I am amazed at the assumptions I carry into new experiences. For example, when my husband and I began producing children, we thought we were pretty cool with gender fluidity, but when our boy cat turned out to be a girl cat partway through my first pregnancy, we freaked out, and decided there was no way we should have advance knowledge of our child's physical gender characteristics or we would project a lot of nonsense onto him/her.
Many years later, I thought I basically knew about kites. But most of us second/third generation settler Canadians get our kite info from English literature like Mary Poppins, Curious George, so all we know of kites is that they are flat, diamond shaped toys with a long tail of bows. But kites have a rich history outside of that world.
Gomo George grew up making and flying kites in the Caribbean island of Dominica. Spring is kite season and they have a big annual kite festival with strong grassroots support. He taught his children to make kites and his daughter Abby joined him to co-teach this workshop. They walked us through how to make a square kite using a bow and arrow style frame, and then a cross frame as well- all from up-cycled materials! Once you are a kite maker you see materials everywhere... light strong flexible sticks, wind resistant material, thread.
Even with a material list in advance most of us learning were all pretty sure that kites were made with a rigid crosspiece and a long tail. By contrast, the kites we made last Thursday were square kites, complex designs, many variations, all flexible and strong and delicate, with parts that talked to each other and supported and challenged each other.
It was a hot hot day and we had many last minute cancellations as school last days wrapped up and put pressure on the parents and teachers and many wifi issues across the city preventing access to the workshop, including the wifi of our artists, who had occasional drop outs from connection and overheating phone. Those who came were able to use the down time to work on kites and seek supplies.
If you missed the workshop, here is an edited version of it, minus the technical issues. Enjoy, and hope you are as inspired as we were.
If you can't stop and want to make more, Kate Hamilton from Building Roots did a deep dive on internet resources, and shares a bunch of links- thanks Kate! She says:
"I learned a lot by seeing similarities, could be a fun resource, here it is --"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8cI7EN97oU simple kite
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lmfwarW88E wrapping-paper kite, classic N.Am. kids' kite shape
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8dmllJeDRU hexagonal kite
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_NIp1dpFU0 palang kite (2 bags)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMtUaa4blgk swallow kite (3 colours - looks like stained glass : )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaDwoZrcHMs star kite
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=007ITSIrBYE a different star
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAFKe3FFh6Q box kite (launches beautifully)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc6JQzi-WTc rotor kite
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H08a2zReXs oval + circle spring kite (*leaps* into the air - and spins)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84mcxWmyqwc using colour - large butterfly (demo only)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UauRZcxSDI8 large bird kite
art experiments turning waste into beauty