Lee Toy – the name carries the creativity, the enthusiasm, and the sheer joy of life that Leland wore and shared during his much- too-short life. To do anything in his name requires one’s very deep consideration, a direct intention, and a respect to his path – and to his passion. He’s truly a legacy; and this is an award to not be given lightly – without due examination. It demands the respect due to such an incredible spirit as Leland Toy.
A few years ago, I became familiar with the art of a European kite maker. Having been responsible to a specific AKA Region for so many years, I hadn’t traveled to any kiting events outside of the U.S. That, coupled with the fact this artist was based in Europe and hadn’t attended more than a few events in the U.S. over the years, I’d simply not been exposed to his history of kite making or to his art. In addition to the geographical challenges, this particular kite artist is extremely quiet. He’s very humble and unassuming, which means that he’ll never be able to blow his own horn. Even questioning him on his achievements over the years as a kite maker is a challenge! The niche he’s carved is quite deep, much deeper than is immediately apparent; but it’s not yet as wide as it should be. You may know his name but, until very possibly quite recently – maybe even at this convention, you may not have had the opportunity to see the depth and the detail of his art.
In the same dear spirit as Leland Toy – the Kite Vagabond, this award nominee possesses that meticulous attention to detail and the determination to share a passion for kite flying; through his art, through his words, and through his actions. A lot of us in this country may not have realized it but, across the ocean, the bar of excellence has been repeatedly raised, and this nominee for this extremely special award has done so… very quietly.
Lee Toy – the name, the legacy, means creativity, originality, dedication, inspiration, innovation, generosity, and humility; a willingness to teach and share, to be innovative, to selflessly promote kiting – technically and artistically. I can think of no better recipient to be honored in his name than kite maker Christian Baden Powell.
For well over 25 years, Christian Baden Powell has been challenging the structures and techniques of kite making and refining the art of appliqué in numerous forms and types of kites. The various venues for his creations have included stunt kites, Suruga Dako, Yakko Dako, and Sode Dako, flowforms, and Rokkaku, to name a few; plus he has an extensive collection of individual freestyle creative designs. In addition to the detail of the varied construction, diversity, and creativity of the artwork and the complications of varied framework; the sheer size of many of his pieces is absolutely staggering. This inventory is expansive and quite impressive, and may be sampled at his web site (www.levitor.de).
But wait – there’s more…
He recreated a specific modification to the classic Rokkaku. Earlier, I mentioned his generosity and willingness to share both the technical knowledge and the art of kite making. Within his appliqué blog (www.levitor-kites.blogspot.de), he included extremely detailed, step-by-step, illustrated instructions – including all technical specifications and measurements, and even the materials inventory and supplier recommendations for his appliqué technique. This tutorial opened the door for him to institute an easily accessible on-line workshop for his creation, which has come to be labeled the “CBP Rok”. Therefore, he was – and IS – able to share his knowledge freely, with no regard for compensation or notoriety. This distinctive Rokkaku feature incorporates a unique three-point bridle and four spars, two of which are diagonal. This particular type of framing allows for more airborne maneuverability.
To be nominated for the Lee Toy Memorial Kite Artist of the Year is quite an honor; it’s an honor shared with many other prestigious artists. Neither the award, nor the nomination, are to be undertaken without due consideration of the person, the legacy, and the honor. I’ve given that consideration to this nomination. I see that same spirit and dedication that Leland Toy carried, and bestowed. The same level of enthusiasm and creativity; the meticulous attention to detail; the innovation and the joy; the stern determination; the unselfish generosity; the challenging originality; and even the humility… they’re all apparent in Christian Baden Powell.
Nomination submitted by Gayle Woodul (AKA 117718)
“I’m delighted to add my endorsement to this nomination. I’ve been impressed with Christian for several years now via Facebook. The time lapse appliqué videos and Roc workshops are wonderful, and certainly demonstrate his willingness to share new ideas. It takes a lot of hard work and time to share techniques long distance. It’s obvious that he loves kites and the kite community.”
– Alexa King