Robert Brasington Kite Workshop

By Rick Spurgeon

In August of 2015 SDKC was contacted by Robert Brasington to see if we would be interested in conducting a kite building workshop to be lead by him. The first reaction was Well Of Course! The second reaction by most people was Wait, how long do I have to learn how to sew? Eventually 11 people were convinced they could survive a kite building workshop to be held in March, a comfortable number of months away, plenty of time to learn how to sew if you didn’t already know how.

Dave and Iris were able to reserve a community room at their condo complex for the weekend at a ridiculously low price. A place to stay was found for Robert, Dave and Iris again. After a little haggling it was decided which kites were to be built. Everyone bought, borrowed, or stole a sewing machine (although maybe there wasn’t as much pre-workshop practice as intended). All the miscellaneous bits were rounded up (double sided tape, spray glue, rulers, poster board, etc). We were a go!

The Friday evening of the workshop we all gathered at a Denny’s for a meet and greet with Robert and the others who weren’t SDKC members. The hope was this would save a little time and the workshop would get off to a quicker start in the morning. Even if it didn’t save anytime it was still good fun.

Early on Saturday morning (not Dave’s strong point) we meet in Mira Mesa and setup our equipment. We were in an excellent space with lots of room, tables, chairs, good lighting, clean restrooms, and even close parking! Great job Dave and Iris! Diane, who wasn’t building kites, was available both days as a general helper and gopher. She went out both days for forgotten supplies and to bring back lunch so the rest of us could keep on working.

On the first day we were to build a modified version of Robert’s Dieppe Bird. Ours would be all white and intended to be flown at our annual Memorial Month Fly and hence became known as the Memorial Bird. Being all one color, as opposed to Robert’s signature color treatment, made them a good choice to get started for the novice kite builders. For the rest it was still a good intro to Robert’s kite building techniques.

Saturday was a fairly long day and we might have worn Robert down a bit. Between explaining each step to everyone, helping many with recalcitrant sewing machines, and helping everyone individually he had a pretty rough day. As an experienced workshop leader he managed to stay in good spirits however. Cudos to Robert, if you get a chance to take one of his workshops don’t pass it up!

All Photos Clickable For Larger Versions

By the end of Saturday pretty much everyone had finished (or nearly so) their Memorial Birds. Off to Applebee’s for a well deserved dinner and maybe an adult beverage. Then home to bed to prepare for another hard day of sewing.

Robert must have done a pretty good job on Saturday because everyone was back bright and early on Sunday for more. Todays project was a Waif Train of 3 or 6 kites depending on budget and expected stamina. The goal was to finish at least one kite and then you could do the others at home at your own pace. (The following weekend I met someone at Kite Party who had just finished his train of 6 Waifs, only took him two years.)

The building technique for the Waifs was much the same as the Memorial Bird but with the added steps of learning Robert’s signature color fading technique. Sunday wasn’t quite as long a day and again everyone finished at least one sail if not a whole kite.

The workshop was a pretty flexible event thanks to Robert. Not everyone’s Bird was white. Not everyone’s Waifs were multicolored. Not everyone even built Birds, but worked on Waifs both days.


Although eleven people turned out to be a pretty good number of people for the workshop you missed a great opportunity if you weren’t there. Most if not all the attendees are wondering when the next workshop will be.

Attendees included Dave and Iris C, Don and Monica F, Rick and Diane S, Charles G and Mary D, Tom K and friend Melodie, Cherie M, and Dan W.

All Photos Borrowed From SDKC’s Facebook Page

Glen Mitchell posted a video on YouTube of Cherie’s successful building adventures.