Up To The Highest Height

The weather where I live has been deliriously wonderful. We're getting blue skies, sunny days, mild temperatures and just enough wind to make me want to fly a kite. I've never been much for flying the old diamond shaped kites. I did better with the bat shaped kites but I've always been drawn to the more unusual styles, the centipedes, the box kites, and the fantastical soft kites.

When you're getting ready to get out and let your kite take to the skies you have two basic choices, build or buy. There are a scintillion fun readymade kites you can buy for just about any price but the satisfaction of flying a kite you built yourself is a deep and beautiful satisfaction. I was extremely pleased to fire up my browser and discover that, with the aid of computers, kite designs have taken off in new and tantalizing directions.

While old in terms of the internet, when compared to the 2500 year history of kite building, the circoflex is so new it practically gleams. Who knew a ring could fly? Well yes I knew a Frisbee could fly but these are different. Beautiful silver circoflex courtesy of Anthony Thyssen Made from anything from Mylar to polyester these amazing creations can absolutely baffle onlookers. We all know people are attracted to kites in the air so you can imagine how they react when they see this mysterious object floating in space, looking like nothing they've seen before. Anthony Thyssen has some terrific photos on his site of various models in different sizes. He also has plans and notes for how to build your own. He has them as small as three meters and as large as twelve. He has also designed some spectacular interlocking ring circoflexi including this vibrant version of the Olympic logo. Striking linked circoflexi courtesy of Anthony Thyssen There are loads of fun links to explore at Anthony's Kite Workshop page so be sure to spend a little time exploring before you settle on what kind of kite you are going to build. Thanks Anthony for the use of your images!

Maybe you're not quite ready for a big, magical, floating circle. Perhaps a nice centipede kite, also called a Chinese dragon kite, would be more your style. I was surprised by how many kites can be built out of trash bags and other things you'll just happen to have laying around the house. I remember struggling to make diamond kites out of tissue paper when I was a kid and invariably punching a hole through the tissue just as I was finishing. It's nice to know you can make them out of sturdier stuff. Here is an article about how to build one from styrofoam picnic plates. It's cute and is a fun project for a kid's birthday party. The original won "most unusual" at a festival in Texas.

Geert Donker Duyvis was kind enough to share some images from his extensive and wonderful website with us. Astoundingly beautiful dragon courtesy of Geert Donker DuyvisI can't decide if I am more in love with his dragon, his whale or his waffle kite. They are all physical embodiments of the joyous spirit and each one makes me smile. (It's spring; I'm allowed to be sappy.) The link labeled building plans will take you to a page with directions for how to make the waffle kite, the tetracaideca, the geometric centipede and the dragon kite. Unusual kite called the waffle courtesy of Geert Donker DuyvisThe waffle kite is simpler to make than it looks. This is a good kite to fly if you are single and you want to pull in the guys or the chicks. It's guaranteed to attract attention.

Geert has a fabulous video clip on his site called Wheels that shows two counter-rotating rings. The rings are not kites per se but they can be attached to a big lifting kite like a stack of rokkakus to become airborne. They're bright and gorgeous.

Geert suggested these websites as a source of inspiration. Martin Lester's kites show off his wicked sense of humor quite nicely. I particularly like his Albert Ross: The Scuba Diver. Zoone is more mystifying and has some perfectly beautiful images. Be sure to click on the images in the gallery to enlarge. The last site is also home to some fabulous images.

Send me pictures of the kites you make and I'll see about putting a page together with all the images. Go on now, go have fun.

All images property of Anthony Thyssen or Geert Donker Duyvis. Thank you for permission to run them.