Once upon a time I walked into a kite shop on the Oregon coast and purchased a kite and enjoyed it. I thought to myself, "Cool Christmas presents for my family and friends." Everyone liked them so well that I cashed in my husbands Life Insurance policy and purchased 25 yards of each color. In February 1980, the Rainbow Kite Factory was born. My work space was small, but it felt great to put my artistic talents to use. I had recently quit a job I did not enjoy and had been remodeling a house for five years. I tried pottery, painting, sculpting and woodworking, but I didn't have much fun. I needed a way to express myself.

I started selling kites at art shows and to my friends. I even put on my own kite festivals. It was a great reason to have a party and it was fun to see kites I had made years before flying in the air. What really makes me proud is to know that the kites I made twenty years ago are still flying today.

Selling kites to Catch the Wind really started a train reaction. I realized that I didn't want to be an average kitemaker. My goal was to be one of the best. I changed the techniques I used for applique. Hot cutting the designs out gave a much clearner look to the kite. And one of the first designs that I made is still one of my most popular. There is no limit what you can do on a kite skin.

A few months later I received a phone call. There was a young man who had seen my kites and wanted to meet me. he was traveling around the U.S. on his motorcycle talking to different kitemakers. Leland Toy. He was visiting Margaret Gregor. Both of them came to visit. I think they were the two who helped and encouraged me to keep going. After that, the kite family started. I went to a few kite festivals down on the Oregon and Washington coaast and made a lot of friends. It is nice to have a family all around the world.

Watching others like Bobby Stanfield, Scott Skinner, Ron Gibian and Jose Sainz, I have learned a lot of different techniques on how to build kites. They inspire me to try new things and new designs. I advise others to try and keep their minds open, and learn something new each day. The last few years I have been privileged to be a teacher at the Oregon Kitemakers Retreat and at Fort Worden. I like to share the knowledge that I have acquired throughout the years.

[Reprinted with Permission - AKA Kiting July/August 1999]
Editing & Layout by Ellen Smith, NyteStar WebDesign