~ CJC 2001 ~
sponsored by Infinite Illusions
Ferret is a Professional Cjer working the Medieval Faire circuit in FL. U.S.A. since 1992. His sole purpose in learning this art was to be a performer at those Fairs, and found contact juggling to be a unique avenue to accomplish that goal. But along the way found that he not only loved what he was doing, but also found a fondness for teaching. His style in CJing is Not traditional, but than again neither is his wardrobe. His instructional pages, along with video and stills will be appearing on this site soon. And his insight into the world of Professional performance art involving nothing but Contact Juggling as the visual portion of his show, should not be overlooked! The comedy dialogue that he uses in both his instructional pages and his actual shows are an added plus, and the fact that he wants to teach, and learn from others as well, is what this site is all about.

Ferret's History - part 1

How Did I Learn? Well, I guess I'll let the sphere out of the bag.

About 9 yrs. ago I was working at a local Ren. faire through the SCA selling Cola for the Barony. I saw the stage/street performers having 1, a lot of fun. 2, getting paid, to have a lot of fun ( there I said it .) And 3, meeting A LOT of people. I said I could do something like that. But it needs to be something different, something unique. Three days later I saw 'The Movie' and said That's what I'm looking for. I WILL Learn To Do THAT!!!

That really is how it started.

I was determined, I went to all the local college book stores and asked them to track down books on 'Crystal Manipulation' ( that is what the movie calls it. ) at the time I didn't even know it was juggling. Which is why it took 3 months for one book store to find it. Smart clerk, Within a week I had James' book.

The day after it arrived, my rm.mate accidently came across the PBS special at a friends house. Called me up and said “you need to be over here Now! Had a copy waiting when I arrived. I sat in AWE! At what lay before me.

I had less then 9 months to become good enough ( in my mind ) to work the street at the next faire.

I used the video and book in conjunction. I would pause my way through the video one frame at a time, watching how this man would do this and then study the text in the book for insight. If I wasn't working or sleeping, I was working with the ball. Even breaks and lunch, ( my work mates thought I was crazy but they prepared me for dealing with hecklers, BTW, I work in the heavy construction field, high rise steel and bridge work, so you can imagine the level of comments I received. )

I had gone out and purchased a 3" wooden sphere from a craft store for about $4.00 hung it on a string and spray painted it 'chrome' colored. It looked great, for about 2 weeks.

Early on I realized that since I was originally striving to work in front of a crowd, than I better get used to having one nearby. Since I lived near the U.F. campus ( and there was always weird people doing weird things there ) than that would be a great place to destroy any stage fright. It worked! To a certain extent. A college campus is very much like a medieval faire, there is much going on with many people going about their day at different speeds and agendas. You almost get to pick and chose who you want to play for, and they can leave any time they want as well. Perfect training for working the street at a faire.

Getting on a stage, where your audience is locked down, so to speak, for the whole thing, is another animal, and another story as well.

After about three months I was getting a number of one ball moves down - butterflies in many forms, armwalks, and such. and I was also starting to throw in some of my own. Note the word 'throw.' The toss behind the back to a left-hand cradle catch was I think my first 'Flyaway'

Please understand, when I use the term 'My own' moves, I do not for an instant believe that I was the first, let alone ONLY person to think of them. They are merely references to tricks I thought of without any direct CJ influence other than my own imagination.

About 4 months after starting this 'challenge' that I had put to myself. Something magical happened. I could do a number of tricks, and thought at the time that I was progressing well, but in the back of my mind I was aware of the fact that I was 1, sloppy with my moves and 2, I could not correct a move in the middle of trying to do that move. For instance, if I tried an armwalk and I didn't walk it down the right 'balance channel' so that it started to fall half way through the walk. I would just quick grab it with the other hand.

What changed this was a passage in a paperback fiction book I was also reading at the time. In that passage an older, wiser magician tries to teach a student the basis of magic by blindfolding him spinning him around a few times and asking him which way the sun is. After the 2nd try the younger magician points directly at the sun!

page 2