Here’s the skinny on artist, designer and kitemaker, Barbara Meyer, how to nab some of her original creations, and more!
1. Your intricate designs are known the world over, and you’re quite an accomplished kite builder. How did you find your way into kiting?
In the late 1970s — yea it’s been a while — Alex brought home a kite we would fly from the roof of our apartment building. At that point, we were seriously thinking of buying a sailboat to use on Lake Superior. Ultimately, we decided kiting was just as fun and not as expensive. Talk about a miscalculation!
In the late 1980s we adopted our son, and I stayed home from work. At that time, I made and wore tailored suits to work every day. Suddenly there was no need. Requiring an outlet, and finally having better supplies available, I began translating quilt techniques into kites
2. What is your favorite kite to make and why?
My first love was and is, deltas. Lately, I have built more double parasleds and have been exploring surface designs on other flat and bowed kites.
3. What advice would you give to anyone who’s interested in kitemaking, but doesn’t know how to get started?
If at all possible, get to a workshop whether it be a club or one of the regional gatherings. The closest in the Midwest is the U-MAKE retreat held the first weekend in March. Other great ones are the Oregon Kitemakers Retreat in January or the Fort Worden Kitemakers Conference held mid-March in the Seattle area.
If you can’t go, there are many online resources. Kitebuilder.com has a forum where regular workshops are held. Their files go back 20 years with lots of good advice and encouragement.
Another source for hundreds of plans is the kiteplan base at www.kiteplans.org. Reach out to a builder with specific questions. Almost everyone is glad to help.
4. Where is your favorite place to kite fly?
That’s like asking me to pick a favorite kid! Clear Lake, IA in the winter (Color The Wind Kite Festival) is a must-attend for us. Other never-miss are Jamestown, ND; Brookings, SD; and Two Rivers, WI (Kites Over Lake Michigan). If we can drive, count us in.
5. What’s the best way for someone to buy one of your hand-made originals?
First, I need to emphasize, while I’ll gladly sell you any kite I’ve made, building to order is not on offer. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, DM me in Instagram: makinkites or FaceBook: Barbara Freeberg Meyer. Having spent the lockdown building kites, we’ll never fly them all.
All this has been about me, but kites would not get into the air without the help and support of my husband Alex. If a full-size pattern would help, a 3D fitting to be printed, line to be wound, kites to be launched, he is right there to take make it happen. And most of all, he is a much, much better flyer than I ever could be.
“Of all the designers we work with, Barbara’s Premier Collections pieces are definitely some of the most sought after by kite enthusiasts all over the world. From the very beginning, her spectacular patchwork quilt designs set a new and innovative benchmark to flying beauty in the sky. We’re extremely proud to have a designer so talented work with us on our high-end kite offerings.” – Val Deale, General Manager, Premier Kites and Designs
3 thoughts on “‘KitesUp!’ with Barbara Meyer”
Congrats on a new vehicle to merge kiting and corporate America. The Barbara Meyers interview was well done.
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Thanks for taking time to check it out Glenn. More to come.