Celtic Variations Delta Kite

A Classic Series Kite

from . . .

Boreal Kites

About the kite:

The Celtic Variations Delta was the first of our larger kites. The full-size one has an 11 foot wingspan, and, depending on your point of view, is either a respectable medium-size kite (American viewpoint), or a really large kite (local southern Ontario viewpoint). We had been making kites for several years, but were limited in the size of kite we could produce by the maximum size of our silk screens (approx. 40" x 50"). Sixty inch wingspan deltas, 36 inch by 36 inch facets, and one 25 foot long dragon kite were what we had produced up to this point.

After pondering various solutions for some time, Anne and I jointly decided that several different sizes of deltas could be made using the same screens, if the patterns were designed like quilt blocks so that they could fit together no matter which way they were oriented. For a delta, triangular blocks were necessary, but this was not totally novel as triangular blocks have been used before in quiltmaking.

This quilt-like structure gave Anne a chance to utilize Celtic knotwork patterns. We had produced one previous kite, the Celtic Star dragon, using a form of pseudo-knotwork, but this was the first kite we've made using the full style, including all the interlacings and elaborate detail. The first one we printed and flew exceeded our expectations. The knotwork design is interesting close-up on the ground, but also mergese into larger geometric patterns when seen flying from a distance. The kite is a wonderful flyer, with the twin swallowtails providing a lot of visual interest.

This kite was first flown at the 25th Smithsonian Kite Festival, where it took first place in the Masters' Delta category. We last entered it in competition at the 1995 Washington State International Kite Festival at Long Beach where it took another first in deltas. Our original print of this design has logged hundreds of flying hours over the last few years. We've flown it in India, Italy, Germany, France, England and Colombia, as well as at many locations in Canada and the United States. We had to completely replace the spar pockets in the fall of '96, but it is still flying. A newer one we built so that we could retire the original was left one hundred feet up in a maple tree at the Hoppegarten in Berlin after its line was cut by mono fishing line, the only kite we've lost in ten years.

By 1994, we had sold out the first edition and retired the design, but after very artful persuasion by Michael Graves, we were compelled to produce a second edition of this kite. The second edition is marked as such, to distinguish it from the originals.


Celtic Variations come in three sizes: Small - 66 inch wingspan, 66 inches from nose to tail-tips; Medium - 93 inch wingspan, 93 inches from nose to tail-tips; and Large - 11 foot wingspan, 11 feet from nose to tail-tips.

The sail fabric is Contender Nylite, made without the resin coating (this allows better dye uptake and stronger colours). The frame is spiral-wound epoxy tubing (solid fibreglass wing spars on the Small only.

This kite flies easily in any wind above 3-4 mph.