It’s a pattern

Is it odd that I love making patterns? If I had to pick one thing that I enjoy the most about making kites (besides watching someone fly one of my designs with a big grin on their face), it would be making patterns. Maybe it’s because once I get a design to the point where I can do final refinements on the pattern, the rest of the process can be put on autopilot. Cutting, scraping and sanding the edges of a perfect progressive curve, making sure to leave enough of an entrance flat to make it easy to hem the edge smoothly and repeatably? Yeah, probably a little odd, but I’m OK with that. 

American Craft

Renewed my membership in the American Craft Council this afternoon. I join primarily for their wonderful magazine, but also to support their championing of fine craft. I’d been debating whether the $40 a year was a good spend right now, but I sure do enjoy the magazine. When I read in the most recent issue about the flak they got for a few articles that featured art of a more political slant this past fall, including letters from members that canceled, I couldn’t not renew.

I honestly don’t recall the articles, but the artists and craftsmen must have done their job to get this kind of reaction. As a quote attributed to Cesar A. Cruz says, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”

Why did I close Blue Moon Kites in 2012? (part 1)

I shuttered Blue Moon Kites in the spring of 2012. I pulled the plug because the business hadn’t been viable for a couple years, and unenjoyable for considerably longer. It became a game of propping the business up by doing “limited edition” kite runs, which usually sold to the same handful of friends and regulars. Between these mini-boom periods were months of barely getting by. It got to the point where even the specials and discounts weren’t enough to sustain a failed business.

Perhaps even more critical was the fact that I felt myself “phoning it in” for the last several years, having lost the passion for something that I’d once enjoyed as much as anything I’d done. In fact, going back as far as 2006, one of the kites I had in development had a file name of JAUFSK. I won’t spell out the acronym, but just know that it wasn’t complimentary. I did bring that design to market in 2007 to a fairly soft reception. It had some great reviews, but probably fell a little too far from the current kite design “formula” to be a market winner. The next kite, three years later, made even less of a splash.

The 2010 kite was named Mongoose. The name was a (very) inside joke. All of my kites, going back to the beginning of BMK, were code-named Mongoose during development. Finally using the name Mongoose for a production kite was my way of acknowledging, at least to myself, that this was probably my last sport kite design.

The new century had brought changes to the sport kite hobby that went a long way to move it from being social and inclusive to being led in the popular consciousness by elite solo flyers that practiced a technical style that… (to be continued)

Kait Rokowski – “A Good Day”

Yesterday, I spent 60 dollars on groceries,
took the bus home,
carried both bags with two good arms back to my studio apartment
and cooked myself dinner.
You and I may have different definitions of a good day.
This week, I paid my rent and my credit card bill,
worked 60 hours between my two jobs,
only saw the sun on my cigarette breaks
and slept like a rock.
Flossed in the morning,
locked my door,
and remembered to buy eggs.
My mother is proud of me.
It is not the kind of pride she brags about at the golf course.
She doesn’t combat topics like, ”My daughter got into Yale”
with, ”Oh yeah, my daughter remembered to buy eggs”
But she is proud.
See, she remembers what came before this.
The weeks where I forgot how to use my muscles,
how I would stay as silent as a thick fog for weeks.
She thought each phone call from an unknown number was the notice of my suicide.
These were the bad days.
My life was a gift that I wanted to return.
My head was a house of leaking faucets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
Depression, is a good lover.
So attentive; has this innate way of making everything about you.
And it is easy to forget that your bedroom is not the world,
That the dark shadows your pain casts is not mood-lighting.
It is easier to stay in this abusive relationship than fix the problems it has created.
Today, I slept in until 10,
cleaned every dish I own,
fought with the bank,
took care of paperwork.
You and I might have different definitions of adulthood.
I don’t work for salary, I didn’t graduate from college,
but I don’t speak for others anymore,
and I don’t regret anything I can’t genuinely apologize for.
And my mother is proud of me.
I burned down a house of depression,
I painted over murals of greyscale,
and it was hard to rewrite my life into one I wanted to live
But today, I want to live.
I didn’t salivate over sharp knives,
or envy the boy who tossed himself off the Brooklyn bridge.
I just cleaned my bathroom,
did the laundry,
called my brother.
Told him, “it was a good day.

It’s Walt’s fault…

I’ve not spent much time on the water the last few years. I guess I could blame it on work, but that’s too easy. Perhaps part of it is the conflict I feel between doing something I’ve loved and the consequences of that thing. There’s a part of me that knows that trout are “lower” animals, but I guess the bleeding-heart, tree-hugging liberal in me can’t help but notice the survival instinct these beautiful creatures display when a shadow crosses their water. Maybe it’s just Disney-esque anthropomorphism in action, but I can’t get it out of my head. Perhaps nobody expresses it better than this –

“…For them, it is not a game, and certainly not a dance. On some days I feel it’s hypocritical to profess love for these creatures while endangering and abusing them so wantonly; better to enjoy the thrill of the sport honestly, kill what I catch, and stop fishing when I’ve had a surfeit of killing. On other days I do dearly enjoy holding them in the water, gentling them as they regain breath and balance and command of their muscles, then watching them swim away. The dilemma remains unresolved.

“Yet each man kills the thing he loves,” wrote Oscar Wilde, and I keep wondering how a person of Wilde’s urban and cerebral predilections knew so goddamn much about trout fishing.

“Why do you live in Montana?” people ask. For the trout, I answer. “Oh, you’re one of those fanatical fisherman types?” No, not so much anymore, I say. It’s just a matter of knowing that they’re here.” – David Quammen – “Wild Thoughts from Wild Places”, 1998