Monday, 28 April 2008

Aloha from Hawaii

Ok, so we've actually been back from Hawaii for over a week, it's just taken me a ridiculously long time to do any posting. The island of Oahu was incredibly beautiful - just like all those pictures and movies would have you believe. We were very fortunate to be staying near what had to be the loveliest beach on the island, Kailua Beach, pictured top. From Kailua the bus took us into Honolulu in about 45 minutes. These shots are just a few from around Honolulu and Waikiki.

The flora and fauna were incredible - as just one little example, the plumeria flowers look and smell wonderful, and locals really do wear them in their hair!

A shop in Chinatown selling fresh leis.

On the craft front, there were a few examples of Hawaiian quilts in the art museum we visited.

The top fabric is cut like a paper snowflake then appliqued onto the base fabric. Typically the quilts are in bold, two-tone colours, with shapes often representing natural forms. The quilting is done in tiny, closely packed rows which echo the cut-out design. One description I came across pointed out that Hawaiian clothing did not generate scraps in the same way that 19th century American clothing design did, hence the Hawaiians did not develop comparable patchwork techniques. The echo quilting technique is incredibly time-consuming, with some designs taking up to a year to do. A possible explanation for this is that the quilts are only ever decorative - the crafts people did not have the pressing deadline of a snowy New England winter to work towards and thus could afford to take as much time as they liked!

One of my top recommendations would be Shangri-La, a breathtaking house built in the 1930s near Diamond Head by Doris Duke, an American heiress, as a home for her collection of Islamic art. This picture above just shows the pool house!

Looking at that view everyday wouldn't be difficult! If only I had a magnate's fortune!

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