My family and I are on vacation on the island of Moloka’i. It is an amazing place with amazing people. It’s not called the ‘Friendly Isle” for nothing. When you talk with local folks, it is quickly clear how special this tiny island is to them and to their families.
We met a charming lady, Teri Waros, who runs the book, art and gift shop Kalele (Have Faith) in Kaunakakai. She showed us many beautiful pieces by local artist but one in particular caught my imagination. It is a very large painting of an ‘Io, a Hawaiian hawk. The artist skillfully captured the power and majesty of this animal but for me the really amazing aspect was that she had achieved a whole range of shades from palest champagne to deepest ox blood using the local dirt as her pigment.
This got me thinking about something you run into a lot in Hawaii- people using local resources to create beautiful culturally grounded art. As I thought about the iron rich dirt here on Moloka’i, I wondered about the effect it might have on glass. Would the iron ore add color or even texture to fused glass? What about including sand? So I have a baggy of Moloka’i dirt to bring home to see what it adds to my work.
My brief time here on this embracing island has not only recharged me physically as any good vacation should but it has got me thinking about ways to weave the ‘aina (land) and my art. I may not get results that are terribly interesting but being on Moloka’i reminds you that it’s not the destination but the journey that matters.
“All over, mo’ betta, Moloka’I, I will return.” [Moloka’i Slide]