Kite maker to fly high in China

2019-04-09 06:01
Phil Hattingh will take his tribal mask kites to the Weifang International Kite Festival in China.

Phil Hattingh will take his tribal mask kites to the Weifang International Kite Festival in China.

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Kite maker from Kommetjie, Phil Hattingh is taking his work to the “birthplace of kites” in China for an exhibition at the 2019 Weifang International Kite Festival.

Hattingh has been invited to the festival that will take place from Saturday 20 April to Thursday 25 April.

“I have a multitude of feelings. I am tremendously excited for the festival and I am honoured to have received the invitation,” says the kite maker.

Hattingh, owner of Far Out Kites, has been making kites for 31 years since teaching himself the art of the craft from books he found in the library. After learning to sew, he found that he could create these one of a kind pieces which have even been used as decorations at the Two Oceans Aquarium.

“He made the humongous flying octopus and giant Nemo for the Two Oceans Aquarium,” says a friend, Delia De Villiers-Minnaar.

Looking back on his first handmade kites, he recalls spending more than a week to complete each one but now says the work comes as second nature to him. The giant octopus, which he is set to exhibit at the festival, only took him a mere five hours from start to finish.

In addition to the octopus, which has some “babies” that will also make their way to China, he will be showing tribal masks, his zombie chickens and the biggest kite arch in Africa, made up of 500 individual kites.

His tribal masks are a firm favourite that he created about 15 years ago and he has flown them at a number of events. He estimates that the preparation for this exhibition of kites has taken him more than a month.

“Since I received the invitation, I have been busy every, single day,” he says. His hard work has paid off in recent years as his kites have taken him to festivals in England, Scotland, France and Australia, and the festival for this year is especially exciting as it takes place where the very first kite was recorded to have flown.

He will leave for the festival on Thursday 17 April. This experience will offer him more than just the opportunity to travel abroad for his passion once again. “My son will be joining me from Australia. They have made it more than possible for him to come to the festival, so it’s going to be an exciting family reunion,” he says.

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