From TasmaniaRobert comes from St Helens which is in the north east corner of Tasmania, Australia. He is presidents of the kiteflyers of Tasmania association. When he last updated his website he said he was 46. By profession, he is a horticulturist having studied and worked in the UK horticultural industry aor 10 years from 1984 to 1994. However, he is currently he is working as a full time kite maker.
There is plenty of useless information about him including that his favourite food is Greek Salad; favourite beverage is coffee; favourite book is : Stone by Andy Goldworthy and favourite music is: Simple Minds, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan.
Robert started kite flying when, as a stressed out mature student he borrowed his god-son's plastic superman kite. Unfortunately he totally wrecked this poor little kite while he experimented with it looking for more speed, agility and performance by trimming the sail to different shapes. Ten years later, while holidaying in Washington State, he drove into Long Beach and found the three kite shops. A surfing holiday quickly adjusted into a kite discovery holiday sparking Robert’s addiction for kites.
In 1991 he set up Ground Zero Kites and transferred the business to Tasmania when he moved back there in 1994. He moved into single lines kites in the late 1990’s as a break from his daily routine of stunters. His wife Tracey and him are also both very keen gardeners and their spare time is taken up with developing a 2.5 acre garden in a very low rainfall area of Tasmania. He also surf when the conditions are right and have just gotten into traction kiting as well.
Ground Zero Kites specialize in swept wing deltas, designed and constructed particularly for the hard and varied Australian climate. Unusually be ‘mixing’ stunt line and single line kites Robert has managed to make kites both his livelihood and his hobby.
Robert gets his inspirations from a wide variety of places. He has a particular interests in Gothic architecture, but his main influence without doubt would be from the sculptural works of Andy Goldsworthy, ( British Sculptor), Antoni Gaudi (famous Spanish architect) and Charles Rennie MacIntosh (pre art deco architect and designer). The influences of these people may not be obvious to those looking at my kites and are difficult to see. Also, some individual pieces of Moorcroft pottery designed by Sally Tuffin has had a direct influence on some of my water series of kites. In terms of people within the kite industry, the person he says that he has most respect for Tim Benson for his ability to churn out quality sport kite after quality sport kite.
Roberts’s awards include:-
• Won Masters Category three times on different occasions for large sculptural pieces at Long Beach Kite Festival Competition 1999, 2001, and 2003 in Washington State USA.
• Won Hargraves Perpetual Trophy in Australia.
• Featured flyer in American Kite magazine winter/ spring 1999.
• Featured designer in "Sports und Kite Drachen", German kite magazine issue 3 2001.
Away from flying Robert uses his knowledge of materials in lateral fields. As an example in September 2006 he took part (will take part) in the Fabric Forum in, Australia. The Fabric Forum is an organization for the promotion of Textile art and is highly regarded around the world for its work. This year the weeklong workshop is to be held in Geelong, Victoria and Robert has been asked to join in the tutoring team. He will be working with mixed fabric, both conventional and not so conventional to create original works. Fabulous!.