Q&A: Christopher Jarratt

I'm currently the Resident Blogger for Tate's Art Exchange, an online platform for artists, educators, creators and anyone interested in art to share ideas! It's free to register and packed with interesting ideas and projects to try with students or at home, take a look if you have time. Along the way I've met and interviewed some really inspiring artists, including Christopher Jarratt.

As an artist and maker Christopher designs and produces whimsical pieces like giant slingshots, spinning tops and hairbrushes. What particularly excited me was Community Kite Project, which Christopher set up in 2011 with a collective of artists, designers and makers. Together with Christopher they run kite-making workshops, which have taken them around the world working with diverse audiences of all ages.

here's a snippet of our chat…

JB: I noticed you write about imagination and the ‘fantastical ideas’ we dream when we’re children. Would you say this is your main influence? Where do your ideas for your objects and projects come from?

CJ: Story telling, daydreaming and play. These are key influences for me and I try and channel these things through my everyday life which hopefully in turn is sparking my imagination which in turn gets me creating things and coming up with new ideas. It's very easy to rationalise these types of things out of our mindsets as we get older. I feel there is huge value to everyone to keep these actions alive. If my work can spark these things in others, that is great.

JB: You formed Community Kite Project back in 2011 and have since been running kite making workshops. What first drew you to the idea of kites?

CJ: I have always had a passion for making and flying kites (especially single line kites). They seem to have an ability to tell stories as much as create them. This thing you have created, flying in the wind connected to you by a thin bit of string, it's a very special relationship. It is only able to fly because you are holding on to it. If you were to cut the string, it won’t fly away (like it feels it is trying too all the time!), it will just drop to the ground.  Most people need to just look at a kite and they smile.

Kites are full of useful information, from the physics of flight and material properties through to the sculptural/architectural aspect of kite making and the painting of the canvas. The visual history of politics, life, love and belief has been represented on kites for as long as people have been making them.

Want to know more? Check out Christopher's website below.