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Evolution of a Weaver

It's been four years since I started weaving, and in May this year I was named Kumu Ulana Lauhala. Looking back, I'm amazed at how I've grown as a person and as a weaver ! Join me on a visual journey through weaving milestones -- from my first bracelet to latest pāpale.


 

May 2017: Bracelets

Conference: Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona

Kumu: Iliahi Anthony

For any beginner, the first place to start is with bracelets. This is the most fundamental project and introduces students to the basics of weaving. I learned this at my very first conference. Pictured are the first Lauhala things I've ever woven !


~Continued bracelet practice

Over time, I continued to practice my bracelet skills, eventually designing my own patterns and using finer koe (strips).


October 2017: Basic Basket & Bricks

Conference: ʻAha Pūhala O Puna

Kumu: Iliahi Anthony

At my second conference, I learned how to make basic moena (mats), 'eke (baskets), and lauhala-covered bricks to use as doorstops and paper weights.


2017: Nihoniho Mat

Kumu: Michele Zane Faridi

The Nihoniho mat has "niho" or "teeth" running along its edges. This was a next step of development from my experience making basic mats.



2017: Piko Water Bottle

Kumu: Michele Zane Faridi

Once I had the basics down, I was invited to Aunty Michele's piko water bottle class. This was a huge challenge for me at that time, but I also learned a lot and was able to complete my first piko project ! By the way, aside from pāpale, projects involving piko are considered Intermediate.


May 2018: Piko Mat

Conference: Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona

Kumu: Michael Nahoʻopiʻi

Ah, the piko mat ! The gateway to pāpale... By weaving a piko mat, I learned how to join multiple pikos together, as well as how to add in new pieces to create a flat object. Pictured are my first two piko mats.


2018: Piko Purse

Self Study

With some extra materials I had lying around, I got some practice in by creating my first ever piko purse. There are five piko across the bottom.


October 2018: First Pāpale Pāʻole

Conference: Kauluhiwaʻolele

Kumu: Karen Hasegawa

My first-ever pāpale was a crownless one. When I made this, it brought together almost everything I learned to-date, including basic mat, water bottle, and piko mat.


January 2019: First Pāpale

Kumu: Karen Hasegawa

After working with Karen at the Maui conference, we got connected back home in Hōlualoa. She guided me in making my first ever real pāpale ! But I will say that with all the experience I had built up until this point, making the pāpale was more or less pretty straightforward. From here on out, it's all about fine tuning.


August 2019: First Pāpale ʻĀnoni

Self Study

At this point, I had been selling pāpale and raffling them off to raise money for the kia'i on Mauna Kea. Because I was quickly turning out lots of pieces, I was able to gain more comfort and ease. I think it shows up in the quality of my work !


September 2019: Loulu Fiber & ʻIe

Kauluhiwaʻolele

Kumu: Pōhaku Kahoʻohanohano

This conference was a lot of fun. I got to experiment with specialty fibers such as mai'a (banana), kō (sugar cane), and loulu (fan palm). We made 'ie (braids) using these special materials, and used them to embellish pāpale lauhala.


August - October 2020

As I continue to weave, I try to challenge myself to try new patterns, develop new designs, and keep refining my ability.

 

In just a few short years, I've been able to go from *no weaving knowledge* to *confidently making pāpale and teaching my first student from the ground up*. I'm so grateful for the Kumu Ulana Lauhala who have guided and encouraged me along this path, and I hope to continue to do right by them as I expand my ability and my service to the future generations of Native Hawaiian weavers. Here's to four more years of weaving growth, and many more after that !


Have you begun your weaving journey ? What was your first project, or your favorite thing so far ? Leave your comment below, and let's celebrate our journeys together.


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