Webb Taylor of Portsmouth Virginia is an accomplished kite maker of small kites that are really creative and interesting.
Coming from a background in aeronautics, the retired Mr. Taylor took up the making of small kites as a hobby. Webb has crafted some terrific small kites as he progresses in skill with this type of kite making.
Webb's work with kites and photos of his kites are found in a HamptonRoads.com on-line newspaper article by Cindy Clayton published in The Virginian-Pilot on July 11, 2010. The article is entitled "Hooked on Kite Making". The excellent photos that accoompany the article are by Steve Early of The Virginian-Pilot.
I found the article to be interesting for several reasons:
- Webb's kite designs are truly high quality small kites.
- Good photos of some of the steps that Webb uses to fashion his kites (these photos could be a guide to anyone wanting to get started in this type of kite making).
- A description of the type of bamboo that he uses for the framing materials (Webb splits ordinary bamboo food skewers to get the thin bendable strips of bamboo necessary for this type of kite construction).
- The article is more in depth than most standard newspaper articles about kites.
Journalist Cindy Clayton has done a great job in covering this story and showing the fine craftsmanship of Webb Taylor.
Perhaps this article about Webb Taylor's kite making will encourage you to start some kite making on a smaller scale.
For Additional Reading:
One of the finest miniature kite makers is Glenn Davison, a New England kite artist of world renown from Massachusetts. Glenn's web site, miniaturekitingusa.com, includes galleries of his amazing kites, plans and building tips to get you started or raise your skill with this fascinating aspect of kite building.
There has been much discussion about the effects of the kite flying ban imposed in 2005 in Pakistan to curtail the sale and flying of kites for the spring Basant festival.
The ban was supposedly implemented to reduce the number of fatalities and the damage caused by thousands of kites flown during the Basant festival. There can be no doubt that the glass and chemical coated string did cause a good deal of damage and injury to some citizens and birds. When taut, the coated kite string can cut flesh and has been documented to be the cause of serious injury and even death each year.
In addition, some segments of the population saw the kites and kite flying aspects of Basant as too secular and against more traditional religious beliefs and customs.
So, in 2005 the Pakistan government passed a law banning the sale of the kites and kite line during the festival. This severly hampered the livelihood of kite makers and vendors. In addition, the ban also affected the sights and flavour of the Basant festival. Formerly the skies were filled with colourful battling kites by the hundreds and thousands, Today, only a few daring kiters send their kites soaring to the skies.
It is feared by some that the rich tradition of Pakistani kite making and flying will be lost over the coming years.
In March of 2010 the English language branch of the AlJazeera Network examined the current kite flying situation during Basant in Pakistan.
The history of kites and kite flying in Pakistan has a long and rich history. One can only hope that the skills of kite making and kite flying will not be lost over the coming years.
For additional background on the kites of Pakistan and their role in the festival of Basant, see my earlier article entitled: Kites in Pakistan: the kites of Basant in Lahore, Pakistan.
On February 6, 2010 a group of interested kite enthusiasts gathered at Discovery Landing, on the Lake Ontario shoreline in Burlington, Ontario, to immerse themselves in day dedicated to the exploration of kite history. This was the first ever Kite History Symposium held in eastern North America.
The event was sponsored and organized by the Canadian Kite Museum under the direction of George Paisiovich, Museum Founder and Director.
The program for the day featured:
- a two hour informal morning gathering of the registered kiters examining historic kite artefacts, photographs and print materials;
- a welcome to the Kite History Symposium by George Paisiovich in which he outlined his goal of providing a periodic forum for the discussion and advancement of knowledge of kite history;
- a one hour presentation by Bob White of Port Colborne, ON about the kites of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell. This preliminary report on research in progress brought participants up to date on the work being done to carefully detail the step by step progress made by Dr. Bell on his path to understand the principles of flight and to get a person into the air.
- a presentation by Meg Albers of Buffalo, NY on the kite exploits of Homan Walsh whose kite helped to build a bridge across the Niagara River in 1848. Meg also revealed some documents she has received that prove the use of kites during the American Civil War. She continues her research into kites in the Civil War era.
- a two hour presentation by Thom Shanken of Waterloo, NY about his research into the world's oldest kite currently located at the Drachen Foundation in Seattle, WA. Thom Shanken, an expert in 16th century kites, was invited by the Drachen Foundation to examine the kite and make a detailed analysis of this amazing historical find. Thom presented slides and an interesting description of his work with the kite. Following this, a replica of the kite was constructed by the participants. The replica is detailed in the slide show below. The replica is now part of the collection of the Canadian Kite History Museum.
At the end of the day, the participants gathered for an informal evening meal and conversation about the events of the day.
A terrific slide show of the Kite History Symposium was prepared by Ted Shaw of the Great Lakes Kitefliers in Western New York state. My appreciation is extended to Ted for allowing me to share his photos of the event here.
The next Kite History Symposium sponsored by the Canadian Kite Museum will be held in October 2010. As details are announced I will provide a link to the information here.
Appreciation is extended to George Paisiovich for his outstanding work in support of the preservation of kite history and efforts to foster and disseminate knowledge of current kite history research work that is underway.
Carol and Wayne Campbell are owners of the Hila Outdoor Centre on the Ottawa River in Ontario, Canada. This twelve acre facility recently celebrated 25 years of science and nature education. The Hila Outdoor Centre has an excellent reputation for strong educational programs in the sciences.
One of the most innovative aspects of the Hila Centre's work is the outreach and followup program that Carol and Wayne employ using videos to support teachers, parents and students in learning.
Their video on making a kite is one of the best, short educational videos to assist teachers with some of the principles of kite flight. In addition, the step by step procedure for making a 'sled kite' is a sure way to achieve success with a classroom program in kite building. The kite that the Hila Outdoor Centre video features is the 'sled' kite. It is a simple to make, yet sure to fly kite that is excellent for educational purposes.
Carol and Wayne's work was featured in a recent technology in education blog on the prestigious Edutopia website.
If you need additional information about using kites in the classroom, please contact me.
Blending traditional Chinese kitemaking skills and kite forms with recycled materials, Chinese kitemaker Han Fushan is making some very unique kites.
The traditional materials for Chinese kites range from silk and rice paper to fiber made from plants. Split bamboo, which is very flexible, is used for the framing. These materials have been the basis for Chinese kites for hundreds of years.
However, Han Fushan is adding a new element to the process: recycled plastic bags in many colours to replace the more expensive silk and rice paper.
In a feature story in the November 8, 2009 edition of New Tang Dynasty Television, Han Fushan's kiite making is shown with video of the kite maker and his wonderful creations.
Formerly a construction engineer who worked with architectural drawings, Han turned his skills into a new hobby, kite making, in 2000. To date he has created more than 600 original kites which he flies regularly in a park near his home.
Han's friends are saving bags for him and look forward to viewing his new creations on his daily morning outing in the park. He has gathered a regular following of spectators who sometimes assist him in launching his creations.
Han is a true kite artist and his kites, as shown in the video story on New Tang Dynasty Television, are creative, colourful and noteworthy.
The joy of kite making is evident in the work and the smile of Han Fushan.