Killer Kites

Do you remember how much fun it was to fly a kite? When I was little, flying a kite was probably on my top ten list of favorite ways to pass time. When you’re flying a kite, the ground just fades away beneath you. My boyfriend, son of a fisherman, says that the pleasure is very much like that of fishing.  You are constantly attentive in a way that puts you in the zone, it is very soothing, and just as much fun as an adult.  I still don’t know why more people don’t fly kites, but there are some things about grown-ups I’ll never understand (like why razor scooters never hit it off for the subway-commuting crowd, but fold-up-bikes are a thing).

Little me, building and flying my very first home-made kite.

Little me, building and flying my very first home-made kite.

I have delved into the more arcane secrets of kitetry (kitesmithing?). Turns out that the sky is your limit when it comes to kite artistry, as long as the ratio of body (the place that catches the force of the wind) is in the correct proportion to tail (the part the fights back against that force to keep the body correctly oriented in space). With a little trial and error, it isn’t that hard to build a kite shaped like anything in the world.

So get a sheet of paper–old wrapping paper looks great– and maybe look at a pattern or two online, but don’t let the pattern constrain your imagination. Anything light that is the correct shape to catch wind and with the right length tail will fly. Here are some art kites to get your creative juices flowing.

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Fish kites, built similarly to wind-socks. These were flown in Pangasinan, but I don’t know who made them.

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This one is made of plastic bags, by Yong Mao Huang of China. It shows 34 people playing jump rope.

Flying Man Kites by Boulder Artist George Peters

Flying Man Kites by Boulder Artist George Peters

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Squid and octopus kites. I love these, I really hope that someone knows the artist’s name.

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Some of Anna Rubin’s amazing aerial art.

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Some more of Anna Rubin’s work.

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This kite seems to be built from from six swan or goose feathers, but I can’t find any information about it. Unfortunately with kites, the photographer is often an awed stranger, standing quite far away from the artist.

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