Intricate: Building a traditional tissue paper kite from scratch takes great skill and patience. Arthur Douglas loves giving his kites away to children. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Intricate: Building a traditional tissue paper kite from scratch takes great skill and patience. Arthur Douglas loves giving his kites away to children. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
It’s 10pm on a weekday and Arthur Douglas is applying the finishing touches to another traditional Bermuda paper kite.

It is the fifth one he has made since returning to his Devonshire house after a busy day at work a few hours earlier.

Combining precision measurement and intricate and colourful designs, the self–proclaimed “Round Kite King of Devonshire” makes kite making look all so easy.

Building traditional kites from scratch, Mr Douglas began his craft at the age of ten.

Donations

He made them at first for personal enjoyment and school competitions, but later earned pocket change from supplying stores with the tissue paper kites.

Even at 54, Mr Douglas shows no signs of slowing down.

He does not make kites for profit these days. Instead the construction company owner makes them solely for charity – and takes great pleasure in doing so.

For the past two decades he has donated kites to children in the neighbourhood as well as to relatives and friends.

So how did it all begin?

“One day a mate of mine was with his children and their kite broke loose.

“Someone told him I had kites and so he drove down to my house. His daughter was crying but when she saw my kites her tears dried up,” said Mr. Douglas.

“She got herself a kite, a hot cross bun and fish cake and she was very happy. And from there this became an annual thing.

“Giving kites away makes my day and besides, it’s Easter.

“Christ died on the cross for us and so it’s not all about taking all the time.”

Such is his devotion to his craft, Mr. Douglas has a designated room in his house solely for kites.

In a day he says he can make as many as 25, ranging in size from two to three feet.

It takes him about half an hour to make a kite from scratch. “If I start making kites around 6:30 pm I won’t stop until 2:30 am. On the eve of Good Friday I stay up the whole night making kites.”

Mr. Douglas also takes great pleasure and pride in watching his kites soar to great heights in the wind.

“My kites go up and it takes about three or four guys to pull them down,” he said.

“But they are not for children. I make children’s kites, but the ones that I make for myself are not for kids.”