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Textiles embody the cross over of 'applied' and 'fine' arts coalescing in patterns and  design for adornment and utility. It's one thread through my work; issues of high and low art, craft, the functional and the fine.


5 Paintings/5Textiles was created for my undergraduate thesis exhibition in Art and Ethnography at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa (1982), and included five 30–40 foot long hanging hand-painted textiles based on ancient Hawaiian tapa cloth motifs. The designs were in turn originally inspired by natural forms, such as the sea urchin pattern or the snake pattern. These formal elements were then worked into corresponding paintings, depicting the figure in an action relating to the design.



The classic Missionary muu-muu (long dress), still worn in Hawai’i, inspired "Missionary Dress" (1983) made of a hand-stamped tapa pattern created from wood block prints, cut and printed on handiwipes; contemporary domestic cleaning material (synthetic) mimicking natural tapa cloth. This piece references the white man's "cleansing" of native Polynesian religion, culture, and body, when indigenous women of the time were forced to cover their bodies in the western religious tradition of the late 1700's during colonialization of the Islands.


Sea Urchin

Hula, detail


"Pala" is the Hawaiian word for "print" or "stamp". "PalaPala" is this action repeated over and over, a many-layered and multi-patterned process that was used throughout Polynesia in the making and beating of tapa cloth. A double print: both from the carved imprint of the beater on the damp barkcloth, and later the dyed, stamped images.


PalaPala is also the adaption of the western name "Barbara", into the Hawaiian language, and was adapted as the name for my first business- a clothing line of hand-printed t-shirts.

This section brings together works that visually and metaphorically repeat themselves. Printmaking, pattern, waves, water, oceans are all cyclical processes that recycle and rain down in new chemical and physical formations. Much of the work on plastic pollution and other land-to-sea environmental issues echo this repetition of our connectness to the element of water, gravity, and the natural world. 

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