Kapa is the term native Hawaiians used for the barkcloth they employed for clothing, bedding and for a variety of other secular and ceremonial purposes. The most common plant used in the making of Hawaiian kapa was wauke (the paper mulberry tree/ Broussonetia papyrifera). Wauke can produce barkcloth of varied textures: from coarse to very fine and gauzelike.
Over the past four years, I’ve studied traditional Hawaiian kapa-making, and I enjoy every aspect of this labor-intensive method of processing and creating it. While I continue to honor and use traditional methods of processing and wauke, I am also interested in exploring new ways of working with this beautiful fiber and integrating it into my work. The works represented here include pieces that combine wauke with different fibers, such as thread, silk or wool. In some cases I embroider the kapa, but in all cases, I use natural plant pigments to print or dye each piece.