Articles

  • Like all stories, there is a beginning and an end. This one has a definite beginning, and hopefully there is no end. In our 20th year anniversary, we wanted to celebrate those things in our history which made Drachen special. For me, it is one person, Scott Skinner.
  • A hobby and sport in the West and a religious celebration in the East, kiting became international in the last two decades through increased global travel and because the internet made verbal connections fast and easy. Intelligent patronage by the Drachen Foundation helped these developments significantly.
  • Introduction by Ali Fujino Throughout time, there has been, what I refer to, as “the force of great ideas…” They can be big or small in nature, but to qualify, they must evolve from the unique vision of an individual who has the ability to put them into action. FLOAT Beijing is one of these great ideas, a participatory design, mapping and open source data visualization project using air quality sensing kites. I came across this project in one of my weekly passes reviewing stories of kites on the internet.
  • In a part of the world, Asia, where tradition still rules, Taiwanese kitemaker Buteo Huang is a brilliant exception. Having crafted the whole array of traditional Chinese kites as a kind of warmup, Buteo is now turning out avant-garde creations----many obvious masterpieces- ---that are winning him fame in the global kite world.
  • Naish International was the first Maui water sports equipment manufacturer to outsource kite production to China. Starting in the early 1990s, Robby Naish, owner, and Don Montague, designer, sent their kite work to a factory in Chenzhen, near Guangzhou, the former Canton, to take advantage of low cost labor. Some 1,000 young women aged 20 to 24, mostly emigrants to the big city from rural farms, produce not only kites but bags, accessories, and so forth for Naish and numerous other companies.
  • Xian, China, home of the famous underground ceramic army, is also home to the three best makers of mechanical kites in the country, if not the world.
  • Eve Hanney, of Weymouth, England, is a darling of Chinese kiting, often photographed, filmed, and interviewed. “The Kiteflying Granny,” she is called. After eight trips to China, she knows her way around politically. “I’m aiming for a front row seat with the top officials at the 2008 yachting Olympics in Chingdao,” she says. “That’s my goal. I’m not looking beyond ’08, when I’ll be 74.”
  • Li Ruo Xin (better known by his nickname Mo Dou Li) is a Beijing kitemaker who lives closer to the Great Wall of China than to the capital. A former technician at the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing, he and wife are now retired and living in a new three-story house in Xiang Tang village overlooking a large public park and gorgeous, very close encircling mountains.
  • Have enough kite pins, patches, caps, and festival tee-shirts to last a lifetime? Well, China has other kite collectibles well worth considering. New Year’s woodblock prints with kite motif are inexpensive and often beautiful. They are a 300-year-old tradition. Kite postage stamps are another option as are low denomination coins with a kite theme. Mass-produced but quite elegant and inexpensive miniature kites are a fourth. Inexpensive and unusual are traditional paper cutouts of kites and people flying them.
  • Chan Fo Kwong, of Hong Kong, has organized several associations of which he is the chairman. They are devoted to chess; the lute; Bor-Yea Buddhism; antique watches and clocks; calligraphy and painting; pot plants and gardening; research on antiques; and, most charmingly, the Hong Kong International Deserving Genius Association. Not a one has a single member other than Chan. “I feel upset whenever I think about it,” he says.