The gift of lau hala knowledge

1 12 2018

The gift

For our ʻŌlelo, Hawaiian language, class today Keoua Nelsen, our kumu (teacher, or source), decided his Christmas gift to his haumana (students) would be making lau hala bracelets. Besides teaching Hawaiian, he is a lau hala weaver. Most of us had not woven lau hala before. He introduced us to weaving with an oli, or chant, tracing the origins of the pandanus from its growth to its usefulness.

Kumu provided kits of the materials, having already done the hard part for us—gathering, cleaning, cutting off the thorns, stripping, and softening the lau hala. The kit included 1) a backing that we wound around all five knuckles that our bracelet would have to pass over,  2) a dark-colored warp already stripped into seven quarter-inch widths (see photo) starting about one inch from one end, and 3) a whitish-colored weft.

From top to bottom: backing, warp, weft

The start. The rolled-up backing and the end of the warp are clipped together. The light-colored weft is inserted behind the warp as pictured, and the long end will be folded around and into the inside, to begin the weave from the LEFT.

Chart indicates design steps. You can do the design plan on graph paper.

As it happened, I didn’t follow the design plan exactly. Oops! I unknowingly wove a happy result. It’s called “Nene,” the name of the goose that is the Hawai‘i State bird, because the design resembles the wings!

I repeat my Nene design all around the bracelet. With my fingernail I’ll push the weft strands closer to minimize gaps. Lightly misting with water keeps the work pliable.

Kumu Nelsen shows how to finish the bracelet by hiding and trimming the left-over ends.

Kumu reminds us that learning the Hawaiian language is a gift that you give to yourself. The same can be said of learning how to weave lau hala.

Copyright 2018 Rebekah Luke





Observing the moon phases

24 06 2018

Matching moon phases with calendar dates and making a journal entry

In my Hawaiian language class we are learning the names of the moon phases — a different name for each 24 hours as well as the hand signs. Kumu Keoua Nelsen challenged us to go outdoors and look at the moon. Last night in Kaaawa I observed its shape as gibbous or 3/4 full. I think it is Huna today. As I wrote in my journal, it is a “warm and windless morning. Light rain shower. 7” avocados on tree. Plenty papaya still green…”

Avocado fruit measures about 7” in diameter now. I anticipate it will be humongous by the usual harvest time in August.

 

Plenty papaya

~ Rebekah Luke








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