Wednesday, April 27, 2011

K is for...

K is for...kites

I have three kites hanging in the big room (part of the studio part of the house), two dragon kites and a butterfly kite. They are very cool and I won't fly them because I don't seem able to hang on to a kite. I get them airborne and then hand the string over to one grandkid or another and the next thing I know the kite is in the top of a tree across the street.

We flew kites sometimes when I was a kid down at the beach. The wind is constant there and if you get it aloft then it will pretty much stay there until you haul it down. Not much challenge.

Not much wind available to you when you live in the middle of a big city though. I think I probably took my kids down to the park at the end of our street in the city, to the open field where they play baseball and soccer and tried to loft a kite or two with little success.

Soon after the kids were born, I saw an article in National Geographic about the kite fights in Japan. One image in particular of a tangle of kites in the air really appealed to me and I did a full lite panel for our front door using that photograph as a design. I loved that piece of glass. It was very simple, done in the days before we really started to explore the possibilities, just etched and clear, but it always remained one of my favorite things. Our son broke it during his teenage years, quite by accident, but broken nonetheless. I don't care for the hurry up replacement that has stood in it's place all these years and never have. A moot point by now since we don't live there any longer.

Granny, the string broke.”

That's how we lost the last kite. I paid a whopping two bucks for it at the grocery store. I already don't remember what it's picture was. Cheap kite, cheap string.

The kite before that one got lost because the string was not tied onto the handle. A different g'kid let all the string out and away it went. It was shaped like a white owl. Still, a cheap plastic kite bought at the grocery store.

They wanted to fly one of my kites. No, no, I don't think so. The butterfly kite, at least, is very fragile. It's made of heavy painted tissue paper (or close enough) and is starting to tear with the least tug. I've had it the longest, about 12 or 15 years.

Out here at the country house, we get a nice south wind off the 13 acre field and we have that handy empty half acre right next to us. Perfect for wind powered entertainment. I think we will try our hand at making our own kites this summer when the g'kids come visit, one at a time.

In the meantime, the grocery store has a large display of kites ranging from $2 to $9. I was tempted by another dragon kite the other day, this one for the g'kids to fly but in the end I couldn't make up my mind and Marc was gesturing to me wildly in the check out stand so I didn't get one.

That was a couple of weeks ago. I imagine the selection is now somewhat slim.


  1. Oh man, I love kites. Where I live there aren't too many good places to fly them, but of course they can always serve as beautiful things to just look at.

  2. I used to go down and watch a man daily flying a set of kites along the beach in WA. When I was a kid kites were ten cents as well as the ball of string.I like your decorative models.

  3. Kites are magical! Wonderful idea to decorate a high-ceilinged studio with them.

  4. Oh it's so true about beach kite-flying. We have a bat kite that just won't quit, year after year. That string unfurls, we plant ourselves in the sandchairs, and while away the morning, dipping and diving that kite off in the blue yonder.

  5. In HK and Cape Town kite flying was something of a sport - the kites themselves absolute masterpieces - love your decorative ones.

  6. oh Ellen I love the butterfly kite. I remember flying kites at home but I have no idea of their pattern or design. have a great weekend. hugs.

  7. Beautiful kites! Maybe I'll get a cheap one to play with when we go to my dad's next month. We're getting PLENTY of wind up here, but no big fields to run around in (ha! like I would actually RUN).

  8. A friend of my parents brought back a kite from the middle east (Iran or Iraq). One spring day we all took it out to fly it. I remember it was glorious in beauty and flight. In fact, a tree thought it was so beautiful, it had to have it. One of my small town memories is that half the town turned out along with both the fire department and power company to convince that tree to give the treasure back. With heroic efforts, the tree yielded and returned the kite to us. It was taken inside and hung to admire, never to fly free again.

  9. I love your kites! The are so colorful and decorative. We have plenty of wind here, maybe too much. I think making them with your grands would be something they would always remember.


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