Hawaii Preparatory Academy, in partnership with the University of Hawaii at Hilo North Hawaii Education and Research Center, will present “Weaving: The Sustainability and Traditional Pacific Arts Symposium” on Friday and Saturday at HPA’s Gates Performing Arts Center in Waimea.
“The purpose of the symposium is to celebrate and educate people on the important role sustainable arts in the Pacific — in this case, lauhala fiber-works — played in the settlement and development of the Pacific region,” said Deacon Ritterbush, symposium coordinator. “Still important for everyday, ceremonial and income-earning purposes, traditional Pacific arts like woven lauhala items are true ‘Eco-Arts.’ They come directly from the earth, unprocessed or processed with only natural elements, and when their usefulness ends they degrade and return to the earth.”
Special focus will be given to the role Native Hawaiian weavers from the Big Island have played over the last century in the development and perpetuation of this particular fiber art form, especially in the making of lauhala hats.
A highlight will be a talk-story session with Kona resident, master weaver and “living treasure” Elizabeth Lee, who is the founder and director of Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona, an organization dedicated to perpetuating the art of lauhala weaving.
The symposium kicks off with a free public event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3, at HPA’s Gates Performing Arts Center with lauhala hat-weaving demonstrations, an exhibit on lauhala art and a lecture by Ritterbush and Chelle Pahinui, a lecturer at the College of Business and Economics at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, who specializes in tourism economics.
Ritterbush previously served as director of development and cultural projects at the Pacific Gateway Center on Oahu.
For more information about the symposium, contact Koh Ming Wei at 808-443-9231, or Vicky Gapasen at email@example.com. To register for the May 4 symposium, call NHERC at 775-8890.
The Saturday, May 4, symposium, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., requires an advance registration fee of $55 and includes lunch catered by Simply Natural Restaurant in Honokaa. This event features lectures, panel discussions, Lee’s talk-story session, hat-weaving demonstrations and basic weaving classes led by some of the state’s finest lauhala weavers, including Pohaku Kaho‘ohanohano (Maui), Lola Spencer (Molokai), Margaret Lovett (Kauai), Michele Zane-Faridi (Big Island), and Cathy Blickos (Oahu).
Vendors and artisans will be on-site both days selling lauhala hats, bracelets, hat bands and other Pacific Island arts. They also will reshape and/or sew in hat bands and take special lauhala hat orders. Participants are encouraged to wear and/or bring hats from their own lauhala hat collections to share and discuss.
This event is supported by the Will J. Reid Foundation, the Richard Smart Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation, Hawaiian Airlines and Starbucks.