I have been a member of the kitebuilder.com forums for almost 2 years and have met some great people and learned a lot. Over the last 2 years forum members have hosted a few on-line kite building workshops. The latest installment is the Lil’ Genki by Dave Ellis (kiteguy) from Kansas. The Lil’ Genki is Dave’s take on the migenk kite plan by Fred Broadhead. Dave has simplified the construction and has made it a real light wind performer.
The format of the workshops is usually about 4-5 weeks with the next stage being posted each Friday. There is a discussion thread set up for each stage to give people the opportunity to share their designs, ask questions and have a bit of fun. I have been truly impressed with how many people sign up for these classes and the wonderful kites that are produced at the end. I find I always learn something and really enjoy the staged progress. It holds you back, sometimes you can’t help it and you have to surge ahead and keep going with or with out instruction. But it doesn’t matter as you can always make another one (or two.. or three)
The on-line project that started it all was presented by Arnold “kitenerd” Stellema from California. Arnold presented his version of the Della Porta kite. Using quilting squares and Arnold’s method it made it very easy to create eye catching designs. Arnold’s instruction was top notch, materials were very well thought out and the illustrations were excellent. This was a first for most of us and the kites that emerged were fantastic. Recently at this years Dieppe International Kite Festival held in Dieppe, New Brunswick a few forum members were able to get together and fly their Della Porta kites.
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Since that time we have had Gary Engvall and Scott E. Spencer present a 5 sided Facet kite. I must admit that I haven’t finished this kite yet, actually I haven’t even started it (I even bought the kit ) That’s the beauty of these on-line workshops, they are on-line and all the information and discussion is preserved for all those that follow and want to build the kite.
So if you want to build a kite and meet some great people, head to kitebuilder.com forums and sign-up. We are only on stage 2 of the Lil Genki with stage 3 being posted tomorrow, so there is still time to follow along. You will find 2 years worth of excellent conversation about all things relating to kite building. Compared to most other forums that devolve into name calling and personal attacks this forum has maintained a very friendly atmosphere and the signal to noise ratio is very high.