Monday, February 9, 2009


We attend kite festivals all over the world. The kites flown are sometimes of enormous proportions and not only carry away the imagination but sometimes the flyer on the end of the line as well. In many countries there are traditions of miniature kites. Sometimes they are made for fun or for gifts, sometimes to show the intricate mastership of the kite maker’s craft. Some are made with such light spars and papers that they literally float on a single strand of silken thread.

They can be made smaller than the wings of a fly. Some can fit into a pocket. At one kite festival in France we witnessed a small bat kite….made from the skin of a real bat. While visiting the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, and looking through the exhibits of kites, airplanes and other flying curiosities I came across a glass case with some early ultra-light model gliders with micro thick film wings. These small planes could fly on a breath. Looking closer at one, it had been fitted with four small flies glued to the wings for propulsion.

In art school I remember a graphic design class project of designing a postage stamp. The image had to be strong and bold to show well. Later, when I started to make kites I found the same graphic rule with kite design. When the kite soared to a couple hundred feet it became postage stamp size. The trick was to make it still show up well. Some miniature kites are the size of stamps or smaller. I've seen some that are hardly show up with a magnifying glass framed with bamboo spars, bridle lines and miniature spools.

Small Sky, the February show in Gallery O now features a collection of miniature kites, collected over the years. Some are from Japan, China, France, England and Germany. Many artist kite makers produce miniature kites to work out ideas for larger creations or just for the challenge of it. Making them is a test of patience and skill.

Go to the slide show for more pictures from the show SMALL SKY
SMALL SKY will continue through February 2009
Nobuhiko Yoshizumi
New York Times article

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