Nine Feathers RokkakuKite

An especially commissioned Kite

by . . .

Boreal Kites

About the kite:

This kite was especially commissioned for a series of kites commemorating the centennial of the Lewis & Clark Expedition in the western United Staes, that was held in 2006. The group of kites, designed and made by a selection of noted kitemakers across North America, was displayed in a gallery setting in the airport at Billings, Montana for mosat of 2005. The kites were then the feature of a kite festival, held in Billings in July, 2006, the centennial of the date of the beginning of the expedition.

There were a group of suggested themes for the kites that were commissioned. Anne decided to use one noting the four native chiefs who assisted the expedition throughout the course of their discoveries, and the five young natives who were chosen by the chiefs to accompany the expedition as guides. Rather than any actual representation of the individials, Anne decided to use native symbology to represent them. The kite itself features four eagle feathers arrayed on it, representing the chiefs, and has five hawk feathers attached to it's corners to denote the young guides.

The design was a departure for Anne from her mostly Celtic sources for most of our other kites, but her Celtic imagery has been combining more and more with native North American imagery in recent years. Both traditions share many of the same concepts and colour schemes and this allows them to work together well. This kite only used the native sources for its ideas. The black parts of the design were set up ahead of time and screen printed. All of the other colours, giving the design its overall pattern and shape, weree handpainted onto the cloth afterwards by Anne. The dyes were then set in the usual way and the kite was sewn by me.


This kite is a full-sized rokkaku kite, 7 1/2 ft. tall by 6 ft. wide. The fabric is our usual 3/4 oz. Contender Nylite spinnaker cloth and the kite is framed with spiral-wound hollow fibreglass rod. It was completed in a serious rush in January, 2004. It had to be shipped to Billings by the end of January, and we were preparing to leave for Ahmedabad, India for a festival that started there on January 13th. There was a serious blizzard happening as it was finished, so we were never able to fly this kite to test it, or to photograph it properly. I took a few bad pictures of it sitting on the print table in our studio before we mailed to it to Billings, but that was it. Fortuantely, Sharon Musto, the AKA's Region 13 (international) director attended the festival in Billings and gave us a copy of the photograph above, taken of the kite as it was hanging in the display at the Billings airport..