Paiko Ohana: Dee Oliva

Dee Oliva

Meet Dee Oliva, local artist and a member of Paiko’s ohana. Dee’s ceramic pieces each have a life of their own, and her adorable animal planters have become an instant shop favorite. We treated Dee to a spooktacular picnic last Wednesday with homemade pumpkin seeds, Hawaiian kettle corn, and lots of caramel chocolate. With Dee’s animals joining us, it was like a picnic at a miniature zoo.

Picnic With Dee   Picnic With Dee Oliva

Dee is a ceramacist, teacher, and mentor to children island wide. Originally, she attended UH Hilo as a botany major, then transferred to UH Manoa to complete her education. Working with clay was only an extracurricular activity until one of her closest professors encouraged her to switch from botany to ceramics. Initially, Dee’s creativity flowed through her 2D pieces in drawing and painting, but embracing the 3D art form of ceramics allowed Dee to see her ideas come to life.

Her ceramic creations started out as just for fun, being able to sell them is an additional benefit. Her artistic mantra is “If you do something you love, it’s your passion, when you make money, it’s a bonus. If you’re driven and forget the anxiety or fear [of being an artist], doing what makes you happy, sooner or later something [will come out of it.]”

Animals, especially her friend’s dogs, are a major inspiration to Dee. Each pup has a different personality, and most of the ones Dee chooses tend to be quite comedic, something that becomes clear when she sees their selfies posted on Facebook. This began her extensive collection of miniature dogs, which caught the eye of Paiko’s Tamara Rigney when she spotted a couple in a friend’s terrarium.

Dee's Pots

After being introduced to Paiko, Dee started creating mini animal pots, not only of dogs, but of reptiles, dinosaurs, giraffes and more. Dee admits to being addicted to nature documentaries. When exposed to a new species on one of the 45-minute shows, she tries to envision how a plant can fit into this animal’s shape. Right now she is wrestling with the idea of an octopus.

Dee believes her pieces aren’t complete without Paiko’s touch. “1 or 2 plants can make or shape my final piece. The colors of green and grey: grass and stone fit together. It makes sense with my terra-cotta pieces,” she says, “And the whole circle of life. My pots begin with mud (the clay from the earth I use to mold,) then after it is fired another element of life is placed into it: Paiko’s succulents and soil.”

Dee describes our encounter as a magical moment: “Paiko accepts my vision and what I see when I touch clay, giving me the creative freedom to express my animal’s personalities.” To see more of Dee’s work, come by the shop and explore her curated pieces. Also you can check out her online portfolio


Dee Oliva

Paiko Discoveries: Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn

PC Fritz Haeg

PC Fritz Haeg

We love this article in the Splenid Table blog on Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates project. We should all be growing more of our own food, and Fritz’s designs make edible gardens beautiful enough replace your landscaped front yard. Check out the full article here at the Splendid Table.

Paiko Ohana: Jason Silverstein

Fresh, seasonal, flowers are a big part of our mission at Paiko, and we are proud to source most of these beauties on-island. Our friend Jason Silverstein is a favorite Oahu farmer, always amazing us with the blooms he brings in from his East Oahu property and the neighboring Waiahole Fresh Farm.  We took a trip out to Jason’s jungle oasis with Paiko contributor Marcela Biven to get a peek into his life in paradise.

paiko kahaluu

Written by Marcela Biven :      

 The drive to Waiahole is a magical one- one road swaying to-and-fro through long legged trees and eye gaping vistas. Grey concrete is replaced with the depth of chlorophyll green, massaging the eyes and stimulating the senses. Yet this is only the introduction to the natural grandeur that has taken root through the efforts of Jason Silverstein and the crew at Waiahole Fresh Farm.

        You can find traces of the land in Jason’s daily tea and edible odds and ends. He is in a serious relationship with the land in the most playful and lively way possible: dutifully caring for and managing the acres of land he oversees while climbing banana trees and honing his archery skills with target practice. Everything is familiar to him, both necessary and possessing a name. Yet, the plants are not organized by rows and clusters but rather find their place in a natural, varied landscape. Demanding zealous work, vigilance and trust in the land, this style of farming is called permaculture.

