Ohana

PAIKO OHANA: MELEANA ESTES

Meet our friend Meleana: fashion designer, columnist for Hawaii Luxury magazine, and master lei maker. A couple times a year Meleana teaches a special workshop at Paiko on the art of haku. Catch the next one on Wednesday July 18th

I know your grandmother was a haku master. Do you think you would be so passionate about haku were it not for her?

Yes, My Tutu was an amazing lei maker.  Her fascination and love the traditional style of lei making turned into a business for her, but she never made one lei that was not completely filled with Aloha.  She always thought of her client and their personal look and likes and catered each lei to match them. She shared her lei in the most giving way with nothing expected in return.  With all that being said, yes, I can completely attribute my love for lei making and the spirit of sharing a lei to my Tutu.  She was also known for her wreaths, puakenikeni leis and frequently did large projects such as weddings and funerals, taking on any floral challenge.  

My cousins and I would help her or just sit at her table and talk to her while she worked and we were always adorned ourselves, for EVERY occasion so it is ingrained in all of us.  Personally, my own passion for lei making developed recently since she has passed and I LOVE to make Haku leis.  I love the architecture and color combination of a Haku lei.  My cousins make the most beautiful Puakenikeni leis and mine are terrible!  My sister loves to Haku as well, but makes the most stunning bouquets, using her techniques.  We all have something we have gravitated to.

 

Do you follow the same technique as your grandmother or is your style different?

Yes, I follow and teach the same Wili style of Haku Lei making that she used and taught.  In the past year I have also enjoyed learning different techniques for different styles of leis… if there is a particular material I want to work with, I play with different techniques to make that flower or fern shine!  I definitely have a different style that my Tutu… I will never be as good!  I try and try but its a work in progress!  She had an effortless way with flowers… they obeyed her, she loved them and anything she touched turned out stunning.

 
Do you have a favorite haku flower combination?

I can’t say I have a complete favorite, but I am a LOVER of color.  Any chance I get to use Mamo, the bright yellow Lehua I am thrilled.  That combined with some hot pink ti-leaf is gorgeous!  I love to use the native Palapalai as my fern…. its not always easy to find and its delicate, but so so pretty.  
 
 

 

 

Whats the last haku plant material experiment that was a success? Any that were failures?

I made a lovely anthirium lei for a photo shoot.. I was suprised it came out!  I had a lei flop using big hibiscus.  I couldn’t resist trying because the colors are so fantastic, but it didn’t survive for more than an hour!  

 

What’s most interesting to you about teaching haku?

I love how every student just goes for it!  Maybe I am used to workshops where you were told the lei had to turn out a certain way, but people are so creative!  I love that every student takes my instruction and just goes for it and everyone is so stoked and proud of their finished lei, when none of them look at all the same!  I am also so impressed with how fast everyone makes a lei!  It would take me 5 hours when I was younger!  I love sharing this skill, it is so fun and gratifying!

 

 

MEET ARVO

I'm sure by now you've heard all about the latest addition to our shop: ARVO. And just when you thought having an Australian coffee bar in your favorite neighborhood wasn't exciting enough, they brought us this ... *drumroll* ... A BOOZY BRUNCH. 

And what better day to kick off the new tradition than Valentine's Day. Just in case you missed it, here are a bunch of photos to get you pumped for the next big one. 

Don't forget about the mimosa bar, stocked with fresh fruits and juices. 

Matcha chia pudding with fresh fruit and a matcha whip, loaded avocado toast, and their latest green tea lattes are just a few of the things you can all look forward to. 

These ARVO sessions will be happening monthly and we can't wait to see you at the next one! Stay posted for more details.

photos and story by Kenna Reed

Paiko Ohana: Deanna Rose and Tantalus Mist

Deep in the lush backroads of Manoa Valley, you'll find a mossy cottage where none other than Deanna Rose resides. Her company, Indigo Elixirs, focuses on bringing medicinal and beauty products made with "love and pure, local, healing, botanical ingredients." It's in this tiny cottage, that each product is hand-made.  

