How did U-MAKE start?

It was because area kite makers missed having a regional event while MAKR (Midwest Area Kitemakers Retreat) was thinking about reorganizing. In June 2010, at Kites Over Grinnell, three attendees, Barbara Meyer, Ed Grys, and Linda Larkey, started talking about that huge, aching void.

For us a Kite Making Retreat is more than making kites — it is the friendships and idea exchange. It is what makes us keep going even when we have 5 partial projects from previous years that we know we will never finish.

Des Moines, IA was suggested as a new location, in part because of the number of Kitemakers who attend Iowa area events like Color The Wind, Clear Lake and Kites Over Grinnell, Grinnell, IA. The format was decided for one open classroom with three projects--a major sewing project, a small project, and a no sew project.

After much research, we held the first Upper Midwest Area Kitemaking Retreat at the West Des Moines Marriott in March of 2011. The following year, due to remodeling at the Marriott, we moved U-MAKE to January in 2012.

In 2013, the Marriott let us know their class room charges would nearly double. After much searching for an alternate location in Des Moines, we widened the search, this time looking at the home locations of those attending U-MAKE. Over half of those attending drove right past Taft Campus, the location that MAKR had been held. A call to Taft revealed they had only one weekend available… the weekend we wanted for U-MAKE 2013!

Deciding that HAD to be a sign it was meant to be, we signed contracts to return kites to Taft, home of the original Midwest Area Kitemaking Retreat. And adopted MAKR's format of multiple classes going on all weekend, and your choices of kite related projects just became MUCH harder! Join us in March!