Jim Day: The Man Who Builds Wooden Kites

Ben Ruhe
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Jim Day is one of the stalwarts of the Seattle kite scene. “He’s an example of a person who finds kites a perfect focus for his very bright, single focus personality,” says Ali Fujino of the Drachen Foundation. “He gives, doesn’t take. He is really interested in kites and kite people. He’s the all-knowing guru and a great resource.”

Because he has volunteered as a host for visiting kite personalities visiting Seattle, often enroute to the annual Long Beach festival or Fort Worden workshops, both among the most renowned of West Coast kite events, he has gotten to know many luminaries from around the world: Trepanier, Fabre, Gressier, Brockett, Yoshizumi, Peters, Wolfenden, Sholz, Skinner, Wharton. He has not only collected their kites but has gotten detailed information on kites and kitemaking from them. “Day teams up with others,” notes Fujino. “He makes things happen. He’s a good adviser, good at finding information. He has the kind of sixth sense of the mole which permits him to nose out useful information. He’s an able problem-solver. He’s shrewd and he’s sharp.”

These encomiums surprise Day somewhat since he portrays himself in an unassuming light. Born 54 years ago in Seattle’s posh Medina section (home to Bill Gates), he was raised in a palatial Frank Lloyd Wright-style house, but a child he was an underachiever in a family of high achievers, father a very successful dentist, mother an artist and collector, two brothers with Ph.Ds and a third an airline pilot.

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