Drachen Foundation Newsletter: June 2009

Margaret Greger’s Whirlwind of Kites

What makes someone memorable in kiting? It’s how they filled the skies, and in the case of Margaret Greger, she did just that.

Margaret Haun Greger, 85, passed away like a gentle breeze. She was peacefully at her home with her family, survived by a loving husband Greg and seven children. Born in Harrisburg, Nebraska, she graduated and married Greg. In 1950, they moved to the Tri-Cities of Washington, where Greg was employed by the Hanford Project. It was here that they raised their seven children. Perhaps it was these seven children that brought kiting to her, always looking for that special something to entertain her children and their friends in the neighborhood.

An activist of life, Margaret was engaged in both the Catholic Church and the politics of the Democratic Party. In the 1960s she fought for civil rights, and served with the Audubon Society as their librarian.

Interestingly, kiting came into her life in a bigger role as her children left home. She devoted her time to kite flying, making and teaching. She networked with all the earlier kite enthusiasts through impeccably typewriter written letters, and it is this collection of letters she gifted to Drachen which documents her conversations with the likes of Bill Ingraham, Dave Checkley, and Tal Streeter, just to name a few. Her ability to find information on kites embowered her with information to impart to others. She carried this information with her to the area schools with her program of kite making.  She was affectionately known as “The Kite Lady.” With few good books on the market to help her teachers and their students, she took on the job of writing and illustrating and self publishing five kite making books. Her first was, Blown Sky-High: Kites for the Classroom, in 1977, followed by More Simple Kites, 1979, Simple Fabric Kites, 1982, Kites for Everyone, 1984, (revised and reissued three times), More Kites for Everyone, 1990, and revised in 2000.

In 1996, she was honored by being named American Kite Magazine’s Kite Person of the Year. In 2002, she was inducted into the World Kite Museum’s Hall of Fame. These two awards honor her 40 years of dedication to kiting, having taught thousands of adults and children how to make and fly kites.


Junction Texas Kite Retreat

For those of you who have been lucky to be a part of the many years of kiting fun of Junction Texas, you will be happy to know that it still exists and is running strong each Memorial Day Weekend (usually the last weekend in May of each year).

Started by the operational genius of bill lockhart and Betty Street, Texas Tech University art educators and kite makers, the retreat hosted the best and the brightest from all over the world for over 10 years.

The format was simple. Betty and bill found and organized the talent and preformed the logistics of taking care of you while you were there for a unique and amazing experience of kite making. Participants were able to learn from the experts, achieving personal success, be it the construction and flight of an Afghani fighter kite or a traditional Japanese kite from one of the many regions of their country. 

The other magic was the cross breeding and exchange of ideas. Give a group of international kite makers three days and wonderful exchanges of ideas and techniques happen. The world of kites became networked.

Although the Betty and bill Junction ended in 1998, the spirit of the creative process continues and still features kites.

Directed by Judy Kingerly of Abilene, Texas, the format is that of “you all just come, bring something to share, open up and participate.”

This year, Junction qualified for a Drachen grant and was able to host two artists to add to the creative environment.  The artists featured were Dave Edwards teaching cuttlebone casting, and welding metals for jewelry. Bob Josjor, who introduced hammered copper bowls. These two diverse art workshops brought to their attention the art of the flying kite. Who knows what will cross breed with the yakko, Chinese Coaster kites, post office box kites, and dyeing fabric for kite sails? 

Rumors are about for a big reunion of Junctionites in 2010. Could the Japanese be back? How about those other stars of yester years?


DF Merchandise

After many long years, our line of inexpensive but actual flying kite kits have hit big in marketing. It has been our commitment to give teachers the best of flight, that happy kite flying experience, without “disturbing complexity.” This means, using the best of kite makers (Robert Trepanier, Michael Alvares, Lindsay and Ronda Brewer, Greg Kono, Nobuhiko Yoshizumi and Mikio Toki, just to name a few) with the properties of good flight and including ALL the materials! One-stop shopping with the lowest price! Our kite kits start at only $1.00. 

The month of April was incredibly busy; we had everyone working in production. Our production and product fulfillment warehouse in Tieton Washington sold almost everything out by mid April.

We hope that our line of kits have satisfied the needs of our downward economy, too…affordability and performance, here’s an example of what our customers are saying:

“I am teaching a Folk Art class this year, and kites are a perfect way to end the year. I am excited to find a project with such strong cross-curricular ties. What a great resource!”
- Dawn, MN

“I love the correlation between math and art that your foundation is promoting.”
- Jenni, VA

“It was such an exceptional experience to engage in the 10,000 Kites Fantasia with you, Scott, and all at Drachen." 
- Suzy, CA

“Thanks for your help in getting me the box kite kit. It arrived in time for the event, and was very successful. Appreciate your going the extra mile to make certain I received it on time.”
- Jon, MA

“What can I say? You’re such a gift to the Hilltop House!! The kite making and flying exceeded my expectations tenfold. It was exhilarating watching all the troubles disappear in the gentle breeze.”
- Karen, WA

DF Online Store


Walk-Up Kites

It is impossible for Drachen to be at every festival, no matter what variety or location, but we have been able to assist as many festivals as possible with our low number staff and limited supplies.

If an organization is interested in having a “walk up kite” at their event, they should contact, info@drachen.org to qualify.