This week we debut our new collaboration with Indigo Elixirs, 'Tantalus', a light room and body mist inspired by life in the Tantalus jungle above Honolulu (the neighborhood of Paiko founder Tamara Rigney).  Locally sourced Hawaiian sandalwood and vetiver are the base of this fresh and intoxicating scent, available exclusively at Paiko.

 

 

Can you describe how you and Tamara came up with the Tantalus scent?

The idea for the spray was inspired by Tamara's lush jungle oasis of a home on the ridge. When we began brainstorming ideas for an elixir, she said that she wanted to create something that truly captured the essence of Tantalus - the eucalyptus trees with overtones of fresh flora and undertones of smoke lingering from a neighbor's house. We spent a day wandering around up there, first throughout the land surrounding her house and then along Round Top Drive. We got into the car of a friend who happened to be driving by, taking in the air and stopping to crush and inhale fallen eucalyptus leaves and other roadside flowers. After becoming significantly inspired, we headed back to her house and mixed up the scent, drop by drop of essential oil into a base of the vetiver essential hydrosol. 

paiko tantalus mist

How did you get into herbal medicine?

In the beginning, I just wanted to create something that could cure my frizzy Armenian hair and dry Northeastern skin. Inspired to use ingredients that were already growing in our family's garden or stocked in our kitchen, I began concocting recipes just for myself, and then for family and friends. By the time I was a senior in college, I had developed a small line of products under the name Indigo Elixirs. I started selling at local farmers' markets, and customers were quick to ask for more healing items that could relieve topical ailments such as eczema and pain. This led me to sign up for my first herbal apprenticeship at a farm called Misty Meadows in New Hampshire, where I learned the fundamentals of making medicine. I immediately fell in love with the art, and have been studying herbalism ever since. 

Why did you come to Hawaii?

I grew up in Massachusetts, and moved out to the West Coast to live on an old steamship when I was in my early twenties. After a year of living in the quiet, retired hippie houseboat community outside of San Francisco, I felt compelled to continue my herbal studies in a more tropical environment. I started searching for Ethnobotany graduate programs, and UH Manoa is what comes up first on the google search.  I had made a few friends from O'ahu in the Bay, and while I had never been to Hawaii, I felt compelled to try it out. Not long after I moved here and was enrolled as a full-time student, I realized that the program was just not what I was looking for - but I kept getting signs telling me to stay, and quickly fell in love with the island. Eventually, I found a grad program that perfectly suited my interests, and I am currently getting my Masters in Acupuncture & Herbology from the World Medicine Institute in 'Aina Haina. 

 

What are some things you have access to in Hawaii that you don’t find anywhere else?

Hawaii has a super unique set of flora - after moving here, my line went through a complete metamorphosis so that I could truly reflect what the islands have to offer. A few of my favorite materials include vetiver grass, which my friend  Jason of Vetiver Farms Hawaii grows & distills on Big Island, to yield a beautiful green essential oil and bluish hydrosol that we used as a base for our Tantalus elixir. I also get a wonderful sandalwood essential oil from my friend Tyson of Malama distillations, which I also added to the blend. I love the Hawaiian cacao that I get from the folks at Madre Chocolate - I infuse their shells leftover from chocolate making into my Mocha Rose Stain, Chocolate Balm & Hot Mint Chocolate Bar. Achiote is another local favorite, whose colorful oily seeds give my Citrus Blossom Stain its vibrant orangey hue. And I of course am head over heels for all of the fragrant local flowers, particularly the champaka, pikake, plumeria & puakinikini, all of which I regularly rub on my wrists as a 'fresh' perfume. 

