How I make my creations

The method I use for my designs is described here.  I use my Tropical Frog Rokkaku design to show the different techniques.  I wanted to keep the palette for this one very subtle with green being the prominent colour with just a few highlights. So I dyed the ripstop skin using emerald and dark green dye.  


I wanted a strong diagonal across the kite, that is how the tree trunk developed. Once I had settled on the species of frog, that located them into a geographic area, I could then research the related flora. Originally, as you can see from the paper layout , I was intending two groups of flowers, but having seen the complexity of them (and not having unlimited time to make the kite) I replaced the bottom group with leaves. I also thought that the flower which would have been red would have overshadowed the frogs.


Paper patterns are made for some elements and then the colour for the base of each element chosen. Items like leaves are cut out from pieces of different colour ripstop that I have dyed at the same time as the main sail meaning that the pieces all have a dye colour in common helping to make a more harmonious colour blend. Complicated pieces like the frogs will be sewn onto the sail and the back cut out, To add detail additional layers are sewn to this base. Sometimes the base is again cut away (sometimes not!) for additional layers to be added. By doing it this way the depth of colour of the sewing lines is reduced, although if I want to clearly accentuate a particular segment of a piece I might add a dark colour. It is really playing with the material as a painter might play with oils or water colour.


I tend to do the big elements first like the tree trunks and then add the details, but if I get bored I will spend some time doing more complex and interesting elements, keeping the boredom at bay. I always seem to add something at the end.  Once I have sewn enough of the kite I put it up to a window and spend some time studying the various colour plays, often leaving it up and returning to it the next day, which often gives quite a different prospective. Even then when I see the finished kite in the air I sometimes see something I think could have been done better.


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Gt Horkesley


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