Go Fly a Kite

1 June 2015

Literally not figuratively.

I overheard an exchange this weekend where a gentleman described the weather as “kite flying weather.” Oddly enough, he was kite-less, with no intentions on flying a kite (I asked.) Yet, he still managed to instill images of fresh cut lawns and breezy winds in my childlike imagination. Which led me today in search of playful kites to fly across the summer skies.

When I do find the perfect kite, I plan on sharing it with my nephews when they arrive later this month. Anything to get some fresh air and spend more time outside.

Kites have a rich history. According to Emily Fischer, Founder of Haptic Lab, kites have been in use for tens of thousands of years disputing popular belief that China founded kite flying just two thousand years ago. According to new archeological research, ancient Polynesians used giant breadfruit leaves with stitching, recognizably in the shape of kites, which have been found in caves in Indonesia. Emily would know since most her kite-makers are proud Balinese. She adds and I agree, “it does make sense… I like imagining someone watching leaves fly off a tree, wanting to capture and tether that flight.”

Kites are found across almost every culture and instilled in their history. They have been used religiously by 7th century Buddhist monks to avert evil spirits, insuring rich harvests. But one of my favorite stories is of the Indian kite flying culture. The story is told through miniature paintings from the Mogul Period around 1500 with a theme of a young man skillfully using his kite to drop messages to his secluded lover who was being held captive.

Functional and fun, here are a few kites of past and present favorites.

Now get outside, get some fresh air and go… fly a kite.

A long time fan of Haptic Lab and proud owner of one of their Signature Sailing Ship kites (that is merely used for decoration only.)  I was hoping they'd have a few alternatives, but looks like I joined the kite bandwagon too late. Not to worry,

A long time fan of Haptic Lab and proud owner of one of their Signature Sailing Ship kites (which is merely used for decoration  right now) I was hoping they’d have a few alternatives, but looks like I joined the kite bandwagon too late as many are sold out. Not to worry I’ve been told their classic kites will be back in stock in a couple weeks. In the meantime, the Sailing Ship kites are incredible and unlike the feature image from the Haptic Lab instagram –  no ocean is required. 

the classic kite flies over New York City.

the classic kite flies over New York City.

Fun fact: The Edo (now Tokyo) government tried unsuccessfully to discourage the kite flying pastime as “too many people became unmindful of their work. 

"Children at Play" by

“Children at Play” by Utagawa Yoshitora.

Bigger the better? Entire festivals are dedicated to flying kites. I say grab a blanket + a cuddly friend and go watch other people fly kites:

The Berkley Kite Festival on July 25 & 26th in California. Photo by Mae Wong.

The Berkley Kite Festival on July 25 & 26th in California. Photo by Mae Wong.

As if we need another excuse to visit Austin: enter Zilkner Kite Fest.

As if we need another excuse to visit Austin: enter Zilkner Kite Fest.

and if you need any further inspiration, who better than Mary Poppins:

“Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Let’s go fly a kite!”

Categories: Art, leisure, Lifestyle