This interview with Glenn Davison was conducted on the 17th Feb., 2010.
1. What event or individual kite really sparked your interest in
Miniature Kites? What sub-area of Miniature kiting cemented your desire
to actually document Miniature kiting for the rest of us?
I used to build indoor model airplanes. When I began building
kites I continued to use many of the same lightweight materials and
techniques. I was motivated by seeing people flying kites indoors and I
knew I could build kites lighter so they would fly better. My first
was a tissue paper delta and my second was an indoor Cody that was
transparent. It was made from balsa wood and a thin transparent film
that's much lighter than plastic wrap and therefore it few very well. I
was encouraged to build smaller kites by Paul Berard.
I guess the book about miniature kites and the web site were a result of people asking questions about miniature kites. The Miniatures
web site grew and I knew that people wanted more plans and building
information so I put together two guides, "Twenty Miniature Kite Plans"
and "How to Build Miniature Kites." See the link at the bottom of this page.
2. What was your most memorable moment when introducing some aspect of kiting to a non-kiter or a group of non-kiters?
There are too many memorable moments to mention. That's why I
stick with kiting... because I can do one thing today and something
completely different next week. I always like to try something new.
I fondly remember teaching a group of five people at First Beach
in Rhode Island how to fly my Prism stunt kite. After teaching hundreds
of people I still don't know why that day stands out. I've had great
times with non-kiters in Taipei, Taiwan, Bogota, Colombia, Antigua and
at sunset in Boracay! I fondly remember talking to people during Night
Flies at Wildwood and Kites On Ice and giving lessons in Newport. I
like to say these words, "want to try my kite?"
3. What is the earliest kiting experience you can remember, and how did it make you feel at the time?
When I was a boy I must have seen a fighter kite somewhere so I
built one from newspaper. The kite looked cool and I put the symbol
"phi" on the front. It looked great so I was pleased with it. Looking
back on it, the spreader was too stiff and it was too heavy to fly. The
funny thing is that my dad told the same story about building his first
kite and it was also too heavy to fly.
4. What do you enjoy the most and why?
Oh there are so many things. I enjoy designing, building,
flying quad-line kites and single-line kites, demonstrating and giving
lectures and presentations about kites. I love flying quad.
Right now I'm the chair of the AKA's Education Committee. It's a
big committee so it's fun, but lots of work too. I'd like to give
students more awareness of kites. Science teachers always make paper
airplanes with kids but they rarely make kites! Right now we are
talking about National Kite Month.
5. You seem to be active in so many arenas of kiting. Do you
have any favorite statistics you like to quote when interacting with
I tell them about my 252 sq. foot kite, 100 foot tails, running
50 workshops for the AKA, spending 20 hours to build a kite, a kite that
spent 7 hours aloft, flying indoors, flying at night and meeting my
wife at a kite festival.
6. You have described yourself as a 'Kite Artist'. Could you expand on what that means to you?
To me it means designing and building beautiful kites that are
different from production kites. I like to trying something new and
getting it to fly. I often experiment with shapes and keep the graphics
simple. Kites can be beautiful for their colors, shapes, designs,
tails or all of them combined. I've done many kite exhibits and people
are really amazed at the possibilities.
7. What individual kite that you have made has brought you the
most satisfaction? Satisfaction with which aspect of making or flying
the kite, exactly?
I get satisfaction from trying something new and finding out that
it flies well. New designs give unexpected results. For example, I
built a tiny butterfly that sometimes will flap it's wings in flight.
One of my designs flew better upside down! I'm very pleased with an
indoor rev that I built with orcon (reinforced plastic) and carbon.
8. Looking to the near future... What accomplishment in the
world of kite making, flying or education are you looking forward to the
I feel like I've only gotten started. I have about a half-dozen
events planned with kite workshops and lectures. I'd like to have more.
I have four large kites in various stages of completion and books
filled with sketches. I need to replace a worn-out miniature kite with
an improved version and I have many boxes that cry out to be filled
with kites! I'd like to build larger versions of some of my miniaure
kites and miniature versions of some of my large kites. I'd like to try
an animated kite with more than four lines. I'd like to build at least
one more Rokkaku and I'd really like to build a train of many kites.
Maybe more than one train I have more experimenting to do with vented
kites and layered and cellular kites are some of my many favorites.
Glenn Davison is an eco-artist and workshop leader who has
been featured on HGTV as a New England Craftsman. He is the editor or author of a growing collection of kiting books on Amazon and other platforms. Glenn is a director of the club,
“Kites Over New England” and Chairman of the Education Committee for the
American Kitefliers Association.
Some more links:
"Official site for the works of author Glenn Davison"
Kites in the Classroom