What are some of the powers of fragrance? ( i.e. healing, emotional, recalling a time, person, place)

Fragrance is intensely powerful - processed through a separate part of the brain than the rest of our senses, it is deeply connected to both our instincts and emotions. A nostalgic scent can take us back in time... to our grandmother's living room, the summer after high school, a foreign city that we visited long ago. Sometimes we get a hint of something that we can't even quite trace, but it overwhelms us with a familiar feeling. The abilities of the aromatic transfers to medicine, as well: certain properties of herbs need only be inhaled to affect the body. Because essential oils are concentrated, this ability is greatly enhanced, and their scent alone can be used for healing. This is the reason I love to make custom perfumes; it allows me to create a blend that perfectly suits the wearer's aromatic palate. Making the Tantalus scent was a new kind of challenge in this realm, and I had a lot of fun experiencing and taking in that place with the intention of capturing it within a formulation. Now, whenever I immerse myself in the spray, I feel like I've traveled out of the valley and up to the top of the ridge. 

 

Where’s your favorite place in Hawaii to recharge and get inspired?

 

My current home in the back of Manoa is a pretty magical space. I have an entire wall of windows that looks onto a little forest of beautiful ferns and wild gingers, and the Manoa stream runs about ten feet from my cottage - when we get a fair amount of rain, the sound of the water rushing by is so rejuvenating. Aside from the elements & animals, it's so quiet back here, and a wonderful space to create. Outside of my house, I love to recharge with a day of sunning & swimming, usually at Makapu'u beach. If I'm seeking inspiration, anywhere lush will do the trick - arboretums, botanical gardens, trails in the back of the valley....

Photos by Kenna Reed 

Paiko Ohana: Jordan Lee

Jordan Lee Have you noticed how festive the shop has been looking this season? Meet Jordan Lee a 32-year old Oahu native (Mililani represent!) and Paiko's new Visual Merchandise Director.  To find out more about Jordan's aesthetic and creative background we chatted on Paiko's patio while we sipped steaming coffee from Brue Bar.

 

Tell us about your visual merchandising and creative background.

It all started when I was living in San Francisco, I was a full-time student at the Academy of Art as an Interior Architecture and Design major. My focus was commercial and hospitality design. I was working part-time as a sales associate at Diesel. Eventually, a position came up seeking a visual merchandiser so I worked my way up through the company as a full-time employee. I was also working at a boutique design firm but left during the economic recession. It was difficult design-wise to get a job and I was faced with a fork in the path. Ultimately I chose visual merchandising and from there I never looked back. I transferred to Diesel in Waikiki and then started working at Kate Spade as the Hawaii regional manager. Then, I was recruited to Louis Vuitton, Waikiki and I've been there for 2 years this month. It gives me the creative freedom by focusing on a product.

Holiday Visual Change-up

How did you and Paiko meet?

I met Tamara and Courtney by living in Kaka'ako and walking through the neighborhood. I'd bring my dogs Lola and Pfieffer around and would visit the shop. Lola is a huge fan of Tamara. Tamara is Lola's unofficial girlfriend so I guess we met through Lola! Eventually we all started running together through Ala Moana Beach Park- we do a 4 mile loop.

 

How would you describe the new Holiday visual change-up?

For Winter, we've taken inspiration from Tamara's Tantalus home. Basically making it lush, green, and alive. I imagine it in my head: a cloud rolling through the mountain. That feeling is kinda what we wanted to do with the Tantalus theme. For the holidays we used pops of red amongst the greenery. We brought Pele's hair and hanging plants to the outside of the shop to create a nice presentation. If you're walking across the street or pass by the store you'll see the elements of Paiko from the outside.

I love the shape of the Christmas tree and I've been told I merchandise in triangles. I was walking in Home Depot through their garden section and my boyfriend found a frame that was cone shaped. We used air plants and more of Pele's hair instead of using traditional ornaments and created a Tillandsia cone tree for the holidays. Holiday Change-up

How do you create? Do you have a vision board or any precedents that you follow? Where do you draw your inspiration?

