The Story of the Flowtoys Modular System

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Flowtoys Modular System

When Sean first discovered firedancing in 1998, he wanted to practice staff, double staff, poi, club swinging, and juggling-sticks. He was backpacking around the world and in order to carry all that equipment with him, he developed a collapsible aluminum staff that could break down into three pieces and transform into all those props. There were 4 wicks, rubber grip and leashes made from inner-tubes that wrapped around the handle when not used for poi. The two smaller sections connected to form a second short staff, and could also be used as poi, clubs, or control sticks. This set-up enabled Sean to practice any of the flow arts he was inspired to whenever the opportunity arose, while traveling around the world.

Sean carried over the concept of modularity and interchangeability in his design of the first flowtoys system of props. The Flowtoys Modular System comprises tubes of various lengths, caps, connectors and lights that are modular and interchangeable, enabling users to create many props with just a few parts. If any one part failed or got lost, it was easy and cheap to replace. The versatility and affordability of the system was an immediate hit. We launched the modular system at the European Juggling Convention in 2008 and sold out of everything - including our booth, which happened to be made out of modular system parts :)

As our artform evolved, flow arts practitioners became more particular about the feel and handling of their props. With modularity and versatility, there can be compromises in handling and security - if something can come apart easily, it might come apart more easily when you're spinning very fast or hard. Our designs have responded to these shifts, and while many of our connectors are still modular and can be taken apart for travel, they aren't as quick-release as the early versions. We try to incorporate as much versatility into our props without compromising their handling. Flowlights and capsule lights, tubes, caps and connectors are all highly modular. The vision system is not quite modular, but we're working towards it!