Sunday, September 11, 2011

Up Through the Atmosphere/Up Where the Air is Clear

The kite flying scene in “Mary Poppins” was never my favorite part.  Even as a kid, I was kind of fascinated by the rum punch medicine.  And flying with an umbrella as Mary did is way cooler than flying a kite.

But all that aside, kites are pretty fabulous.  Especially when you go to a kite festival like I did today.  Amazing!

Inside a kite tent

There were small kites, big kites, gigantic multi-line kites (and even multi-kite kites!), stunt kites, animal kites, windsock kites, a tent kite, kites in the air, kites on the ground, kites for sale, and little kids with handmade kites that wouldn’t fly.  Whew!  A riot of color and activity.  Alfie LOVED it!

Multi-line kite. Note the people by the tail.  Super big kite!

There were also some kites that I guess I would call yard kites.  A kite on a stick.  A if-you-tied-raffia-on-it-you-could-sell-it-at-a-craft-fair kite.  (Do you remember a few years back when yard “art” on a stick was very popular at art/craft fairs?  Like a wooden sunflower on a stick that you were supposed to stick in your yard?  A scarecrow on a stick?  Well, these were big in the Midwest anyway.  I used to say that if you put it on a stick, some yahoo would buy it.  Hey, we have tacky here in the middle of the country just like everywhere else.)  I thought this little school of blue fish yard kites were fun and colorful.  They made me think of carp kites, the really cool Japanese windsocks.  Carp kites are small enough to make great colorful decorations in your house.

But even cooler is making your own carp art!  So easy and so striking!  My kids made these fish prints when they were in preschool or early elementary school.  Local university art ed students had a booth set up at a festival where kids learned to do this.  So easy.  You just need paint, paper, and a dead fish.  Seriously. 

To make a fish scroll: Lay out a large dead fish and spread different colors of paint over it.  Then take a long piece of paper (rice paper is ideal for this – can be found affordably online) and lay it carefully on top of the fish.  Press gently all over to transfer the painted image of the fish to the paper.  Carefully lift the paper off the fish and lay aside to dry.  The fish can be washed off and reused with different colors/patterns.  After the print dries, attach border paper to each end.  Run a string through the top border for hanging.  Affordable and impressive!  Just don’t eat the fish afterward.

If a 6-year-old did this, think what you could do!

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