Tamara, Courtney and I sit at our work table in Paiko and bounce ideas off of each other. Also when we're running we bounce ideas off of each other. When I'm walking through Waikiki, I look at store fronts and hotels for more inspiration. I'm inspired by everything, the littlest things, the hugest things... I've been noticing I'm inspired by reflections and light, as of this morning. Tamara herself is a HUGE inspiration, she always comes up with really good concepts. Holiday Change-up

What is your favorite piece of merchandise at Paiko?

I love Dee Oliva's animal planters. I've known her for a very long time, we went to high school together. When she was making miniature dogs, I asked her to make a mini Lola and mini Pfieffer. We placed the final pieces in a terrarium we had at my house and couldn't stop laughing. Tamara saw these mini dogs and that's when she first approached Dee for her merchandise.

I also love the Weck Jars and the shapes they come in. I love that they aren't just for flowers but for other things. They're not too modern but not too contemporary.

 

What are your thoughts about Paiko in the community, your neighborhood?

I'm so proud for how Paiko has taken form. It really has transformed the neighborhood. People come to Kaka'ako to see the shop. It's way bigger. Nikole Nelson really transformed the space and I'm amazed. Every time someone walks into the store, I look at their reaction. It's amazing. It's something Hawaii needed and something that's different here. I feel like people can sense that in a way.

 

Paiko's Holiday Changeover

 

What is your dream visualization for Paiko?

Tamara and I are interested in lifestyling the store. I would love to see the idea of not just having plants but making it into a sanctuary or a place to relax in. We have that with the addition of Brue. I love the idea of plants mixed in with books or something else that you can take home. Just having it be a lifestyle or mentality, a way of living...That's my dream for Paiko. All of the things that make Paiko what it is and bringing it home to wherever you live. Just like Hawaii has a magical quality about it, Paiko has it's own.

 

It's still not too late to pick up some last minute Christmas gifts. Swing by Paiko for unique gifts for your loved ones and pals this holiday season. We have extended holiday hours for your shopping pleasure.

 

Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014

Paiko Ohana: Ann Kadowaki

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Paiko's reknowned 'haku lei master' Ann Kadowaki's holiday workshop is just around the corner and we wanted to introduce you to this busy bee! Ann invited us to her happy place at Lyons Arboretum in Manoa where she actively volunteers as the Vice President on the board. We explored the arboretum as she named off the various plants of Hawaii and chatted about her haku talents, inspiration, and future European garden travel plans --for the time being she's kind-of booked!

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Born and raised on Oahu in Pauoa Valley, her inspiration is drawn from her childhood. Both sides of her family were actively involved in the local flower culture. Her dad was an orchid grower and her uncles were commercial rose farmers. In fact, her first job was on a rose farm where she cleaned and bundled the flowers. "I was horribly slow because I was so OCD about maintaining the roses. They had to be perfectly in line, no odd ones out."

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Here are some questions we posed to the 'haku lei master':

When and how did haku-making become your passion? How did you become involved in the art form?

I think I always loved plants and flowers. Flowers especially. I used to make 'weed bouquets' -- little weeds that have little flowers on them. I would cluster them together in little bundles and stick them inside a rock. My Dad used to grow orchids and when they were blooming, I would collect the little buds. I used to think they looked like 'chick' heads and they were intriguing. He would spank my hand for plucking them. But I love flowers.

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Where do you source your materials? What typical plants and flowers are found in your lei?

Usually my yard or my friends' yards. Sometimes I buy them locally depending on what I am making. Most of the time, my lei friends and I gather from each other's yard. A lot of us make little arrangements too in our other jobs. For Hawaiian table swags, I love to use a whole head of Ti. I love using the Song of India for its color and to brighten the piece. Also, Miniature Beef Steak leaves, given that name because they are red in color, can be included. I use Box Wood which is an ovoid type tree for filler. Depending on what I'm making, I love using different colors like reds or browns.

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What is a Hawaiian table swag?

