Musing

I've started in a new direction, artistically, and it is directly related to the Foundation's archive and collection. I was inspired many years ago by the kites made by Stormy Weathers. His victory star and similar designs were almost always the first kites up and last ones down, regardless of wind. But he made all the classic designs and I have always been enamored by his barndoor kite. It is a refined design; single-point bridle, all the sticks cross at a single point, relatively high on the kite surface (about 1/4th the total height, from the top), and all the sticks are the same length. Stormy made his out of the Sunday Funnies and the resulting kite, (around 24" X 24") was a beautiful, functional flier. Stormy felt it was one of the best-flying kites in his arsenal - high praise, indeed.


Stormy Weathers comic kite (sled kite shown, not barndoor)

The Foundation's collection includes kites and written material, including plan-work, by Stormy. It also has kites made by Stormy's contemporary, Harold Writer, great examples of "old-style" kite making. Both were meticulous craftsmen in their own way: Harold with new materials married to traditional framework, Stormy with found materials for sails and structures. The commonality between the two is that the resulting kites performed exceptionally.


Stormy Weathers, himself

As will be seen in the coming August 2010 edition of Discourse the final element to my new kite-making direction are the graphic historical references to hexagonal or barndoor kites. These show up in a variety of late 19th-Century, early 20th-Century prints from books, magazines, and even school material. These were obviously a popular kite shape, probably passed from fathers to sons, and refined in a number of ways. We find them today in different proportions, different bow-spars, and different materials. They were and still are kite that needs a tail, so are ideal for heavy winds. One of the finest I've ever seen was made by a Mexican man from Veracruz, Mexico. Very similar to hexagonal kites of the Caribbean, but distinctly his own.