June Begins the Bon Dance Season on the Big Island

June has arrived and with it the Bon Dance season on the Big Island. If you are visiting the island and have an opportunity to attend you should. Bon dance in Hawaii is a very social time. There will be local food for sale, Taiko drummers, men and women in Yukata (not required) and lots of dancing and music.

What is Bon dance? A celebration honoring  and remembering your ancestors. Spending an evening thinking about loved ones who have passed does not have to be depressing. Bon dance is one way to celebrate their memories while showing them that your life is moving foreword without them, and that your life is full of joy. What could be better than that?

Below is an online article published in Hawaii Magazine about Bon Dance as well as the 2016 schedule for Bon Dance, and a practice schedule if you would like to learn a dance or two. Lots of people just follow along at a Bon dance, so don't feel as if you have to know the dance steps. It's really all about having fun.

Restoring a faded and yellowed photograph from Hawaii's past

I recently purchased this yellowed and faded photograph at Alan's Antique Shop on Bay Front in Hilo. I got it because it depicts a boy's day celebration on one of the sugar plantations. Unfortunately Allen did not know who the family was or which plantation camp the photo was taken, basically nothing about the photo. So I shelled out $5 for the photo and came home to work my magic. Original condition of photograph

The second photo is after about 3 hours of color correction and adjustments. Wow, right? I am always amazed what I can pull out of an old photo. So even if you think you have a ruined photograph, never give up hope. It is always likely you can salvage the image. But, like I said, this one amazed me. Boys day carp copy 2 smallSo I enlarged areas and was even more amazed. The central family looks fabulous, Mom in her Kimono and dad holding the honored son. Look, it took a while to get a boy, how proud he must have been that day. The boy is draped in a formal kimono, complete with Mon, family crests (those are the white dots) and crashing waves for strength. The girls are looking pretty fine too, see the one holding her purse? And two dogs! Gotta love the Chesterfields Cigarettes poster clinging to the building in the background. That building, given it's size and location, was likely the bath house that held the community furo (bath).chesterfield sign small

The group on the left side had some surprises as well. There's a man sitting on the railing with his leg on the hand rail, slipper about to fall off. Look what he is holding! A photo of, I think, a string of carp from another boys day. Cool. The girls are cute. Doesn't one look upset not to be in the center of the photo, she was probably told to stay on the lanai. The other girls seems giddy, she must know she IS in the photo and happy about it. Maybe families took turns getting their photo taken under the banner. On the plantations, ethnic groups tended to stick together. So this is probably an all Japanese camp.kids on lanai small

Last, I've included a detail of the warrior banner the family was flying. It shows two samurai on horseback. See them?banner

I have several that are similar that I fly during Boy's day (May 5, I've included a photo for you.) DSC_0094_2

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Overall, well worth the $5 and three hours work don't you think? I can't wait to take it back and show Alan. Maybe we'll be able to figure out where this old plantation photograph was taken.

Welcoming the New Year with Kadamatsu!

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Our Kadomatsu is up and welcoming not only the ancestral spirits, but our guests as well. For those unfamiliar with the tradition of the Kadomatsu let me try to explain. A kadomatsu, or "gate pine" is a traditional Japanese decoration of the New Year placed in front of homes or in businesses to welcome ancestral spirits of the harvest. They are placed after Christmas are considered temporary housing for the spirits. Designs for kadomatsu vary depending on region but are typically made of pine, bamboo, and sometimes ume tree sprigs which represent longevity, prosperity and steadfastness, respectively. The fundamental function of the New Year ceremonies is to honor and receive the toshigami (deity), who will then bring bounty and bestow the ancestors' blessing on everyone." After January 15 the spirits dwelling within the kadomatsu are released when it is burned.

The central portion of the kadomatsu is formed from three large bamboo shoots. Similar to several traditions of ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), the shoots are set at different heights and represent heaven, humanity, and earth with heaven being the highest and earth being the lowest. After binding all the elements of the kadomatsu, it is bound with newly woven straw rope.

