Graduate landscape architects took to the skies on Aug. 24 outside the Architecture and Planning Building with homemade kites for the department’s first-ever “We Fly! Kites!” event. 

Jodi Naderi, the graduate program director of landscape architecture, said the spectacle was an icebreaker project for her students as well as a mark to the beginning of a new semester at Ball State.

”[My students] said, ‘We’ve never made a kite!’” Naderi said. “I said, ‘Good! We Fly! Don’t worry!’”

The night before the release, globs of calcified hot glue and knotted bundles of string crisscrossed the craft table on the second floor of the Architecture Building as students worked to meet Naderi’s criteria. 

Each kite required an autobiographical element within its design, but the true test was if it could actually fly. 

Students in the landscape architecture masters program fly kites they built during the "We Fly! Kites!" event Friday, Aug. 24 outside the College of Architecture and Planning Building. Adam Pannel, DN

“Making a kite is not easy work,” said Weilun Xia, a graduate landscape architecture major. “I’ve failed two times to fly my kite.” 

Natalie Freeman, another graduate landscape architecture major, said that while she was nervous about getting a kite to fly, she found the project “thought-provoking to redesign an everyday” object that is usually bought, not crafted by hand. 

At 3:30 p.m. Friday, Freeman and her classmate’s threw their kites to the sky between Bracken Library and the Architecture Building, watching as some managed to ride the wind and others careened to the ground. 

No matter the outcome, Naredi said she saw the event as a creative learning experience. 

Professor Jody Naderi demonstrates kite flying to landscape architecture masters students for "We Fly! Kites!" on Aug. 24. Adam Pannel, DN

“It’s okay to crash. It’s okay to fail. That’s how you learn,” Naredi said. “We’re okay with getting muddy and dirty and falling on your face because it’s part of what you need to give yourself permission to be really creative and to really have breakthroughs.”

Naredi is already looking ahead to next year, where she envisions another class of students experiencing the “joy” of flying and crafting kites. 

She hopes to get more students to take the glue gun challenge and make a kite, so she can have the opportunity to watch more careers take off the ground. 

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