Traditional art takes flight

Traditional art takes flight

Kites are an ancient Chinese invention. Two kite masters from Weifang, which holds an international kite festival every year, taught our junior reporters how to make kites at a workshop


(From left) Gabrielle Chan, Wang Yongshun, Wendy Ki, Tan Xinbo and Kent De Jesus show off their kites.
(From left) Gabrielle Chan, Wang Yongshun, Wendy Ki, Tan Xinbo and Kent De Jesus show off their kites.
Photos: Jonathan Wong/SCMP
Two kite masters from Weifang - known as the kite capital of the world - in Shandong province were in Hong Kong last month to show children how to make and fly kites.

Tan Xinbo and Wang Yongshun held a special workshop at the Go Fly a Kite - Kite Flying Community Art Event at Cyberport, near Pok Fu Lam. It was organised by the Southern District Council and Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation. Three Young Post junior reporters went along. This is what they learned.

Colourful designs

Wendy Ki and Kent De Jesus (left) paint designs on their kites

You need many different things to make a delicate kite: two long wooden splints to make the frame, a special knife to cut the splints, four thin plastic sheets, a candle, two round pieces of plastic - for the eyes of our butterfly kite - and lots of colourful acrylic paint.

To bend the splints to form the frame, we softened the wood by holding it a few centimetres above the flame of a candle. We had to be careful not to burn ourselves. Then we used forceps to carefully bend the splints into the curved shape of a butterfly's wings.

We then painted the plastic sheets that form the wings - the sides of the kite - with acrylic paint. Making a butterfly was the perfect design because it really does fly and is so colourful. We were able to experiment using lots of colours, rather than painting simple designs.

Finally, we launched our kite! It was fun seeing our colourful creations flying high in the sky. It made a great change from studying!

Kent De Jesus and Wendy Ki Yu-yuen

Master of a simple outdoor activity

Gabrielle Chan tries her hand at bending a wooden splint

Tan Xinbo was the kite master that taught us about making and flying kites. He's the general manager of a kite manufacturing company in Weifang, which is famous for its kite-flying tradition.

He was happy to promote this traditional handicraft to Hongkongers. "Teenagers today like to stay at home and play electronic games. They should go outdoors and embrace nature," Tan said.

"Kite flying is a good outdoor activity. It requires lots of thinking and physical exertion at the same time, so it is beneficial to your health."

It's not a complicated activity, he said. "For something to be a kite, it has to do only one thing - if it can fly in the sky, it's a kite: simple," he said, with a smile.

Gabrielle Chan Ka-po

Kite master Wang Yongshun shows children how to make the frame of a butterfly kite.

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