Early Spring is the time for the annual Fort Worden kitemakers conference. This was my 11th year attending – so far I’ve managed to be there every year since I first arrived in Seattle in 2001. Regardless of whether I’ve been doing a lot of kite-flying or none at all, this is always a great opportunity to reconnect and be exposed to some exciting new ideas in kitemaking.
It was a bitter-sweet experience, since my kitemaking mentor John Freeman died unexpectedly a few months ago. I had attended his class in 2001 and most of the following years. Not only was he an exceptional kite designer, but also a great teacher and wonderful person. He was a pillar of the kitemaking conference, serving on the curriculum committee for many years – it’s hard to imagine the conference going on without him. But go on it does – and I suppose keeping the magic of kitemaking alive is one way of honoring his memory.
Rainer Hoffmann again came from Husum, Germany to teach a class. As in 2009, he spent a few days at our house before the conference. He’s a really nice fellow and we enjoy his visits very much. He’s actually an internationally acclaimed kite designer and even has his own line of kites in commercial production. He’s always bursting with new ideas for kites; but he’s also really humble about it and a genuinely nice guy.
The conference itself was the usual flurry of workshops and the weekend seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. I came away with 2 very nice kites: a little rectangular kite for worry-free flying in almost any wind; and a spectacular 10-cell tetrahedron designed by the masterful Cliff Quinn. I look forward to some warmer and dryer weather so I can go out and fly them.
More photos are available here.