There is one thing I always hear from people who wander into The Paper Place, “Beautiful paper, but what do you use it for?” The possibilities are endless!
Recently, we were visited by customer Eric Griswold who, along with his family, uses our papers to build their very own handmade paper kites. He says, “The paper is not just for hanging around on a wall anymore. We attempt to elevate the status of some of your wares to the stratus of the skies over Peterborough!”
It takes Eric about one week to complete a kite. To do so he uses his specially designed jig. The jig is used to stretch and hold the framing string while the paper is folded over and glued into place. It is a delicate procedure and requires great care to construct. Wooden doweling is used to create the ‘T’ shaped ribs of the kite. Eric cuts and prepares the doweling by hand. When the kite is finished it is time to work out the bugs! No kite flys exactly the same and you need to get it up in the air to discover it’s particular quirks! Eric test flys each kite, amiable qualities are exploded and bad behaviors are corrected.
Kite making is a tradition in Eric’s family. With us he shares the story behind the story:
My Grandpa flew kites way before I was born. He flew them when my mother was very young, in the late 1930’s. When they couldn’t afford to buy them, he would use old sticks from former kites and form the sheets from newspapers. From the time I can remember, I recall Grandpa flying kites out over the water of his lakefront property in southern Michigan, where the family all gathered every summer.
Grandpa was a minister and used to say, especially near the end of his life, that he liked to fly kites because it made him feel somehow – for a little while – like he was physically closer to God. When he could put the kite so far out and up into the sky that no one could see it anymore, he would say he could feel God tugging on it once in a while.
Being the eldest Grandchild, I remember the most. All of the mechanical, structural adjusting techniques and flying ‘know-how’ I learned from watching Grandpa. I watched and committed it all to memory. I now am teaching the 4th generation down from Grandpa about kites. Maybe one day we will take a well flying, well tested handmade paper kite out over lake Ontario, and put it out of sight… so we can feel Grandpa tugging on it once in a while.
Thank you to Eric Griswold for sharing what he does with the papers he finds at The Paper Place! I hope his story inspires others with the possibilities of what our beautiful papers can create!