Non-profit organizations *(proof must be given) will be gifted 200 paper walk up kites (all the materials) for free, all for the cost of mailing, and in exchange 10 photos of the event/ the kites in use. 

Kites over the 200 can be purchased for $1.00 each or you can print your own sails and just purchase the bamboo and winders that go them.

For example winders are 10 for $3.50 (plastic winders with good cotton line that does not fray or unravel). In cases of large numbers, like Utah Arts Festival, we will discount.

Here’s a short list of festivals we’ve helped in 2009

Japanese Garden, Seattle, Washington
Chinese Garden, Portland, Oregon
Utah Arts, Salt Lake City, Utah
Antelope Festival, Salt Lake City, Utah
Wing Luke Museum, Seattle, Washington
Mighty Tieton Festival Days, Tieton, Washington
Giant Magnet Children’s Festival, Seattle and Tacoma, Washington
Smithsonian Kite Day, Washington, DC
Washington County Historical Museum, Beaverton, Oregon
Japanese Gardens, Alberta, Canada


Kite Power Symposium

The Drachen Foundation is pleased to invite interested parties to the Second Kite Power Symposium in Seattle, Washington. Having hosted 2006’s Kite Sailing Symposium, the Drachen Foundation is broadening its kite-energy scope to monitor and encourage wind-energy innovators worldwide. Discussions of the use of kite power, will explore the use of kite power, not only in the applications of ideas, but serious projects in production at this time.

Presentations will be made of qualitative and quantitative findings in the areas of kite wind-power extraction. Latest advancements will be presented from diverse wind-power projects related to kiting. These presentations will cover both, field test results as well as theory and analytical techniques that are being employed to advance the state of the art of kite wind-power development.

This two-and-a-half day symposium is now interested in soliciting papers for presentation and abstracts. Send to: Drachen Foundation, ali@drachen.org 

Plan to be with us!
Dates: October 15th -17th, 2010
Location: Center for Wooden Boats/South Lake Union
Registration for symposium: $125.00 per person that will cover lunches/dinners.
Hotels: On your own, we will provide a list of area hotels.                   

Thursday night, October 15th:      
5pm - 8pm
Dinner and Welcome
Guest Speaker: George Dyson 
George Dyson is a historian of technology whose interests have included the development (and redevelopment) of the Aleut kayak (Baidarka, 1986), the evolution of digital computing and telecommunications (Darwin Among the Machines, 1997), and the exploration of space (Project Orion, 2002). Dyson, who lives in Bellingham, Washington, divides his time (unevenly) between building boats and writing books. He is currently writing (for Pantheon/Penguin) what he describes as “a creation myth for the digital universe,” based on the confluence of people, technology, and ideas surrounding the Electronic Computer Project at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, between 1945 and 1956.

Friday, October 16
Presentation of papers and dinner

Saturday, October 17
Presentation of papers and dinner

Drachen Symposium Chairs:
Scott Skinner
Joe Hadzicki
Dave Lang


More Moku Hanga 2009

The Richard Steiner Workshop Tour Summer, 2009

Learn how to print Japanese style, “wet on wet”

Chinshi Yu-shih, art critic

I’ve known Richard Steiner as a printmaker from his Hiroshima days in the early 1970’s, when he first began studying under Masahiko Tokumitsu. His early works were assignments from his teacher in the Independent Printmaker Movement, and so reflected that style and technique. The emphasis was more on art than craft, on realistic renderings than pure self-expression. After 10 years, he received his artist's name, Tosai, and a teacher's license, then opened his own workshop in Kyoto. His first student was a young Indian woman, an exchange college student. After her there followed many more foreigners, but the vast majority of students were and still are Japanese.

Richard Steiner was born in Michigan, USA, in 1939. His father was a code maker and breaker for the Army during the war, then a life-long postal employee. His mother was a court reporter and traveler. From her, Richard got his curiosity for going to other countries. Both he and his younger sister, Leslie, have strong creative talents; hers covers both two- and three-dimensional art, while his was originally photography, and after 1970, woodblock printmaking. He is married to Kimiko, a translator and owner at SAT, Steiner Art Translate Bureau. 

Quitting a career in fashion photography in New York City in 1970, Richard accepted a job to teach English in Hiroshima for a private school where he worked for one year. He then taught for another school and also privately until moving in 1972 to Kyoto, which he has made his permanent home. In 1974 he married Kimiko Kuroda from Okayama City. She is an art and religion translator with well over 100 publications to her name.

This is a very brief introduction. As he always says, to understand him, one need only look at his prints; a true artist creates only self-portraits, regardless of what the subject matter seems to be. As the artist's moods change, so does the output of his or her hands. A careful study of Richard's prints will reveal what he is thinking and feeling as well as the trajectory of his oeuvre so far.

Portland, Oregon               
August 17-21 Hosted by McClains Printmaking Supplies

Seattle, Washington
August 22-23, Saturday and Sunday 10-4
August 29-30, Saturday and Sunday 10-4
At this site we will add a small introduction to kitemaking as the Japanese used the art of woodblock printing to mass produce their kites
Sev Shoon Arts Center
2862 NW Market St. Seattle, WA 98107
Hosted by the Drachen Foundation.

Tieton/Yakima, Washington
September 12-13
September 19-20
Hosted by Goathead Press, Tieton Washington