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Fanbrella

21 August, 2011

I have finished making my Playa Gift.

Let’s say it’s a really hot, still day on the playa. It’s about 1pm, the sun is unreasonably bright and it’s thirtysomething degrees in the shade. And normally you’d be in the shade at this point, but today you are standing in a queue for something delicious, or waiting for someone at the medical centre, or volunteering a shift on some official duty: whatever. It’s hot and you’re stuck. You fan ineffectually at yourself with the little playa events guide booklet. It doesn’t help.

And that’s where my gift comes in:

Cause that always feels badass even if it's actually just a cardboard tube. Which it is.

The plan is to roam the playa with this scabbard on my belt.

Slides out nicely. Getting it back in is a little more difficult.

Aha! A person is fanning themselves ineffectually!

Couldn't really tell you why it's made of an umbrella.

This calls for a fanbrella!

Makes a good umbrellaey noise, too.

Ta-daa!

I hope this works.

... and fan. Aaaaah.

Thus, my gift is “a cool breeze just when you really needed it”. I hope that this will be accompanied by “a spray of cool water just when there happened to be a breeze” provided by Charlie, for double the cooling effect.

The umbrellas were harvested* from the streets of Dublin after some wet and windy weather. I really wanted to use more of the umbrella opening mechanism, but despite consulting with some smart engineers, I couldn’t find a way to make it robust enough (or short enough to fit in my suitcase). I did learn in the process that swanky umbrellas have some really nice swishy fibreglass struts, and that polymorph is much stronger than I expected.

Unlikely Things I Have Ended Up Doing Because Of Burning Man #56: ironing an umbrella skin.


* by Charlie and Eoghan. Thanks guys!

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4 comments

  1. Fantastic! (Well someone had to say it first…)


    • Groan. Can’t believe I didn’t see that coming.


  2. […] year’s epiphany: it’s all about the human interaction. You don’t make a big fan in order to cool people: you make it so that you can talk to them, however briefly. The gifts are […]


  3. […] of Fertile Imagination borrows freely from Roman and Greek culture. Following the success of the Fanbrella last year, I wanted to make some palm-leaf style fans to cool my camp-mates. To the craft-stash! […]



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