Large, reliable kites can be made out of trash bags, emergency sleeping bags, and Tyvek cut-offs found in construction site dumpsters. To support Grassroots Mapping, in 2010 I began to make kites out of trash and low-cost materials. I Focused on designs that can be quickly cut and assembled with tape, and have since taught kitemaking workshops across the US, Canada, and the UK. I’ve always preferred cured bamboo, either whole or split, and recently I’ve begun working on more traditional paper and bamboo construction.

Keeping a kite in the air requires preparation and continuous but moderate focus. It’s very relaxing. I live in Portand Oregon, at the bottom of a river valley where wind doesn’t often make it to ground level. It’s a hard place to fly kites but a fun place to try. I like having a kite in the air when there’s no wind on the ground. Portland’s shifting air currents challenge me to measure and visualize the wind, fly-kites off-angle from the wind, and design kite balloons.