We enjoy sharing this tradition with our guests each year as we get ready to usher in the New Year, hopefully filled with health and prosperity.
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Finding Hawaii

John and I recently took a trip to Wisconsin to see family and had a wonderful time. The weather was great, the travel was adventurous - in a good way - and it was terrific to see family that we had not seen for many years. we happened to be in Wisconsin during the Elkhart Antique Fair. Of course we went! It was a two and a half hour drive to get there, but once there we had a wonderful time discovering all the treasures from Hawaii!IMG_6764 These two Mundorff Prints were the first items I spotted. The bright red hibiscus stood out among the hundreds of antique items. They were both crisp and clean, obviously well love by whom ever had owned them before. $20 each was a pretty good price, but too difficult for me to bring home. The images were over sized for carry on, and I was certain the glass would break in shipping. Oh well, on to other treasures.

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I did bring these two lovely trays home home. Both had their original 50's Hawaii woods, Honolulu tag still intact on the back. At almost 24 inches long they were a challenge to fit into my suitcase, but they were in such outstanding condition I could not leave them behind. I'm a sucker for pretty wood.

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This gem almost made me sequel with delight. sitting in a case of costume jewelry who could miss the unmistakable grace and beauty of Ming's Ivory. This Rice Plant pin is a pattern I have not seen in a while. At just under 4 inches long it is a statement piece to be certain. I found a few other Ming's pieces and some unmarked ivory done in a Hawaiian motif.

IMG_6774IMG_6805IMG_6802 The Red Antheriums are marked Mings, but the others are not. The orchid pin is large and has lovely detail, but I do not think it is a Ming's piece.

For those unfamiliar with Ming's jewelry, Wook Moon established Ming's in 1940, expanding to Hawaii, San Francisco, New York, Miami, Houston, Ft. Lauderdale, and Atlanta. Ming's Honolulu offered pieces in gold, sterling, pearls, jade, coral, and ivory, depicting Hawaiian and Asian motifs and hand carved figurals of flowers and natural objects.  The earliest ivory pieces were hand signed "Ming's" in reddish brown ink. Sterling and tinted or dyed ivory pieces were  popular sellers and only the finest African elephant ivory, legally purchased and imported, were used. Wook Moon trained many carvers in the mid-century who went on to individual fame, including Isami Doi and John Roberts.  The pieces are highly sought after here in Hawaii. They are our diamonds.

I'll finish with a few crates that we ended up shipping back to Hawaii. The Hutchenson crate was certainly unexpected. This company produced a lot of the bottles used by the Hawaii soda companies for their bottling needs. The other two are variations from one company for their sugar cubes. They imported Hawaiian sugar to San Francisco where they then processed it into cubes.

It was a great Antiques fair, one I would love to go to again. I understand the Elkheart show is one day, once a year. Well worth the drive, if you have a chane, go. You will enjoy it too.

Thanking Veterans'

We are honored to thank Veterans' for their selfless service to our country with a free stay at The Palms Cliff House Inn. Mahalo Nui Loa. This is the fourth year that The Palms Cliff House Inn has given free rooms to Veterans' as a way to say thank you. We have two sons serving in the military, one in the Navy and one in the Marines, so it has always been a priority to us to show our appreciation.

If you missed staying with us this year, but are planning a future stay, please remember to ask for the military discount, and if you or a family member are a veteran, please accept our heartfelt gratitude for you service to us, and our country.

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BIG ISLAND 'UKULELE GUILD'S 8th ANNUAL 'UKULELE EXHIBITION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 5-25 (weekdays) Will be held in conjunction with the annual Wailoa Center Invitational Woodworkers Show. Opening "Meet Your Makers!" reception on October 5th, from 5-7pm with pupus and live entertainment. October 6 and 20th from noon till 4pm, join in a kanikapila and 'ukulele lessons with Andy Andrews of the Puna 'Ukulele Kanikapila Association (free to the public).

Wailoa Art & Cultural Center is a Division of State Parks, Department of Land and Natural Resources. It is free and open to the public Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., & Wednesday from noon to 4:30 pm., but will open especially for the PUKA kanikapila on Oct. 6 & 20th. For more info about the Uke Guild show, contact Bob Gleason at 966-6323 or email pegasusguitars@hawaiiantel.net. Wailoa Center info at 933-0416 or email wailoa@yahoo.com.

A Look Back At "The Lovelist Fleet of Islands That Lie Anchored in Any Ocean"

The Title quote for this post is credited to Mark Twain, a great admirer of our lovely string of Islands. So enamored with our Islands, he actually went "missing" for a period of time. Going Native we call it; but you can not dismiss the powerful effect the mere mention of the words, The Hawaiian Islands, has upon people.

