Articles

  • In taking stock of some of the obscure collectibles in my back room, I ran across this unexpected image: a model-worthy woman retrieving a kite from power lines (top image at left)! It led me to think about my friend, Jose Sainz, who for the last decade or so has worked for San Diego Gas and Electric (Sempra Energy) to put all of these wires underground. One of many reasons for doing so is to keep company personnel from having to do the very thing my German friend is shown doing in the bottom image at left.
  • Introduction by Ali Fujino In 2005 Scott Skinner and I had the good fortune to be a part of a washi paper tour of Japan, organized by the handmade paper goddess Hiromi Katayama. We traveled from Osaka to Kochi visiting traditional handmade paper makers and meeting the families involved.
  • Part I: Making a Go of It My experience with kites began on Coney Island with two female friends of mine, Lee and Julia. We made a beach date – our bags packed with some of the vices of youth (beer, cigarettes) and a handful of kites from the dollar store. I watched as Julia and Lee tried to assemble the kites and then fly them. They came without instructions for assembly. We felt a little inadequate not knowing how to put together such common objects without referring to directions. We tried to figure it out ourselves.
  • In over 25 years of kiting, I have had many opportunities to write about kite personalities as part of my job for the Drachen Foundation. With each opportunity, I have been both charmed and bemused, as I have learned so much more about individuals I thought I already knew.
  • I grew up on a kite field. Several days, weeks, and even months of my childhood were spent with Eddys, edos, box kites, rokkakus, stunt kites, Chinese dragons, and sode-dakos (to name a few). Kites have taken me to locations across the United States and beyond; I’ve flown a kite above the Great Wall of China, among the hustle and bustle of London, and on a cow pasture in Thailand. These kite excursions with my father have given me a world of cultural knowledge, a lifetime of fun experiences and memories, and colorful acquaintances such as Dave Gomberg, Peter Lynn, and Modegi-san.
  • One of the highlights of last year’s “Tako Kichi: Kites of Japan” exhibition at Santa Fe’s Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) was a beautiful display of miniature kites by Nobuhiko Yoshizumi. The exhibit, curated by Japanese kite collector and aficionado David Kahn, and featuring many of the kites from his massive collection, was a comprehensive survey of the kites of Japan and included several 100-plus-year-old kites, large paper koi no bori (fish kites), and many ukiyo-e (a genre of Japanese woodblock prints).
  • For twenty years I have been taking low-level aerial photographs using cameras lofted by kites. Considering the abundant buzz about drones these days, kite aerial photography (KAP) might seem a bit anachronistic. Indeed, kites were used for aerial photography long before the airplane was invented. However old, they remain a very practical platform for aerial photography in the current day. As my work in kite aerial photography matured, the technique led to topics, relationships, and communities that have been richly rewarding.
  • For almost three years, the Drachen Foundation Board has explored possibilities of selling the extensive Drachen collection in order to ensure its long term existence as well as to finance the future of the Drachen Foundation website. Our priority was to keep the collection in as few “pieces” as possible – the logistics of selling individual kites and objects would make a large project huge.
  • Rube Goldberg. You know, the guy with the crazy, over-engineered, mechanical contraptions that do very simple tasks in very complicated ways. That’s what got me into this internship program with my high school alma mater. It all started during my son’s freshman year. The school puts on an annual open house event where the students display projects and activities they work on for a month during the winter break. Some go on trips to Europe, some do cooking classes, and some build things.
  • I’ve told the story to many of you, but it bears repeating now that I’ve taken two old kite flying friends with me to Callaway, Nebraska. Twenty-four years ago I was contacted by a woman who knew nothing about kites and kite flying, but who was the #1 advocate for her small Nebraska town of Callaway. Working for the local chamber of commerce, Connie May called me to see if a local kite fly might be a way for the town to attract late-summer, Labor Day tourists.