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June 15, 2011

Apprenticing with Chinese kite master - off to a fantastic start!

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Learn more about the upcoming kite festival at U-M!

With support from the Center for Chinese Studies, U-M School of Art & Design faculty Anne Mondro and Matt Shlian are in Beijing this summer working with HA Yiqi, renowned Chinese kite master.

Anne and Matt have kindly provided pictures from their first sessions with Master Ha; and Anne has shared thoughts and highlights from their first day in the studio. Please check back often for more of their photo diary entries.

We came to Beijing, a city that thrives on it's mass produced goods, to seek out a true master. A master of craft and tradition. Master Ha Yiqi to be exact. Master Ha is a fourth generation kite maker and the main reason we came to China. To study and learn how to create traditional Chinese kites from one of the country's most distinguished and skilled artisans. A true honor.

Here in Beijing we become his students, watching him closely as he carves and splits the bamboo to make the boning of the kite. Our first lesson, a simple frame composed of four pieces of bamboo, takes us three hours to make. Each piece of bamboo must be level, not to thin, not to thick. We split and scrap down our bamboo over and over again. Finally a thumbs up and a "good" from Master Ha.

- Anne Mondro

A first kite.

The simple beauty of bamboo frame kites.

Anne and Matt with Master Ha.

Master Ha at work.

Just a few of Master Ha's, well, masterpieces.

A closeup.

Another closeup.

Anne and Matt in front of some of Master Ha's work.

Posted by zzhu at June 15, 2011 04:26 PM