When you mention visiting Hawaii many  visualize Hawaii in the 1940's. It was a fun and glamorous time to visit Hawaii. It took 9 hours by plane back then, or four days on one of Matson's cruise liners: the SS Matsonia, The SS Lurline, or the SS Maraposa. Recently I had the good fortune to acquire a photo album that depicts a visit to the Islands of Hawaii in 1947. What a joy to see the islands of that time through the eyes of someone obviously enamored with all they were experiencing.

The Album begins with a wonderful inscription describing their arrival in Honolulu aboard the SS Matsonia:

"Will never forget our arrival! Small boats came out bringing lei; musicians singing and playing Hawaiian songs, and Hula dancers; [and] native boys diving for coins. When we docked, the Royal Hawaiian Band was playing, and everyone was there with more leis!"

How exciting it must have been to pull into the harbor next to the Aloha Tower and watch the small colorful boats arrive carrying locals greeting you with sweet Hawaiian songs and beautifully colored leis made from all kinds of exotic flowers. As if that were not enough, as soon as you disembarked from the ship you were greeted by the Royal Hawaiian Band, gloriously bedecked in White, red and gold. More exotic flower leis were given to so that each passenger had lei up to their ears! How fun! How adventurous it must have felt.

Well, gone are the days of diving for coins, and greeting passengers with armloads of lei. Luckily, however, all the airports still have lei stands and you will still see locals greeting their friends and family with lei, so not all is lost. But I confess, I do daydream about those lucky individuals who visited the islands during Hawaii's Boat Days.

Ho'olina Art Exhibit at 'Imiloa Planetarium Hallway

Cost: The exhibit is open to the public.

Hale Nauā III, Society of Maoli Arts celebrates its 36th anniversary with the exhibition "Ho‘oilina" featuring the art of Natalie Mahina Jensen and Frank Tarallo Jensen from Sep. 28 – Oct. 28, 2012 in ‘Imiloa’s planetarium hallway. Ho‘oilina honors the perpetuation of maoli contemporary fine art depicted through a traditional legacy, from award winning artist and father, Rocky Ka‘iouliokahihikolo‘ehu Jensen, to his lifelong students and children, renown artists in their own right, Natalie and Frank Jensen.

For more information: http://www.imiloahawaii.org/calendar/day_view/day:October+2,+2012#event_937

The Manaʻo Behind the Poster for this yearʻs 2012 Wayfinding & Navigation Festival

Below youʻll find this yearʻs 2012 Wayfinding & Navigation Poster beautifully done by our Student Assistant, Jared Haʻo. This poster holds a lot of kaona, or hidden meaning that only a few may be able to recognize, so for those who may not, I would like to share the meaning behind the various elements and why they were specifically chosen to represent our festival:

 

Faafaite, the Polynesian voyaging canoe from Tahiti This photograph taken by Danee Hazama, is a magnificent shot of the Faafaite, Polynesian voyaging canoe from Tahiti, departing from a point on Kaho‘olawe named Kealaikahiki, the pathway to Tahiti. This is the first time a canoe has departed for Tahiti this way in more than 750 years. Did you know that ʻImiloa has a direct connection to this monumental event? Our very own Associate Director & Navigator-In-Residence, Chad Kālepa Baybayan, was the Master Navigator of this historic voyage that reopened a voyaging path and connection that had not been sailed for centuries!

Kanaloa Kanaloa, known as the god of the sea, ocean, wayfinding & navigation, as well as many other things, is also the ancient name for Kahoʻolawe. Incorporated into our poster are a few of the many kinolau, or forms of Kanaloa. One representation is the ocean, two is the island of Kahoʻolawe, three is the waʻa and the action of navigating it, four is the maiʻa or banana leaf, his plant form, and five is the whale. For many cultures, even those outside of the Pacific, the whale is a universal representation of the ocean that reminds us that no mater where we are in the world, we are all connected to one another.

