Articles

  • 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.
  • Department of Tethered Aviation (DOTA): A collection of talented, self-motivated individuals with common goals and visions of creating kite aerial displays that highlight the beauty and power of the wind.
  • In the past few years, there have been some fine books that you should consider adding to your kite library. Two are from the world of fine art: one features the life and work of Tyrus Wong; the other, the contemporary work of Jacob Hashimoto. If you are at all interested in paper and bamboo kites, On Paper will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about paper.
  • There has always been a Hashimoto in my life. My first pull of air was in the arms of a Hashimoto, the famed Dr. Edward Hashimoto of University of Utah, who brought me and my entire Utah family into the world. Since then, I can track Hashimotos (artists, kitemakers, writers, scientists) popping up through my long list of life experiences – this list ends with the most recent, Jacob Hashimoto.
  • For two years in the 1960s I was the assistant to Benjamin Thompson, the Chairman of the Department of Architecture at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. Each spring the students held a Beaux Arts weekend which included a Kite Flight on the banks of the Charles River. There were elaborate and beautiful kites and silly prizes. It occurred to me at the time that the Kite Flight could be expanded to both sides of the river and hundreds of people could participate.
  • Art has been in my life for as long as I can remember. It existed in basic forms of imagery and objects viewed by people, admired in museums, and bought and sold in galleries. As a child, I was always drawing but would never have called myself an artist. Artists were almost mythical creatures in my eyes: men and women of museum and gallery legend. I, on the other hand, was always exploring nature and science. For me, representing the physical world through art was a way of better understanding its functions and processes.