Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Challenge!

Here's a project for all of our kitebuilders... Are you up for it? And can you bring it down...?

Scott Nagle a Wired News challenges his readers to come up with a kite ferry solution using only a paper clip and plastic drinking straw. Surely our Kite Studio customers have an advantage.... Lets see who can do it. Click below for more details.

Wired News

Thursday, April 12, 2007

KiteBuilder News - Spring 2007 NEWS – SPRING 2007

Welcome Spring… and welcome all new customers and members of the community. This is your ‘occasional’ newsletter from Kite Studio. One of my resolutions for 2007 was to keep you better informed and to stay on top of emails. I think I am doing a better job in the email department, but noticed the last newsletter was in December, so I turned off American Idol, and started typing. Here’s what’s going on in Kite Studio land:

Last weekend was the kickoff to National Kite Month. I traveled to Washington DC for the annual Smithsonian Kite Festival. When the weather is warm, this is my favorite event. In the shadow of the Washington Monument, the temperature was in the upper 60’s, the sky was blue, and the winds were constant… a beautiful day. If the festival is an indicator of the upcoming season, 2007 is going to be a great year. It seemed a majority of kites were made with Kite Studio supplies; so if you were one of these contestants, thank you. If you were one of the winners, CONGRATULATIONS! Competition results will soon be posted on the Smithsonian website. You can view some of my personal photos HERE.

Since the last newsletter was sent in December, I realized I neglected to announce the outcome of two big events. In January, forum members voted for the 2006 Kite of the Year and KiteBuilder of the Year. In February, I announced the winners. KiteBuilder of the Year is an award to a forum member who goes beyond "a builder of kites." It represents active participation, asking questions, sharing points of view, motivation, encouragement, congratulation, and virtual pats on the back. This year’s winner deservingly went to Cliff Quinn of Coopersburg, Pennsylvania.

The number of kites produced in 2006 was phenomenal. If you re-read ALL the forum posts in 2006, you will discover many projects made by a mixed bag of kitebuilders; many without a drive for competition or designation. Whoever the builder, I think the main reason we create is not for a trophy or recognition, but for self-satisfaction. Over time, the projects may get bigger and more difficult, but the driving force is still that feeling we get when the kite walks the line the very first time. In particular, there was one kite in 2006 that stirred that feeling in a lot of us... The Kite of the Year award went to “Man in Black” by Kelvin Woods from the United Kingdom.

Congratulations to both Cliff and Kelvin. Both of you represent what the forum is all about. Thank you for your participation.

While on the subject of the Kitebuilder Forum, I’d like to give a shout out to Gary Engvall. In this quarter’s edition of the American Kitefliers Association’s “Kiting,” Gary did a fine job writing the article: “Navigating Online Forums.” It points a lot of new members in this direction and helps shorten the learning curve when registering on the forum. If you are thinking about getting involved in any of the web’s discussion forums, check out the article. My biggest reminder to all, read the FAQ’s !

The kitebuilder forum has been very active. Current statistics show over 1600 members posting over 55,000 articles. If you want to learn about kitebuilding, our forum is STILL the place to be. (make sure you register to view all forums).

My ongoing quest for a “kitebuilder icon” continues. Several ideas have been posted online, but I am still not completely sold. I really would like something simple… something that alludes to kitebuilding. I really want some shirts and hats but I don’t like wearing billboards. I’d like a basic design that I can embroider at the heart along with the word “kitebuilder.” If you have any ideas, snap a picture of a basic drawing and email me. Of course, if your idea is used, free merchandise will be available.

Speaking of free merchandise, how would you like to win $100 Kite Studio gift certificate? All you have to do is build a new kite and have it finished by the end of April. But there is a catch - you must interpret the following theme:

It should be a fun contest to judge and I look forward to all the entries. Click HERE for more information.

While you are online, check the kitebuilder’s Auction. As I write this newsletter, several auctions are running and scheduled to end April 8, 2007. Offers include: a Prism Quantum Pro, Jon Burkardt’s Kabuki Saruga, Ron Gibian’s Serengetti Dreams Rokkaku, and a Kite Studio Fabric Grab Bag. Other auctions pop up throughout the month, so it should be one of your regular visits if you like good deals on kite stuff. Listing items in the kitebuilder auction is free as long as you are a registered member of the forum.

Stay tuned for another new feature. Coming soon is a fully searchable, interactive website created by, and existing for, the community. It is basically a kitebuilders' encyclopedia that archives information on all things related to kitebuilding; including Plans, Reference, TechSheets, and Profile information. This system grows every day as people add more information, text, and pictures. With time, the Knowledge Base, coupled with the Kitebuilder Forums, will evolve into the premier source for kitebuilding information. I should be able to give you more info in the next newsletter. All good things take time.

Jeeesh, I don’t think I am a very good salesman. I probably should have included this section at the top of the newsletter. To tell you the truth, all the stuff I wrote above excites me a whole lot more than my job of cutting fabric and packing boxes. But this is the kind of stuff that pays the bills so I really should mention it.

FABRIC: I’ve been selling THOUSANDS of yards of .65 ounce Ripstop nylon. I have seven colors for sale at a blow out price of $3.00 per yard. The fabric is 60” wide and is really good quality. It has a softer feel than our regular .75 ounce but still works great for kites, ground displays, and fabric architecture. Because of its “soft hand” it is ideal for soft kites. And at three bucks a yard, how can you go wrong? Click HERE for fabric selections, and then click on the color for more information.

LINE: I hate to sound like a skipping CD, but I need to tell you that my Line Liquidation sale is still going strong. Prices are the best you will find on the web and if you buy two rolls, you will save even more! If you want more than two rolls, give me a call and talk nice… I’ll see what I can do J

SPECIALS: Be sure to check our rotating sale items. Every month (or so) our specials change to offer discounts on different colors, weights, and sizes of fabric and framework. Click Here

Continuing our endeavor to support kitebuilders, we still feature ready-made kites for sale. If your non-building buddies are looking for a kite, maybe you could point them in the direction. While I don’t offer ALL the kites available in the world, I do list a few quality kites that are backed by the seal of approval from the original designers... your fellow kitebuilders. A percentage of every dollar you spend gets kicked back to the kitebuilder. Realize I am just getting started, so there are only a few builders listed but I will be adding more in the future. Each month a different kitebuilder is featured at 15% off. Barb Meyer is our April builder. Click Here for more information.

As always, we continue to offer the best prices in the country for one stop shopping for kite fabric, framework, and fittings. If there is anything you are looking for and cannot find in our catalog, give me a call at 610-395-3560. If your matter is urgent, call my cell at 610-533-3528. I also have many items not listed in our catalog and our on-site machine shop can make almost any fitting that you can imagine.

If you are a member of the American Kitefliers Association you can enjoy a 10% discount off all our regular prices… but you have to tell us! When you place an online order, be sure to include your AKA number and expiration date in the comment section during checkout. If you are not a member, you can join online HERE. When you sign up, remember who referred you…

So that’s about it for now. I wish all of you a safe and wonderful Spring season. Remember, April is National Kite Month…. Put your hot knife, spar saw, and sewing machine away for a few hours… Go Fly a Kite!

Steve Ferrel
Kite Studio - Go Build a Kite!
Measure once, buy twice!

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