Ulana me ka lokomaika‘i: To weave from the goodness within

  • Exhib_slideshow_lauhala-hats

  • Exhib_slideshow_lauhala_group

    Members of the weaving club Ulana me ka lokomaika’i.

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August 25, 2011 - January 29, 2012
The Textile Gallery (22)

Exhibition Overview

Last year, Gladys Kukana Grace, an accomplished lauhala weaver, received a National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship. The prestigious program is designed to recognize and preserve the country's diverse cultural heritage, and fellowships go to master folk and traditional artists.

To honor Aunty Gladys, as she is known, and her influence as a teacher, the Academy presents Ulana Me Ka Lokomaika’i: To weave from the goodness within, pāpale, or hats, by her and her many dedicated students. 

Aunty Gladys learned the art of lauhala weaving from her maternal grandmother, Kukana, while growing up in the small town of Olelomoana on Hawai‘i Island’s South Kona coast. Weavers claim the hala, or pandanus, trees from that region produce the best lauhala (leaf used for weaving). The weaving techniques and patterns were once guarded as family secrets, and were handed down from mother to daughter. Aunty Gladys’s grandmother’s family was known in particular for weaving hats of light and dark contrasting patterns known as anoni.

Aunty Gladys explains best the value of lauhala: “It is a connection with the past. It changes your life. It will make you a better person.”  A steward of lauhala weaving for more than 30 years, Aunty Gladys has taught hundreds of students since the 1980s. She gave many lessons on her front porch. Between 1988 and 1998, Aunty Gladys also participated in the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts' Folk Arts Apprenticeship program.

In 1997, Aunty Gladys and fellow weaver Frank Masagatani formed Ulana me ka lokomaika’i. Today, the weaving club’s annual workshop for new students has a two-year waiting list. Aunty Gladys’s former students are now teachers who also perpetuate this time-honored art form. Her legacy will live on through their passion and devotion.

Featured artists:

Caroline Affonso

Evva Lim

Dean Saito

Michelle Aiwohi

Margaret Lovett

Cheryl Souza

Lehua Domingo

Gayle Lum

Lola Spencer

Sandra Furoyama

Bob Magliozzi

Suzanne Swartman

Gloria Gainsley

Frank Masagatani

Vivian "Happy" Tamanaha

Lynn Ham-Young

Judi Moore

Joanne Takatsugi

Gwen Kamisugi

Michael Nahoopii

Diane Wong

Mariko Kobayashi

Marcia Omura


Tiff Lawyer

Lynette Yuki Roster

Related programming

Weaving activity
Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday: Woven Wonders, Sept. 18, 11am-3pm
Join members of Ulana Me Ka Lokomaika'i for a “make and take” simple lauhala project at the Honolulu Academy of Arts monthly free event featuring art activities and entertainment. 

Weaving demo
Gallery 22, Sept. 24, Oct. 22, Nov. 12, 10am-2pm
Members of Ulana Me Ka Lokomaika‘i explain how to clean and process lauhala, then work on pāpale (hats) and talk story with visitors.