Articles

  • 29 years ago, seven enthusiasts met on the island of Fanoe, Denmark and established the most unique of world kite events. This annual meeting would not be a “festival” in the traditional sense: no sponsorships, no paid attendees, and, for the most part, no formal schedule. From those original kite crazies, the event grew to host well over 8,000 fliers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Kitefliers’ Meeting has held steady with over 5,000 attendees to the present and it maintains a special spirit. People come because they want to come.
  • My kite prints are as much about the craft of making as they are a gentle delight in challenging the notions of what constitutes a print and where the perceived borders between the fine and applied arts end and begin. In the U.K. there are still very distinct borders between that which is perceived as art and that which is then deemed craft. A denial of craft skills seems to me as an educator a sad consequence of current trends. Fortunately this view is changing and I find great enjoyment in making craft works that are shown in an art context.
  • 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.
  • It’s time to reflect on twenty years of the Drachen Foundation and talk about some of the moments that have made us proud. Before doing that, let me take a moment to thank three people who made the Foundation what it is. First, my wife Sherry, who agreed so many years ago to let me pursue this passion and then participated in funding the organization through its history. Sherry was nice enough to let me travel the globe while she managed kids, dogs, and household emergencies. Without Sherry’s support, the Drachen Foundation would have remained nothing but a dream.
  • 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.
  • When you combine a love for nineteenth-century literature with a love for kites, some interesting things happen. As I began researching nineteenth-century kite literature, I realized that there was preciously little material on the subject, even though nineteenth-century stories involving kites abounded.
  • About a year ago, at the Cervia Volante kite festival in Italy, I was lucky enough to bump into one of my favorite kite people; Carl Robertshaw.
  • Harry and Charlie Thuillier are two brothers from the United Kingdom. This August they decided to kite buggy along the coastline of Brazil from Natal to Jericoacoara. They did it without vehicle support, without being able to speak Portuguese, and having only had one lesson in kite buggying. Harry takes up the story…
  • One of the first archival discussions at the Drachen Foundation came from original board member Martin Lester. It was about a rather small and nondescript canvas tube with several surprises inside: a survival kite that was meant to be launched with a flare gun, automatically opening and becoming a rigid, winged-box kite. Additionally, closer inspection of the canvas tube revealed a sophisticated line-management system that encapsulated the flying line in the walls of the tube.
  • With a festival that has run for over thirty years, one that emphasizes the worldwide cultural importance of kites, it is appropriate that Dieppe, France is front-and-center as a kite festival that must be seen. But this year, at Dieppe, a more powerful legacy of kites was found six blocks from the flying site. It was the wonderful collection of Robert Devautour kites in an exhibition organized by Thierry Nénot. Here were two generations of Dieppe kite builders, fliers, and researchers, bound to each other and to the rich history of French kite making.