The islands of Hawaii are rich with culture, music, food, and surfing. If you plan to visit these beautiful islands, you may notice a lot of amazing handmade artwork and crafts. When the colonists came to explore the islands of Hawaii, they also brought over some of their own techniques and materials for craft making. Today, these arts and crafts are still a popular way for Hawaiians to pass the time and to create handmade goods for sale. Here are some examples of the most popular traditional Hawaiian crafts.
Working With Feathers
Feather work has long been a part of the Hawaiian culture. Feathers were once used to make capes and hair ornaments and even adorned the helmets of warriors. To make a proper item using feathers, they had to be collected, trimmed, cut, and then hand crafted into a perfectly finished piece. Historically, brightly-colored feathers were reserved for nobility or those in power. It indicated a higher social status, and only those in power were seen wearing these colorful feathers. Over the decades, however, you will find gorgeous feather work added to anything from hats to feather leis, and you can purchase hand-made feather work items while in Hawaii.
The Famous Lei
Leis have been part of the Hawaiian tradition for centuries. These beautiful pieces of handmade jewelry could be seen on the wrists and ankles as well as around the neck. Some of the oldest leis were actually made of braided hair instead of flowers. Today, hand-made leis crafted from flowers are a symbol of the Hawaiians' friendliness and hospitality. Leis are often made using fresh flowers, but you'll also find plenty of synthetic versions in many souvenir shops. Some of the most commonly-used flowers for leis include yellow hibiscus, plumeria, pink roses, and kukui. The kukui is the tiny white flowers that come from the native candlenut tree. When in Hawaii, wearing a lei made of real flowers is an absolute must if you want to be part of the island tradition.
Hawaiian quilts are some of the finest-crafted quilts in the world. This tradition skyrocketed in popularity after Hawaiians made contact with people from the Western world. The missionaries introduced their own fabrics and showed the natives how to use traditional sewing techniques. Most Hawaiian quilts are made using one large piece of fabric with the smaller patches and appliques sewn on top. Look for quilts in bright colors and beautiful fabrics that contain many symbols of the island. Most of these quilts are used as decorative items to be hung on the wall and not as a blanket. They typically have nature themes, and some quilts can even be found hanging in local museums. If you're planning a visit to Hawaii, be on the lookout for these wonderful traditional crafts.
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