On a scale of zero to 100, with 100 being someone who is insanely crafty and creative, I’m about a zero.
I’m not being overly-humble, but I do know my limits when it comes to arts and crafts, and I just don’t have the “it factor” when it comes to creating something beautiful from scratch (on the other hand, I’m a great admirer of crafty things).
So, you can imagine the awe I feel every time I see a beautiful, hand-made Hawaiian quilt. Not only do I admire the work and patience it took to make, but I also admire its beauty and utility.
Turns out, the art of Hawaiian quilt making goes back hundreds of years. According to womenfolk.com, the traditional Hawaiian bedcoverings were made of kapa, a cloth made from the inner bark of native trees. Strips of this inner bark were beaten and felted together to make it into a cloth that was smooth and soft to the skin. Kapa moe was kapa made into a bedcovering.
However, it was actually contact with the missionaries that took the “quilt” to the next level. When the first missionaries arrived, Hawaiian women learned how to use fabric instead of kapa cloth. And, then, of course, they learned how to decorate the kapa cloth with designs. By 1870, the first traditional Hawaiian quilt had emerged.
I was intrigued to learn that, during the takeover of Hawaii, Hawaiian natives developed another unique quilt form, one that uses the flag of Hawaii and other symbols of Hawaiian royalty in its design. These quilts honor the short-lived Hawaiian Kingdom, according to womenfolk.com. And, many of you probably know about Queen Lilioukalani’s “crazy” quilt on display at Iolani Palace, designed and created when she was imprisoned during the U.S. takeover of Hawaii.
Now that you know a little history of the Hawaiian quilt, where can you find Hawaiian quilting classes while you’re on vacation here? Read-on if you want to know more about some opportunities to learn this culturally-significant skill:
From time to time, various Hawaii hotels will offer Hawaiian quilting classes or have Hawaiian quilts on display in the lobby. Check with your individual hotel for details.
Even after writing this blog, I can’t say I’m ready to tackle a Hawaiian quilt just yet. But, researching this fascinating Hawaiian art has definitely inspired me to think about it!
Posted by: Bruce Fisher