Tag Archives: Hawaiian crafts

Field Trip!- learning about the handwork and culture of Hawaii


I’m so excited to share a few pictures with you. The last few days we have been on a great field trip to the island of Oahu in Hawaii. We’ve been visiting different places to learn all about the culture of fabric and handwork in Hawaii.

It is just so amazing!


Our first stop was the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. This is me with my grandparents who live on Oahu. We were able to see very old examples of barkcloth which is the predecessor to fabric. It’s basically super heavy weight paper that was used as bed covering, clothing, and lots of other things. You would strip the peel off the bark, use the pulp to create a paper, and use a beater to flatten it out. The beaters had different designs carved into them and that is what left the unique “watermarks” on the bark cloth that made them so amazing to look at.

Here’s a picture of me using a beater to make my own barkcloth.


We also saw some amazing woven pieces that were so beautiful and completely handmade.

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My favorite thing though by far was the feather work. I didn’t even know such a thing existed! Lei’s and beautiful royal capes and neckpieces were all made of feathers! The feathers were tiny and all individually sewn on. It’s incredible.

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Today I got to meet an actual feather artist! We went to a place called Waimea Valley on the North Shore of Oahu. It’s a historical site where many artisans share the traditional arts and crafts of Hawaii.

The feather artist is named Reni A’ia’i Bello and she was working on a lei and I got to watch her work. She actually let me try on an amazing lei that was made to look like a peacock!

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It was so special! Here’s a link to Reni’s work.


It was a fantastic field trip and we’re not done yet. I’ll be sharing more with you soon about Hawaiian quilts which are the most beautiful quilts I’ve ever seen!

Thanks for reading and Happy Sewing!