nature

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

In Store: Paiko Holiday Workshops for December

 

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Tis the season for holiday decor and DIY gifts to share this winter, especially if you're seeking some handmade goodies! This December, Paiko is offering a plethora of holiday workshops for your seasonal inspiration that we can't wait to share with you. Want to have the best decked door on your block? Then maybe the Tillandsia Holiday Wreath workshop is for you. Attending the SALT Holiday Fair? Check out our Tillandsia Snowglobe class at Kaka'ako Agora. Curious about what a Kokedama is? We'll teach you at the Christmas Kokedama workshop. Hosting a Holiday party? Haku lei guru, Ann Kadowaki will kick start your Hawaiian Table Swag inspiration.

These classes compose a tight knit network of like-minded nature-loving individuals who want to be involved and spark creativity in their community. Not only are these classes educational but they're relaxing and productively stimulating.  A welcoming environment for pau hana play, pre-party girls night, or a date with your favorite person. Each class is taught by either Paiko's very own Tamara Rigney, or other respected activists in the Hawaiian horticulture community.

Interested? Check out our calendar for additional information on each workshop and to save a spot!

Here are some images from our past workshops:

Ann Kadowaki

Succulent Gardening

DIY Potting Bar

Terrarium

Nesting: Not Just for the Birds

Nest by Jayson Fann- Image: Drew Kelly for the NY Times

As we were awestruck by a recent article by the New York Times, we felt compelled to share with you an art phenomenon with it roots in nature; appropriated by the art world and come full circle as modern habitable dwellings- nesting. Honest-to-goodness gorgeous, human size nests.

An ultimate example of  'creating art from nature', these man-made nests are artistic incarnations of something that's been elemental to birds for millions of years.  The results are beautiful, organic structures, that function not only as art, but as shelter, and tangible connections to the natural landscape.  Hopefully we can do some nesting on Oahu soon!

More Discoveries: Museum of Floral Culture