Let's talk story! The Hawaiian word for story is ka mo`olelo, which translates literally "lizard speech". Descriptive of the style in which I tell my story, in this section I ramble, weave and wind my way casually through the storytelling.
I have practiced needlework all of my adult life: macrame, crochet, knitting, weaving, needlepoint, sewing. During the first twelve years in Hawaii, I owned and managed a Hawaiian clothing company. The seeds were planted and the fields were ripe for harvest-- my ultimate artistic expression as a Hawaiian quilter.
In 1998 after the passing of a dear Hawaiian friend, I experienced a rather profound dream. In it I was instructed to find a teacher and to learn about Hawaiian quilting. I had an Aunty in Hilo, who knows and teaches quilting. So I immediately called Aunty Vi. “I want to learn to do Hawaiian quilting. Will you teach me?”
Aunty consented. So next Sunday we met for lunch and then chatted all afternoon, sitting outdoors at a table at Nani Loa Hotel in Hilo. I brought my mokihana pillow kit, which I had tried unsuccessfully to self-teach for some four years. Aunty sat with me by Hilo Bay and shared. In that afternoon I heard most of the simple phrases of instruction, which now resonate in my mind and perpetuate my workmanship.
Aunty encouraged me that afternoon. “Don't worry about the stitches. Just do it. The first two pieces are for practice. After that I will judge your work.”
Three weeks later I called Aunty to announce that I was “all pau” and ready for my next project. And a month later I asked for permission to begin my first kapa. That commenced the creation of “He Mala Pua Loke o ka Wahine Mo`i”.
As they say, “The rest is history...."
Through the years since 1998 I have worked steadily to gain knowledge and to perfect my quilting skills. In the early years every decision about pattern and quilting technique was made with discussion and approval from my teacher, Aunty Vi. Since Aunty "gave me my wings in 2007”, I have sought other teachers and I have voyaged into new and unchartered oceans.... My design ideas come to me through dreams-- night dreams and daydreams.
Each quilt that I sew is given to me. I really do not consider myself to be the quilt creator. Each quilt is a gift-- seeds planted within me, then nurtured to grow and to be born as this beautiful Hawaiian quilt.
I look at any of my quilts and wonder, "Who made this?" ...ha`aha`a... I can only do my work with humble thanks to God and to the gift of Creation.
In 2021, I was honored to be interviewed by Jenni Smith (hailing from England) for an online post with Quiltfolk Magazine. Here is a link to that special time between Jenni and Ric: