Dragonwing is John LaTorre, a retired tentmaker and sailmaker, plus assorted friends and hangers-on. John has long been active in the Society for Creative Anachronism, not only as a tentmaker but a Baronial Chronicler, Principality Constable and Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer. His other activities have included (in no particular order) archery, brewing, harping, leatherwork, woodworking, carving, lutherie, and -- of course -- research on medieval pavilions.

In the Society, John is known as Johann von Drachenfels. He is a Master of the Laurel and the Pelican, a Court Baron, a Companion of the Western Orders of the Leaf of Merit and Rose Leaf, and has a few other letters after his name.

Besides making tents, he teaches people how to make their own. He has held classes on the subject at the Twenty-five Year Celebration, The Thirty Year Celebration, a couple of Estrella Wars and numerous Kingdom and local Collegia. The handout he gave out at 30YC, somewhat updated, can be found in How to Make your Own Pavilion in this web site.

John started Dragonwing as a business in Rohnert Park, California, in 1987 and, shortly afterward, moved it to Salinas. He had to close the business for a few years to let a hurt shoulder heal, but reopened it in 1996 in Sacramento, and continued to run it until his retirement in 2013. John is still Dragonwing, but now Dragonwing is a publishing house, where he continues to publish books on his various interests.

Ever since he bought his first Volkswagen bus in 1971, he's been an admirer of the breed. He owned four of them (five if you want to count the parts bus), the latest of which he still owns and has restored to serviceability as a camper. That story is told in his book On The Bus, due to be released in November.

There might be people who ask "Wasn't there a John LaTorre in the hang-gliding industry for about twenty years? Used to be with Pacific Airwave (and other companies before that)? Did sail design for the Vision series?" Yup, same guy.

back to home page