Mai Ka Piko Mai A Hoʻi, Return to Kanaloa This yearʻs theme has so many layers and levels of depth to it. Whether you interpret it as a return to the island of Kanaloa, (Kahoʻolawe) or the return to the ways and practices that connect us with the sea, or even a realization that it is our kuleana, responsibility, to care for the ocean that surrounds us, then yes, you are correct. In essence, it doesn't matter how you interpret it, what really matters is that you answer the call.

Mahalo hou to Danee for the photo and to Jared for an awesome job. Please feel free to share this flyer with your family and friends and if youʻre with your with them and you see this flyer around town, please feel free to share this manaʻo and to invite them to this yearʻs ʻImiloa Wayfinding & Navigation Festival!

For information on the Wayfinding Festival at 'Imiloa, please visit their website at:  http://www.imiloahawaii.org/calendar/month_view/month:October+2012

Saving a Piece of Hawaii's Past

Last weekend John and I happened to stop at a local garage sale and while rummaging through their "Trash" pile I noticed a large hunk of wood sticking out towards the back. Thinking I was looking at a large piece of mid-century monkey pod wood I freed the piece of wood from the pile. As soon as I grab a hold of it I knew I was about to reveal something special because my fingers were not feeling the smooth underside of a monkey pod wood item, but the 'chip carving' texture synonymous with the Kulani Prison Farm wood shop.

Sure enough when I turned the piece over the distinctive back of the item gave away it's origin. Sadly, the item itself was in really bad condition. The top surface of the shell shaped platter had been painted a brick red and then covered in a thick varnish.

On top of that some tar like substance had spilled on the piece and pooled in it's bottom.

There edges were chipped and broken. The back of the platter was in much the same condition. So when I asked about purchasing the platter it was no wonder I got an odd response. The piece was in such bad shape that the kind folks let me have it for $7.00. Happily I handed them some money and took my damaged treasure home.

I carefully examined the platter to determine as many of it's issues as possible before mapping out my place to salvage it. Nicks, chips, a large break on one end and the goo that was pooled in the center of the piece would be a challenge to overcome.

Undaunted I began stripping away the goo and various layers of paint and varnish. One day and a full can of stripper later I had revealed the natural beauty of the Koa wood that the Kulani Prison Farm was famous for using.

I then decided to hand sand out the chips and nicks so as not to remove too much wood and interfere with the back's 'chip carving.' The large break was a bit more difficult to tackle, but luckily the wood was thick in that area and I was able to re-shape the bowl to remove the broken area, again, without interfering with the 'chip carving' on the back side.

I put a sparing amount of oil onto the piece over the next few days and watched in amazement as the oil was soaked up as if on a dry sponge. After several days of oiling though, the shell platter looks spectacular. I am really happy with how the restoration turned out and really proud that I was able to save a piece of Hawaii's past for my guests to enjoy.

Kūlani Prison Farm was opened in 1946 near Kūlani  Hill above Hilo. Inmates at the Prison Farm participated in logging, ranching, woodworking, and other activities. The Farm was constructed among “beautiful stands of Koa trees.” Today, the area surrounding the former prison farm contains dense populations of native birds and plants and is part of a protected conservation area. An important part of the program at the Kūlani facility was its’ wood workshop and sales venture. For years, inmates collected native hardwoods from lands around the facility, and turned it into art and utilitarian items for sale. A part of the income went to the benefit of the inmates themselves, and provides them with a trade skill. This Shell shaped platter exhibits the distinctive ‘Kūlani Prison Farm’ style of texturing the underside (Chip Carving) of the platter making it as beautiful as the top of the platter. ‘Kūlani Prison Farm’ items are difficult to find today, so bringing this platter back to life was well worth the effort.

Celebrating Herb Kawainui Kane~

Since the death of the renowned historical artist Herb Kane in March 2011, Bernard Noguès has been working closely with Herb's widow, Deon Kane, to organize works remaining from his studio. The results of that effort are remarkable.

Now, proudly, the Isaacs Art Center has assembled a fine collection of Mr. Kane's drawings - never before seen studies for his major works - as well as a number of finished oil paintings and watercolors.

The Isaacs Art Center is located in Waimea (Kamuela) in the South Kohala district of the Big Island of Hawai'i, next to the HPA Village Campus. The Art Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Physical address: 65-1268 Kawaihae Road, Kamuela Hi 96743 Phone (808) 885-5884 http://isaacsartcenter.hpa.edu