Ulana Lauhala

Ulana Lauhala

Aloha! Thanks for stopping by the BeachGoddessShells blog. 

Lauhala is an incredible plant. The Pandanus tree has been used by cultures for milenia; all parts provided a useful material, the aerial roots, the fruit, even the seed. Across the Pacific and Southeast Asia lauhala has been a valuable resource for thousands of years. Imagine Tahitian men fishing on canoes with sails plaited from strong lauhala leaves, or a 70 foot double-hull voyaging canoe following the star maps in the night sky to traverse the open ocean to Hawaii. Lauhala provided a renewable source of canoe sails, house mats, thatching, baskets, clothing items, beds, even pillows!

The tradition of weaving lauhala has transcended into a high-end art form ranging from handbags to intricate placemats. For generations, local weavers made exquisite hats in Hawaii to sell on the street markets. This trend began during WWII when Kona Coffee farmers sold hats to soldiers to supplement their incomes and provide for their families. Today, the patterns and styles of lauhala hats and purses are works of art. Look for them styled with pizzazz as you go about your way across town, and make sure you compliment the weaver if you like what you see!

At BeachGoddessShells we take pride in the process, and you’ll see the difference. Each leaf is sustainably harvested from the Big Island. All color variations are natural. Our lauhala is sourced from the districts of Kona, Puna, and Hilo. Each woven item undergoes a process beginning with caring for the tree, giving thanks, picking, cleaning, stripping thorns, conditioning, softening, measuring, cutting, and finally weaving (followed by a variety of finishing techniques). 

Mahalo to my treasured kumu, Hulali Jewell of Kona. Over ten years I've slowly obtained knowledge of weaving techniques. She continues to graciously teach and share, spending her precious time overseeing the progress of her haumana of all levels thus, perpetuating the cultural practice of Hawaiian lauhala weaving in Hawaii.

Also mahalo to Herb Kaneko for his woodworking skills making luxurious koa wooden implements. Lastly, mahalo to Kimura store in Holualoa for sharing the cultural history of lauhala as well as showcasing lauhala products and tools.

BeachGoddessShells offers luxury lauhala products with a modern vibe. You can find high-quality bangles, hat bands, and lined handbags and clutches. Check back regularly for unique lauhala accessories like barrettes and earrings.

Please COMMENT BELOW what's your favorite lauhala item in your collection!


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