'Ohe Kapala for The Makery Hilo

So I work for The Makery Hilo down in town by the East Hawai'i Cultural Center and Kalakaua Park. While I've made them lines for earrings, bookmark, ornaments and display/fixtures, my next line is 'ohe kapala. (Mental note: figure out how to import kahako... aka the bar over the vowels. My apologies for the mistype). I want to give tourists (and visitors around Merrie Monarch) a chance to learn more about the kapa cloth and patterns they will see in the kahiko hulas on stage.


Basically I want to create an informational booklet about the history of the markings, how they were made/used and how we are making them now. I've gathered about 10 different books on different Hawaiian and Polynesian markings, and have reached out to different kapa-cloth makers around the island.


I'd love for Dr. Scott to be able to cut the bamboo sets on the CNC, and I'm hoping to solve the challenging problem of stamping blind by making some sets out of plexiglass. Now I can see the looks on the local's faces already and before you shoot me down hear me out. These would no longer be "'ohe" kapala, since there's no bamboo, just kapala or the stamp. Secondly those who make kapa cloth for a living and use 'ohe kapala and have researched it for years have agreed that the current design of 'ohe kapala didn't come along until metal was able to carve the bamboo. King Kamehameha was famous for using the technology available to him at the time, and I can put more mana into the construction of the plexiglass versions than I can the CNC. While I've invested myself and my mana into the booklet and initial designs, for the CNC you bolt the bamboo down to the table and come up with a completed product, where as plexiglass the handle and the patterns are cut separately and need to be adhered to one another, giving me time to focus and put mana into the product.


Kumu Michelle Manu, a 7th degree blackbelt Lua practitioner has expressed interest in using the CNC to make Lua weapons. It's an opportunity to save her hands. By all means, theres some finishing sanding and polishing that opens the door for handling, energy and mana, but it's been built into the Hawaiian culture to be clever and use the tools they had available.


I look forward to seeing how the project goes!


And debate question for the readers: If mana is the life-force that one pours into a project, can you pour mana into a digital art file? Or do you feel it's limited to physical projects? Why or why not? Lets debate!

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