Sunday, March 27, 2016

Homeschoolers new volume on Island crafts: The Hawai`iana Project.

A Big Island school project has led to fascinating book on Hawaiian crafts, The Hawai`iana Project.

The authors are seven homeschooled children who were aged 11 to 14 at the time the work was done in the 2012-2013 school year. They did the work as part of a writing and newspaper class taught by Susan Kilbride.

Their assignment was to write three or more articles on Hawaiian culture, on topics “that had a hands-on element in them,” Kilbride wrote.

Much of the work was not from book research, but from talking to people still carrying out the ancient crafts of the Islands.

“My students and I have spent the last year going to every Hawai`ian festival that we could find, meeting with people on field trips, taking classes, and doing everything we could to learn more about the Hawaiian culture,” Kilbride wrote.

The result is a book on making kukui nut oil, crafting bamboo and gourd instruments, tying Hawaiian fishhooks, lei making, stringing Niihau shell jewelry, featherwork, weaving, kapa making and more.

It is written in straightforward language, with ample black and white photography to explains steps in making projects.

The authors are Charlee Brown, Pearl Dickson, Dylan Kilbride, Hope Mashburn, Emily Risley, Molly Russell and Teah Van Bergen. Kilbride is the editor.

There are lots of books on Hawaiian crafts, led by Arts and Crafts of Hawaii, the multi-volume set of scholarly pamphlets published by Bishop Museum Press and written by Te Rangi Hiroa. And there are whole books on many of the individual topics in The Hawai`iana Project. But the new book serves as a fine sampler, and with its instruction, you’ll be able to try your hand at some of the projects it presents.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2016

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