Aloha kākou e nā mea noʻeau kapa!
So good to see the accumulating knowledge represented by this group of activist in wauke and kapa. Forgive me for jumping in and opening this discussion of kapa patterns. They have always amazed me, in their elegance, art, and meanings. I was looking for ways to render the patterns that are seen into electronic forms, rather a melding of primary technology and tertiary technology, just as ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi has gone from word of mouth, to printing press, and now to searchable electronic media.
Here by way of example, is an image of a wonderful piece of kapa that was on display recently from a short-term exhibit of Cook artifacts:

and here is my rendering in electronic form:

I would very much enjoy seeing in this group a gallery of kapa patterns and dyed pieces, and a general celebration of what is coming from kapa workers of today.
me ka mahalo a nui,

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Replies to This Discussion

absolutely 'Ohu and mahalo nui for sharing this! i know just what you mean about utilizing the modern technology in our kapa making and have figured out how to do some crazy things with designs myself. theres such a fine line between keeping the art recognizable as traditional Hawaiian, even as we try to bring it to the 21st century and mold it in the images of the modern Hawaiians who continue this art. your rendering looks like it could be a woven thing! I know you're a man with a wealth of knowledge and i look foward to your thoughts and comments, random and otherwise! :)
Mahalo e Dalani, and I look forward to sitting in one of the future hana malo workshops, can't go to the one coming up, as I will be in Brazil participating in an assessment of indigenous peoples' strategies in conservation in Amazonia, but I hope that these workshops are held every now and then, so I can make and one day wear a malo kapa ke'oke'o when I stand in protocol.
brazil....thats tough man : / but be safe and have a great time and yes we will have more of those classes and i'll look foward to seeing you at one of them!
aloha nui :)
Aloha e Ohu,

Beautiful designs. I have to say that artistically I haven't had time to do much. Right now, we are working on making kapa for the repatriation of the `iwi found at Hokuli`a. I have been very fortunate to study the dying process through my work with many plants but right now, we are trying to beat kapa for repatriation. Dalani's work is so beautiful and inspiring so I beat out two pieces last night and home to create artwork out of it. but I will however post pictures of my i`e kuku. Those I feel are artworks in itself. I will post as soon as I get good sun here for taking the pictures. I would love to evolve into the artistic side as soon as my baby gets bigger and not so dependant on me.

aloha mai kaua 'Ohu
maikai no kela ki'i ho'ouna ana mai mahalo.
This is a precontact design the reds were done with Noni. The design was hand painted not stamped. Ohe Kapala designs came in after the introduction of metal tools and with fine desgin watermarks in the Tapa. Precontact Tapa did not have all the different watermarks of Post contact tapa just the hoopai fine lines. The entire Tapa was painted with the design which took more time than ohe kapala. My students created several of these precontact designs back in 1987 we painted the red and yellow down a Kalapana before the lava took away the black sand beach. Kalapana o ka one hanau no Paola Elderts kou makou tutu.
Uncle Wes
aloha kaua e anakala:
Ae, he mea nani kamahao keia wahi kapa. Indeed, it is precontact, since it is from the Cook voyage. I was also struck by its lack of true symmetry, indicating that for the most part it was painted, not stamped. One portion of the pattern, the numerous black marks, each made up of crossed parallel lines, are so similar to each other that I would put that these were made perhaps using the tines of a kakau instrument, oh how painstaking the process would be! When the image is enlarged in these black marks, it is easy to see that the ends of the vertical and horizontal rows are not exactly alike, going "outside the lines" so to speak! Also, there are blocks in which the verticals were missed, and also partials filling space between sections. All very free-form, yet giving an overall impression of pattern and precision. True art!

Mahalo for sharing about the dyeing plants such as noni for the red dye. I find it remarkable that the colors of this kapa from the 1700s were so clear and attractive over 200 years later.
mahalo a piha

aloha mai kaua

I just did a workshop on Maui and pageant on Maui and the Sun with Hokulani where we recreated costumes with precontact  designs. Nana mai ka'u hoike ana

owau iho no


Oh! nani nō hoʻi! Mahalo no neia kiʻi!



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