Hawaiian table swags are gigantic Haku lei, laid on the table. Normally I have this workshop at Lyon so I pick my materials here. I may have to go on some raiding sprees for my Song of India.

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What type of method is used to create your Hakus?

I use a winding method. It's the easiest to teach too. I find it difficult to braid.

What began the collaboration between Paiko and you?

God, that was a funny one! We are the current lei makers at the Punahou Carnival. Previously it was the Kapuna making the lei since the 70s. I enjoy making lei, learning more techniques and meeting people. We have a network of lei Goddesses in the booth at the Carnival. One year we were talking story and there was an overwhelming amount of lei orders. Sweet young Tamara came to the booth and asked to speak to a lei maker in the back and the crew asked me, I guess because I'm the bossiest [laughs.] She explained about her workshop and her earnestness was appealing. I was so tired but I couldn't say 'No' with her 2 friends peering behind her. I gave her my email address, we corresponded and I stopped by the shop to understand. It's a charming place!

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Ann teaches a lei workshop once a year at Punahou school to mothers and students. This year she brings her knowledge and enthusiasm to Paiko to teach a different type of student.

On December 16th she will be hosting our 'Holiday Table Swag' workshop where you can dress your holiday table the Hawaiian way with a lush table swag crafted from local foliages and berries. Make sure to sign up via our RSVP website or calling the shop for more details before its too late!

Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014

Paiko Explores: Tantalus

Tanatalus Paiko founder, Tamara Rigney, invited us to explore her 'happy place' for inspiration, her little cottage hidden away in Tantalus. Originally called Pu'uohi'a, the mountain was named after the greedy Greek God Tantalus, by students of Punahou who were studying ferns in the 1840s. The God is well known for his 'eternal punishment: forever standing underneath a luscious fruit tree, full of bountiful fruit, forever out of his reach.'  Fortunately for us, the infinite amount of botanical treasures welcomes explorers to an enchanting magical forest.

Tamara guided us along the muddy, yet easy trails beneath canopies of Cook Pines, Areca palms, and beautiful Banyan trees. We kept our eyes open for strawberry guava, avocado, and orange trees. She paused every so often to point out different textures and contrasting colors popping out from mystical spots. We really felt like we were in the Secret Garden! Tamara told us of the African tulip, a bold tree sprouting blossoms of oranges and reds, an invasive species that entertained her as a child. 'My friends and I would take the flower pods and race them down the gutters when it rained. It was one of our favorite games.'

Rachel and Tamara

Where do you normally find your inspiration? Is it ever-changing depending on where you are located?

I get inspired by everything- everything I'm seeing or doing somehow comes into play when I generate ideas. Lately, I've been spending lots of time at my house up here, and that's been influencing my aesthetic. Travel is also very important to me.  Given that in Hawaii we’re out here in the middle of the ocean, it's important to go find new experiences and bring that energy home.

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What elements of Tantalus are currently placed into Paiko? What characteristics of Tantalus are you looking forward to incorporating into the shop?

We’re incorporating lots of different jungle textures and foliages into our winter look. Vines, mosses and lichens are going to be major elements.

Rachel amongst Heliconia

What are the consistent botanical themes that you continue to place into Paiko?

‘Tropical Modern’ is the name I give to the general aesthetic at Paiko.

Canopy

What is your dream shop design and layout?

After our latest remodel this year, designed by Nikole Nelson of BlkCoral, Paiko is pretty much my ‘dream shop’. I seriously can’t believe how polished and beautiful it turned out.  We have a few things to finish up, but by and large the shop is almost perfect. I love going to work every day, especially now that I get coffee handed to me when I walk through the door from Brue!

Therapists and people in general believe it's not good 'chi' to bring their 'office' into their 'home' life, how do you feel about this?

I do try to leave the office out of my home life, but I constantly bring my home life to the office. I live an amazing lifestyle up here in the jungle, and it's a major part of what Paiko represents.

Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014

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 http://antidee2.tumblr.com.

 

Dee Oliva

 

Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014