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How fascinating! I saw these pieces in Hawaii, but had no idea all the prep work involved. Talk about patience... I hope the ancient arts like this one will continue to be brought through the generations. Thanks!
What a great article Shari - when my DS and DDIL were travelling in the South Pacific a few years back, they purchased a tiny square of tapa cloth to remember their honeymoon. It's hung in their bedroom and is lovely.
Thank you all for the kind words. I work with the Micronesian Handicraft Shop here on Kwaj as a buyer. One of the most satisfying aspects of our shop is that we are encouraging the ancient arts of carving and weaving to be passed on to the next generation. Tapa is becoming very hard to find because there is so little market for it and the art is being lost. Your interest will help to preserve the memory of this incredible skill.
Most don't have any way of communication. I contact (by snail mail) a man on the island who has a PO Box, and he forwards my instructions to the carvers and weavers...it is mind boggling frustrating at times, but so fun when we get a shipment. Rarely has any resemblance to my order at all! Surprise!! We'll talk more about it in November.
Great article! Thanks! I just signed up to get the weekly newsletter and was surprised to see you live on Kwaj. I grew up there (81-96). What are the chances?!! I miss the place! Thanks again.