LoonDance Rokkaku Kite
A Classic Series Kite
from . . .
About the kite:
The LoonDance is our first rokkaku produced in our Classic Series of kites. We wanted to make a rok that was both smaller than Brigid's Shield (and therefore easier for one person to fly) and more affordable. We feel that it meets both criteria well. The selling price is less than half of the larger rok, mostly due to the production technique of silk-screen (with no hand-painting) employed in the decoration. And at a height of only five feet (against 7.5 feet for Brigid's) it is a very easy and comfortable kite for one person to fly. The unexpexted bonus is that it is a much more nimble and maneuverable rok than its big sister. The most apt comparison of the difference in handling between the two, is the difference between driving a large four-door car and driving a small British sports car.
The design is the next step in Anne's ongoing synthesis of traditional Celtic knotwork and North American influences (particularly North American native art and design). It uses the Celtic style of design, but incorporates some imagery only found in North America, the Common Loons, and the fish, which resemble Northen Pike. This is a conscious blending of knotwork motifs from our Celtic ancestry, with elements found in our home in the province of Ontario, in Canada.
The kite is printed using a bleed (or split-tray) technique. It only uses two screens, but includes four colours printed on the white ground. One screen prints the black, the other is used for a mix of yellow, red, and purple. The colours shift and blend with each other each time the screen is printed, making each kite just a little different.
The prototype LoonDance was made just before our epic trip to the Newcastle, England area for five weeks of kitemaking workshops in the schools there. In typical fashion, I had not scaled down the frame nearly enough on this smaller rok, and it was far too heavy and stiff in its original configuration. I made a quickie field change of the frame at the Washington Tyne & Wear Kite Festival, using rod available from the vendors there. The kite flew much better with a lighter frame, but I was most unimpressed with the white epoxy tubing available in England. This was my first encounter with it, and I found it to be unnecessarily heavy and brittle. Therefore, I changed the frame again when we arrived home, and the kite could finally display its true personality.
The LoonDance is a medium-size rokkaku, 60 inches high by 48 inches wide.
The sail fabric is 3/4 oz. Contender Nylite, made without the resin coating (this allows for better dye uptake and stronger colours). The frame is spiral-wound epoxy tubing.
The design is screen-printed by hand with acid dyes from two screens on white fabric, a black printer, and a bleed (or split-tray) consisting of yellow, red, and purple.
This kite flies well in winds above 6-7 miles per hour. It becomes uncomfortable and active in winds above 15 mph (but can be flown with the appropriate bridle and bow adjustments.