Born in the Scottish Highlands in 1884, he’s been known as the ‘kite gnome’ since just a wee lad. Nobody remembers his given name, and that’s OK with him. After making his way to America in the late 1950s, he built a little cabin and workshop in the hills of western North Carolina. Somewhere around 1999, he became friends with a kitemaker who lives down at the base of his beloved mountains. The two will go to kite festivals, and the kite gnome will talk of his days spent flying kites with friends back in the Highlands. He always likes to say that the best people come with ‘strings attached’.
He doesn’t travel much anymore. He likes going to the festivals and meeting new people, but he says the last 135 years are catching up with him. I think he just doesn’t like being too far gone from his hills, his cabin, and the little trout stream that runs behind the shop.
A few months ago, he started thinking about ways to share a little of the joy he’s felt and seen in the eyes of countless people around the world flying kites. His mind’s sharp as a tack, and the cabin has a pretty good internet connection, so we set him up with an old computer. He’s taken to drawing stuff and writing down things he finds interesting. He said he had an idea for a website to sell kite related shirts and swag. He’s been using the word “swaggery” for his shop. Is that like hattery, but for swag?
More recently, he’s been rambling on about something more, something bigger. He thinks there’s a need for a new place online for the kite community to meet and exchange ideas. Someplace to host magazine-style articles and galleries. A place that will foster an actual dialogue about kites and kiting, not just a monologue with an applause button. A place for people to remember that kiting’s only partly about kites, but maybe even more so about the people we meet, and the places it takes us along the way.
We’ve grown fond of the crazy old gnome, so whatever form this venture winds up taking, Ken and I are in for the long haul. Thanks for stopping by, it’s wonderful to have visitors. We hope you’ll spend a little time with us today. Maybe register for the forum, or check out the swaggery, which helps us pay for everything.