Updated: Oct 13, 2020
By Lars Mayrand
WHAT ARE ACCORDIONS?
Accordions created by Lars Mayrand is a deck of cards that has been cut and woven together in a way that allows the cards to move around while staying together. No strings attached, adhesives used, or any funny business. Just paper. They’re called accordions because they can expand and contract just like the instrument, an "Accordion". Lars also considered calling them "Snakes".
Accordions are about the same size and thickness as a normal deck of cards.
But they can do some cool stuff and movements that a normal deck can not.
They can spread and hold interesting positions:
They can form curved spreads and fans:
They can bloom!
And so many other possibilities to explore! Here's Shivraj Morzaria doing some cool moves with them:
And here's Lars Mayrand doing some insane stuff with them:
"Every act of Destruction is first an act of Creation" - Shivraj Morzaria
Just imagine the cards spreading and contracting beautifully in this video:
Here’s me doing this isolation with the first Accordion prototype I made (starting at 0:12):
Oddly enough, accordions sucked at doing Isolations but lead to other better ideas and possibilities giving it a stronger purpose to exist." stated Lars.
To achieve the isolation idea above, I needed some sort of gimmicked deck that could slide into a spread while staying together. I loved "Cardestroy" by Shivraj Morzaria. So the first thing I thought of was to try and come up with some sort of cardestroy mechanism of cut and linked cards.
I experimented with cutting and slotting cards for a while and created a two card system. Just two cards that are linked together but can slide while staying linked. I slowly added more cards to it and developing a three or four card system which was harder. I sketched out lots of ideas that didn’t work. Some designs slid in one direction but not the other, some designs slid at weird angles, others slid but fell apart too easily. Eventually, through trial and error, I found a design that worked well enough to do the isolation I had in mind." said Lars.
The idea of Accordions occurred to Lars around late 2016 and he made the first working model by early 2017.
"Having a functional model, I optimized it for ease of handling, ease of making, visual impact, stability, and beauty.
A key issue was deciding how much the locked cards should slide horizontally and vertically. More sliding allows for longer spreads and more shapes, but makes the Accordion harder to close and less fun to use. This is particularly true for vertical sliding. I found spreading about 1.3 cm horizontally and about 0.3 cm vertically provided great visuals while being able to handle well.
Accordion variations are totally possible. Accordions that spread more or less in any direction, that spread primarily vertically, diagonally, or even circularly. These are interesting but not as versatile and practical.
When I first made them, I thought of it mostly as an art piece rather than something to make moves with. Two years later I showed them to Michael Stern just for fun and he convinced me Shivraj could do stuff with it. Then when Shivraj showed me the moves he created with them I was like… damn ok!" said Lars.
Later the first small batch of Accordions by Lars Mayrand in collaboration with Michael Stern made with Hype V2 Playing Cards was sold at the Cardistry-Con 2018, Hong Kong.
Official Accordions release still to come!
DIFFERENCES: ACCORDIONS AND ELECTRIC DECK
Ever heard about an "Electric Deck" or played with one when you were young? If not, an electric deck is basically a deck of cards where every card is strung together in a chain by strings, making it very easy to fake pulling of cascade and spread moves. It has been popular among magicians. So the big question is:How are Accordions different from Electric Decks?
Well they are, in fact there are major differences between the two. According to Lars:
An Electric Deck acts like a Slinky, while Accordions hold their shape.
An Electric Deck can not slide in both the directions while Accordions can.
An Electric Deck uses a string to attach the cards together while Accordions use cut cards and a slotting system to keep them together.
An Electric Deck opens and closes practically by itself while Accordions require more skill to maneuver.
Since an Electric Deck does not hold its shape and slide in both the ways, a lot of Accordion movements are not possible with them. That's how they're completely different from each other.
For a better comparison between the two, here's Lars performing same moves with an Electric Deck and Accordions:
And hence this sums up the differences.
TIPS TO CREATE
"In my experience, designing moves with Accordions is not much different from designing traditional cardistry moves. Moves are just an opener, main action and the closer. I think of a cool premise for a move and refine it’s opener, main action and closer till I am happy with it." explained Lars.
Making moves with Accordions is cool but it’s not necessary. They’re a lot of fun to just mess around with, making weird shapes and movements. Accordions can also inspire your cardistry in general. When playing with an interesting accordion position the natural question is, “can I do this with cards?”.
"The key lesson here is that Cardestroy is fucking awesome. A normal deck of cards has unlimited possibilities but many limitations. Many shapes and ideas can't be done practically or at all with a normal deck of cards. But if you modify cards, the possibilities multiply." said Lars.
So explore cool ways of manipulating decks and play your Accordion. Pun intended.
Are Accordions considered to be a form of Cardistry or is it different?
LARS: I consider Accordion moves equivalent to Cardistry. Specifically a sub genre of Cardestroy. Despite Accordions being modified decks, the concept shares so much in common with Cardistry. The grips, the designs and the flows look and feel like cardistry to me.
How are Accordions different from an Electric Deck?
LARS: For your answer you should check out the topic "DIFFERENCES: ACCORDIONS AND ELECTRIC DECK" above. That should be explanatory. Also I think having no stings attached is pretty neat!
Do Accordions use any sort of adhesives to keep the cards together?
LARS: No. Accordions does not use any sort of strings, adhesives or any funny business. They are made using cut cards and a slotting method I came up with.
Is it too difficult to make them?
LARS: It’s not difficult but it takes time and patience. Cutting them by hand is tedious.
Do you use 52 cards to make them?
LARS: I like using 52 cards but Accordions can be constructed with any number of cards. Around thirty cards is easy to handle, while fifty two allows for more interesting moves due to its length. More than fifty-two is pretty cool too! However, closing an over-sized Accordion is difficult to do gracefully.
Which are you all time favourite Accordion creations, original and unoriginal?
LARS: My favourite Accordion moves are as follows:
Original Creation: My favorite Accordion move I’ve made is this one handed circle bloom:
It’s got a sick opener, cool display, and snappy closer. I like how it’s practical, visual, and surprising. The opener uses the weight of the Accordion well and the way the thumb clips the ends of the Accordion together is really satisfying. There are other ways of making this shape, such as a thumb cut, but I think this method’s mechanics are pretty sick.
Unoriginal Creation: My favorite unoriginal Accordion move has to be "Doduo Fan" by Shivraj Morzaria:
Great opener, display and closer. Super cool shape that just emerges out of nowhere. And the mechanics just make so much sense! Really fun move.
Have you sold them yet?
LARS: As mentioned above, I made a small batch of Accordions in collaboration with Michael Stern for the Cardistry Con 2018. And another small batch of Fontaine Carrots v2 for the Carrots v2 pop-up. Official release still to come!
Will you make a tutorial about making Accordions at some point?
LARS: Absolutely! Sometime after they go on sale.
What are your future plans for it?
LARS: I’m currently working on producing and selling them. I would love for people to buy/make them and create moves and videos and just have fun with them. Maybe one day holding an Accordion contest would be cool!