FOR about 20 years, the corners of Camp and Robb Streets have been decorated with a plethora of ‘singing engine’ kites during the weeks leading up to Easter. These kites easily rival the colour wheel and outshine the simplistic ‘bird kites’ begging for some attention.
Ryan Naar, only 33 years old, has been making these kites for the past 20 years not because it provides him with some income, but because of his love for the Easter season.
You see, when he was a boy, he observed his aunts and uncles making kites. At their knee, according to him, he garnered an appreciation for the art and a vested interest in perfecting the craft of kite-making. And since then, he has taken time over the years to hone his skills.
He considers himself a professional in kite-making because he has continued even after his aunts and uncles would have stopped. Presently, there are several factors that set his kites aside from those made by others. Naar explained, “Concerning the colours, mine are different from everybody else’s and [the kites] are so neat, you don’t even see the paste.”
Even with these factors, it’s unbelievable that Ryan sells an average of 500 kites each year. To meet the market demand, he has to start making the kites from August all the way to April for the Easter season.
The entire process- from acquiring light wood from the sawmills to adding the finishing touches- is done almost entirely by him.
“If I got to put a man to make these kites, he won’t do it like me. My kites does be neat because I does sit down and take my time,” he explained. Naar added that he doesn’t make one kite at a time, instead, he does different parts (for example the frames) many at once before moving on to the other parts.
While many may overlook kite making as a simple task, Naar posits that it requires a great degree of craftsmanship. This skill is perhaps also what propels him in his general livelihood (and hobby, according to him) of masonry and general construction work.
Such is the skill needed that he trusts no one else to interfere with his work- unless of course, it’s his little nieces or nephews, who would help him add the pretty designs and decorations to the almost completed kites.
Just as he would have grown up around kites because of his own aunts and uncles, it seems as though history has repeated itself.
Due to his childhood experiences coupled with his general love for Easter, Ryan turns into “one big Easter bunny” during the season. He just wants to spread joy by selling the best kites or just by sharing his skills with his nieces or nephews.