in the late 1960's my fascination with the dynamics of visual form was fuelled
by a multi-disciplinary art and design education. At that time Abstract Expressionism
and Pop Art were still defining the visual shape of the latter part of the
When I first entered the world of design it was as an interior designer and then later as a graphic designer and photographer. During the 1970's I exhibited work in the British International Drawing Biennale and in galleries in the UK, including London and Amsterdam.
The chance discovery of David Pelham's Penguin book of kites in the early 1980's was the catalyst to spending the next 30 years exploring the remarkable world of kites.
The kite is a symbol of freedom, displaying graceful motion as it responds to the forces of lift and gravity. But it wasn't always like that. My first attempts at making kites produced little success. I might as well have tried to fly an elephant!
What followed was a steep learning curve. I took notice of other kite designers and fliers at UK kite festivals. I gradually started to gain more success with the combination of shape, colour, balance and aerodynamics.
Many of my earlier kites were inspired by vists to the British Museum in London, where I found stunning collections of African masks, Mexican and Maori artifacts, a whole world of ethnographic design. In the 1970's I had travelled to Afghanistan, Iran, India, Thailand and Malaysia. An experience which profoundly influenced my perception of other cultures.
In 1998 my kite design took on a different direction as I abandoned the ethnographic approach and experimented with surface design which could dramatically influence the perception of the form of a kite. I looked more closely at the work of Josef Albers and the manner in which he achieved fascinating rhythmic articulation in his work, through his highly organised use of colour and form. I looked for boldness and simplicity, visual metaphors and the impact of colour. I found contemporary architecture and the urban environment also contained elements I could use in my design compositions. Since 2011 I have been experimenting with other media including printing and painting.
For over 25 years I worked within education, lecturing in visual communication and new media design. It has also been a rewarding experience to share the activity of making and flying kites with others. Working with children, students and adults in kite workshops, helping them to construct their first airborne structure, is a real delight.
Kite flying is both an individual and sociable activity. For several years I have been very fortunate to be a guest at international kite festivals across the world. I have met people whose hospitality has been huge, allowing me to briefly share their traditions, culture and their kite flying stories.
below: Exhibition of kites, Dieppe, 2016.
Artevento, Cervia, Italy, 2012.
Bintulu International Kite Festival, Malaysia, 2015.