About . . .
"Na`ano kapa he nui wale"
The kinds of kapa were great indeed
"Bark cloth is a product of tropical countries, and its manufacture encircles the globe. Within Polynesia itself...the Hawaiian bark cloth (kapa) displays the greatest varieties of texture and colored designs. The Hawaiians appeared to have concentrated on making as many varieties of kapa as they could devise."
Sir Peter Buck; Arts and Crafts of Hawaii, Clothing.
Dalani Tanahy has been a lifelong artist in many mediums, and was drawn to Native Hawaiian Kapa making (bark cloth made from the paper mulberry tree) over 20 years ago and stayed with it because of its diversity and rareness. Knowing this was an art not many people did intrigued her, as well as the fact that it seemed like a great artistic connection to her culture. As time went on she realized that this art encompassed so many other arts and sciences; horticulture and the proper gathering of wild plants, wood and stone work, native gourd work, research and education, preservation, traditional graphic arts and countless hours of self-learning and experimentation. To say nothing of the sitting and pounding…pounding…pounding, to create the kapa itself. Her favorite kapa to make are the ones people will use, whether a pa`u (wrap skirt) to wear for a wedding, a baby’s blanket, or burial kapa, she feels proudest of the kapa that are made for actual use.
A totally sustainable and "green" art. I grow my own paper mulberry (wauke) at home in Makaha Hawaii. Without the trees you dont have the kapa so its a critical part of this art. My designs are a combination of the artistry of our ancestors and my own thoughts and sense of design. Sometimes I will recreate kapa that are deep in museum vaults in order to make sure they can be seen and appreciated.
Prac-ti-tion-er; One who practices something, especially an occupation, profession, or technique.
There were no more wauke trees, I had to cultivate them...there were no tools, I had to carve and gather them. I had to harvest plants and materials to make the dyes. I didn't know the nuances of beating the fibers, so I had to pound. And then people wanted to learn, so I had to teach them.
As a professional practitioner of the art of kapa for the last 20 years, I am pleased to share what I know and what I do with you.
Whether you are tapping into your own cultural past or looking to expand your artistic expression, I offer classes for all ages and reasons. Check my list of ongoing classes, or contact me about creating a kapa class for yourself or your group.
I am humbled to be a practitioner of an art that essentially ceased to exist in Hawaii for nearly a century.