        An island boy through and through, Jason studied geography in college but found his essential passion in cultivating the land. Harboring a love of emerald forest plants, he and his canine companions meander about his own verdant three acres, separate from Waiahole, spying bananas, ginger and the occasional stray rooster. Speaking of roosters, Jason doubles as a sculptor creating wildly beautiful arrangements made from local plants and, lo and behold, roosting roosters! Thus creating pieces with unique life, personality and pizzaz.

        With ease and a laugh constantly lodged in his throat, Jason lives a life that mirrors the varied beauty of the flowers, trees, shrubs and roots on his land. And much like the fantastical wolf t-shirts he wears, which he admits to having invigorating energy properties, he’s a force of aloha to be reckoned with.

paiko kahaluu paiko beehive ginger paiko jason silverstein paiko banana trees paiko torch ginger

paiko jason silverstein coconut tree

Heidi Bornhorst’s Hawaii Gardens

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This Monday we wanted to share our appreciation for local garden guru Heidi Bornhorst, and her Hawaii Gardens column.  Every week she reveals something fascinating about the islands’ plant life, whether its sharing how the H3 freeway led to a new Koa grove, giving a bio on ohelo berries, or answering common landscape questions.Heidi always give you a greater appreciation for living in the beautiful jungle that is Hawaii.

This week’s column is on all of the amazing trees in bloom in the heat of June. Find Hawaii Gardens in the ‘Today’ section of the Star Advertiser every Monday. Archives pre 2011 can be found here.

narra narra tree blossom (photo: Heidi Bornhorst)

tecomapink tecoma blossom (photo: Heidi Bornhorst)

Paiko Visits the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea Flower Show in London is the epicenter of the floral and garden world, and we were sooo excited to visit a few weeks ago!  We came back from England brimming with inspiration for Paiko, and we can’t wait to put our ideas into action this year.

Paiko at Kate Spade
Kate Spade Floral Crowns by Wild At Heart

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Courtney Making Wristlets at Kate Spade With Wild at Heart

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The Gorgeous Floral Wall at Kate Spade by Wild At Heart

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A Seed Mosaic at Columbia Road Flower Market

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Poppies in Notting Hill

A Rich Planting Palette at One of the CFS Gardens

Flower ‘ Postcards’ from Barbados at the CFS

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Paiko in Darbyshire
Stacked Rock Walls and Rollings Fields in Darbyshire

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The Telegraph Garden by del Buono Gazerwitz

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A Viking Garden

In the Shop: Non GMO Papaya Seeds from UH


We have been proud to carry University of Hawaii’s non-GMO seeds since day one at Paiko, and the question we get asked most often is “How can these papaya seeds be non-GMO?”.  Although most papaya in Hawaii are now from GMO stock (GMO papayas took over in the 1990s as a way to save the industry from the rampant and devastating ring-spot virus), UH is proud to declare its papaya seeds GMO-free.  Watch this fascinating video to learn how they produce organic papaya seeds, and certify their purity.

Paiko Behind the Scenes: Design Boards

metaphorical precedents
We’re getting ready to make our shop a little better this summer, and wanted to share a page from the design process… So excited for our face-lift! Don’t worry we’ll share more soon.

Paiko Discoveries: Honolulu Magazine: ‘The First Hawaiians, Native Hawaiian Plants’

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photo: Olivier Koning for Honolulu Magazine


While browsing around doing research for another project, we came across this article on native plants on Honolulu Magazine’s website.  The piece is by Lavonne Leong, with absolutely breathtaking photos by Olivier Koning.  We hope you are as inspired by these images as we are.

Paiko Discoveries: The Planthunter


“Life. With Plants” is the mantra of The Planthunter, the online magazine that is perhaps our favorite thing on all of the internet right now.  This Australian based publication serves to celebrate and inspire a deeper connection to plants, exploring through gorgeous photography and beautifully written stories humans’ ‘love of plants’, and the beauty and diversity of the plant world.    Keeping us engrossed for hours, plants have never been so entertaining and inspiring until seen through the Planthunter‘s lens that draws ‘connections between art, philosophy, food, culture, and plants’.


Paiko Featured In: Gardenista

paiko on gardenistaOne of our favorite sources of online inspiration, Gardenista, did a feature on us back in January, and we just wanted to share.  Thanks so much guys, we’re seriously flattered!