Profile of the Curator

Philip Le Riche

Way back in the mid or late '50s, when I was about 8 or 10, we were on holiday one year in Jersey (Channel Islands, UK), where we went most years because my grandparents and various relatives lived there. This particular year there was a group of kite fliers on the beach near to our usual spot. I can't remember too much about the kites except that these were no toy shop examples - these people were sending them up hundreds of feet, until they seemed no more than specks in the sky.

Ever since then I've been fascinated by kites. Probably one of my aunts bought me one, but if so, it was so far removed from what these people were doing that I have no recollection of it. It wasn't until I had children of my own that I had the excuse to take up the passtime again.

After one or two basic diamond kites in the late 80's, I graduated to a diamond stunter, which I had quite a lot of fun with. After that, I got a cheap delta stunter. I expected it to be more fun if more of a challenge to fly. The reality was that it was almost impossible to fly, and no fun at all. So I started making enquiries on the net, and eventually decided to get a Box of Tricks, which has given me endless enjoyment. That was Christmas '95.

Since then, I've built a number of kites, mainly from plans on the net. Initially, not having a sewing machine, I built Kel Krosschel's One Square Inch micro eddy (and one for each of the family!), and Kel's 2 cents Mini Sled (and a load of them for a kid's party!) Then I looked at kite-building with structural adhesive tape, and started building Charlie Charlton's 1.2m Rok, but chickenned out when it came to attaching the spar pockets, so I got my sister-in-law to sew them on for me. I decorated it with soft fabric paint and it looked great on holiday. Unfortunately I put the paint on too thick in my rush to get it finished, and it never cured properly. I also used dimensional fabric paint, which didn't stick very well. As a result it has since been pensioned off and reused as a wall hanging.

During the Summer of '96, I picked up an old sewing machine for five pounds at our church fete, which works fine except the bobbin winder is broken. But I can wind bobbins easily enough with the Black 'n' Decker! As a first excercise in sewing, I designed a ram-air sled from pictures in catalogues. I was thrilled just to handle something I'd sewn together myself, but it never flew. So I then build Charlie Charlton's Jewel Kite, and a load of Buck's ram-air sleds for kids for Christmas, appliquéd with the kids' initials. Next, (early '97) I built a 2m snowflake from a picture on the cover of Morgan's book. This used 12m of ripstop and involved 50m of edge binding! I've written up the plans if you'd like to build one yourself. It always attracts admiring comments, even sitting on the ground waiting for a bit more wind. Before the approaching Summer put kite-building projects onto the back-burner, with lawns to be mown and such like, I managed to build the Rowlands Multitube, and a proper sewn and appliquéd version of the 1.2m rok for the Summer holiday.

Following the Summmer, I built the Rowlands Flowform. In the process, I carried out an internet survey of other builders of this kite, pointers to which you will have seen on my home page. After a hiatus for home decorating, I built a circoflex. Like the snowflake, this is as real head-turner, being so unusual.

The next Winter ('97-'98) I built a dancing cube (which doesn't fly straight - I must build another) and reengineered the snowflake with a circular external frame. I also built the Rowlands Frog, probably my most ambitious project so far.

My most recent projects ('99) have been a pely box (looks great, but a disaster in the air!), and a roller. I built the roller in a rush before the Summer holidays because I desperately needed a kite that would fly in the lightest of breezes. It's turned out a great success. Since then, I built a Waldof Box - another real head-turner.

I'm married with 2 children, and live in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, UK. I'm a software engineer and work on secure systems. Here we are!

The Curator, with his wife and two daughters

Return to the Entrance Lobby - Continue the Guided Tour

You are visitor number since 10th Nov '98

Copyright © 1999 Philip Le Riche