fabric Manipulation as those she previously sold only to her private customers. The upside: you will receive high-quality props that will last a lifetime and work as advertised. The downside, because these effects are not produced by assembly line, you may have to wait until your effect is ready. Fortunately, Ms. Welch has worked diligently to amass an adequate inventory of her most popular effects but she always advises that her interest is in producing quality and not quantity.

When you check out Fabric Manipulation’s website ? which has been added to the Inside Magic Links of Fame ? you will not see pages and pages of effects for sale. The listing is rather modest. But the number of effects offered is also a function of Ms. Welch’s preference for quality over quantity. She could, I suppose, bulk up the product line by offering effects for the sake of offering effects. But because she is willing to stand behind each item, she will only offer for sale those products that work, provide great impact for the money spent and are of the highest quality.

We are familiar with some of the lesser quality effects being imported into the United States from Third World countries. Aside from the fact that these products are usually nothing more than a blatant theft of another magician’s idea, the quality is often laughable. In my “I’ll make a million overnight” phase, I purchased a ton of effects from India including Hippity Hop Rabbits, Bag to Flags and other classics. I still have many of the items. I could not in good conscience sell a Bag to Flag where the Stars and Stripes looked more like a tie-dyed piece of rag or a Hippity Hop Rabbit with one very big eye and one very little eye. The American Flag would bring boos from audiences and the Hippity Hop Rabbit would scare kids.

I wondered who in India looked at the products before they packed them ? with paint still a little wet ? into the cardboard boxes for shipment to me. My guess is that no one looked at them. No one really cared.

Ms. Welch looks at each item before it is sent out. She inspects the products with a 100 percent quality assurance ratio. If it does not look right, feel right; seem right, it does not go out. Despite these precautions, if after you receive the item, you feel it does not live up to your expectations ? with the obvious exception of custom-made products ? you can return it for a refund or exchange.

I am not aware of another shop in our business that makes that kind of guarantee.

Legacy Egg Bag

So what does Fabric Manipulation offer? I am convinced Ms. Welch’s best offering is the Legacy Egg Bag. You can check it out here. Lance Burton said, “This is the best egg bag in the whole world.” Johnny Thompson’s praise is on the same level: ?This is the only bag I?ll use and it?s the one I recommend. Need I say more??

The bag is perfect in design, size and feel. It is not as inexpensive as one you might find elsewhere on the web but then again, you are not likely to find this type of quality anywhere else on the web. Ms. Welch has just begun to wholesale her products through Whit Haydn and Chef Anton?s School for Scoundrels and Hocus-Pocus ? two outlets that are sure to bring her national attention.

Fabric Manipulation also offers accessories you will not be able to find elsewhere. One of the neatest she showed at the World Magic Seminar was the Beer Bottle Gizmo. It is essentially a well-designed and manufactured device to hold an opened bottle of beer, Diet Coke or water. The release is easy but the grip is secure. This gives you the confidence you need to have a full bottle of beer on your person for your entire routine. You can see the Beer Bottle Gizmo here.

Chalkboard Prediction

Finally, one of the more attractive pieces in the Fabric Manipulator’s collection is their adaptation of T.A. Water’s Chalkboard Prediction. I may not have much need to produce a beer bottle during my routine ? except to quench my thirst and rid my mouth of the wonderful cotton feeling that comes when I have botched something so badly that it does not even look like I was trying to do an effect.

But for those of us who do mentalism, the Chalkboard Prediction is a very nice effect. It plays big, is not difficult to perform and allows you to direct your attention to developing your presentation. Ms. Welch had one of the Chalkboard Predictions at the World Magic Seminar and I was very impressed by the quality. You can check out the Chalkboard Prediction here.

I have just re-read my review.

Wow.

I should tell you that I do not have any financial interest in Fabric Manipulators. I never even met Ms. Welch before the World Magic Seminar and even then, I thought she was going to be a man. I want to be unbiased and critical but I am not able to find something to criticize.

I could make something up. I could tell you that I am bothered Ms. Welch will not reveal what new effects she has on the drawing board but to be honest, I respect her desire to keep that information secret. Her emphasis is on quality and not on the need to broaden the product line. If she wants to keep the new products secret until she is good and ready to release them to the magic public, that’s okay by me.

I started out the review by mentioning Tim Ellis’ advice on Toppits. I’m no Michael Ammar but I appreciate that a well-designed and fitted Toppit can allow a magician to do what appears to be real magic.

There is not, contrary to some suggestions, a One-Size-Fits-All when it comes to Toppits. The one that you are going to use in your show has to be one that works for you in your show costume. My advice is to do it right. Tim Ellis’ advice is to get a custom-fitted Toppit. So there you have two Tim’s telling you the same thing.

Ms. Welch will custom fit their variation on the Ammar pattern Toppit to your jacket and include access to the outer pocket and will finish off the opening professionally and make sure to match the Toppit with your jacket. You can check out the custom fit Toppit here.

Inside Magic Rating: Five out of Five ? Our Highest!

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