Brigid's Shield Rokkaku Kite

A Signature Series Kite

from . . .

Boreal Kites

About the kite:

Brigid's Shield is the first rokkaku that we have produced and is also our first kite combining our now-standard screen-printing technique with handpainting of the dyes. Initially, all of our kites were produced by screen-printing the designs with acid dyes onto ripstop nylon yardage, steaming the cloth to set the dyes, and then cutting and sewing the resulting kites.

In 1991, Anne started experimenting with applying the dyes (diluted in alcohol) directly to the cloth with a brush. The results were intriguing, and the immediacy of the final result was wonderful, but we were unable to achieve a black we were truly happy with. As a result, we decidied to try screen-printing the black outline onto the cloth first, and then handpainting any other colours onto the remaining white spaces. Brigid's Shield was our first full-scale attempt using this technique. We made the first one in early 1992 and flew it for the first time at the '92 Smithsonian Kite Festival in Washington D.C. A colour photograph of that kite appeared in KiteLines Magazine, Vol. 9 No. 3, Fall '92. It was also featured in the '96-'97 American Kite Magazine calendar.

This was the first of our Signature Series kites. Because of the handpainting, the kites are extremely time-consuming to make, and we felt that we would only wish to produce a very small number of them. Accordingly, this kite is offered in an edition of fifteen. We produce the kites as they are ordered. We have currently sold two of these, so therre remain thirteen in the edition to be made. The background colour is black for all of them, but the colour of the handpainted dragons may be specified for each kite, or left up to us to surprise you!

Over the years we have been flying this kite, it has become one of our personal favourites. Its ability to adapt to a wide range of wind speeds with only minor bridle and bow adjustments, and its striking appearance in the sky make it a kite we pull out of our bag often. It is also the kite that introduced me (Eric) to the art of rokkaku battling. Michael Graves and I have fought this kite many times. It bears the battle scras to prove it. This may horrify some of you who feel our kites are only art pieces, but to us, it emphasizes the fact that our kites are primarily designed and built to fly, not to hang on a wall.


Brigid's Shield is a full-size battle rokkaku, 7 1/2 feet tall by 6 feet wide.

The sail fabric is 3/4 oz. Contender Nylite, made without the resin coating (this allows better dye uptake and stronger colours). The frame is spiral-wound epoxy tubing.

The background colour is black, screen-printed by hand with acid dyes. The colours on the dragons are handpainted with acid dyes, and can be custom specified by the customer.

We find this kite flies well in anything from 6-8 mph winds on up.. Both the bows and the bridle can be adjusted for different winds and stability. (More stability is desired for straight flying, less for battles.) We've flown this kite in extremely strong winds (at Dieppe '94 for one), and it is stable, but almost impossible for one person to pull down alone. This kite is also our favourite platform for parabear jumping.