In the cozy workshop space at Hiromi Paper International, Robert Trepanier introduced seventeen handmade paper aficionados to techniques for making art kites with their favorite material. Robert started off the jam-packed afternoon with a traditional Japanese fish kite, to make clear the value of symmetry in designing a kite that flies easily. Each participant measured out his or her piece of washi (Japanese handmade paper), then dyed it and sparred it to make a kite. Robert also demonstrated how to split bamboo for kite spars.
Students then explored differences in scale by making a miniature kite, with paper folds instead of spars for support and lightweight thread for flying line. With weight minimized, the kites could be flown indoors with little wind. Each was different, and each flew without problem.
The final exercise challenged students to create an independent kite design. Robert gave each student nine bamboo spars to create a frame. He stipulated only that at least two spars must be vertical and two spars horizontal. String secured the spars where they intersected. The students chose paper from Hiromi's stock to make their kite sails. Robert helped each student determine the correct bridling points for their kites.
Drachen thanks Robert Trepanier and Hiromi Paper International for their help in acquainting workshop participants with new ways to use handmade paper in their work as artists and craftspersons.