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Drachen: Beauty and Design

Here are some comments on refined beauty and design.  Take a look at the two embedded videos; one is a charming walk with Alessia Marrocu (Italy) and her kites, while the other is a visit with Ramlal Tien’s (France) Sentinels. Both videos show the beauty of these elegant kites, the impact of flying numbers of […]

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Fire - The dance of the dragon blazes on the mountain:
words burn on the tablets of my mind

Drachen: An Unearthed Treasure

A few months ago, I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico to participate in the fabulous Tako Kichi (Japanese kite exhibit) show at The Museum of International Folk Art. While I was there I had time to stop by and visit with Tal Streeter and his wonderful wife Romig.  Tal had a serious stroke over […]

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     An Ahlgrim four-wing Roloplan

Drachen: Werner Ahlgrim

FanØ, Denmark brings together some of the most amazing kite builders in the world when they converge, as they have done every June for the last 29 years,  at the International Kitefliers Meeting. Started as an unofficial kite festival with no sponsor, no schedule, and each attendee making their own arrangements and simply showing up […]

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A frame lifted onto a kite sail

Drachen: Quiet Sophistication of the Barriletes Gigantes

To help celebrate the release of the Drachen Foundation’s Wings of Resistance, The Giant Kites of Guatemala, I’d like to write this month about some of the very sophisticated kitemaking techniques which are used, but easily overlooked, in the creation of these giant masterpieces.  Certainly, these kites are a direct reflection of their environment both […]

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Drachen: A Tale of Two Collectors

For almost thirty years I have collected Japanese woodblock prints (ukiyo-e) that have images of kites somewhere in the print.  At the time, I naively thought that there would be very few of these, that this would be an interesting addition to my kite collection, a part that would grow slowly and one that would […]

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E1.Dunford Flying Machine

Some Fodder for Creativity

In my last article for KiteLife I wrote about the importance of not plagiarizing original designs of kite makers (at least not without permission!) but this month I am making a case for learning from replicating archival designs that are part of the public domain.   I’ve made it a point to avoid making this column […]

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Jon Trennepohl Geo Pointer

Homage, Plagiarism, and Outright Theft

I clearly remember my second trip to FanØ, Denmark, when, as I was driving down the beach, I spotted “my” attic-window Edo flying in a sky crowded with kites. I did a double-take, because I still owned that kite. What I finally realized, was that someone had made an almost-exact copy of my Edo and […]

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Photo by Maggie Walker

Empty Spaces: Jørgen Møller Hansen

Perhaps it is a bit “odd” to have so many individuals write about one kitemaker. But that is the point, he is one SPECIAL kitemaker, and I am sure there are hundreds more who would and are waiting to step up to their computers to write something about this phenomenal man, Jørgen Møller Hansen. What […]

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1 - Sledge and Kite

Drachen – Perusing a Kite Archive

Perhaps the following images and details from articles will spur some of you to action.  Research, kite-making, or epic adventure, these snippets give you some perspective of the role of kites as tools – easily forgotten when history is finally written. Several of my favorite historical images come from the Illustrated London News, of which […]

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Boys fly kites in the "starting block" of the Soaring Kite sugoroku. Note the depiction of the climber in the game square above the starting block; line-climbers were commonly called "monkeys", like this one.

Drachen Archives: Japanese Prints

Scott Skinner has one of the most unique collections of Japanese prints in the world because of his focus on collecting prints with kite images.  This collection, however, does not have a corner on uniqueness, as we know of a Seattle collector of Japanese prints who collects only prints with images of cameras..  The point […]

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