Hawaiian Hanaii

By: Pam Pampe
Winchester, Virginia

Hawaiian quilts have fascinated me since I first saw one in 1980. I pursued information on their styles and fabrics and the images used in creating them for a Hawaiian household, as a gift or creative endeavor.

I love appliqué and this genre of quilt filled my need for creative expression. As I studied quilts in preparation for testing to become an American Quilter’s Society appraiser and as I served as member of the AQSG Board, I learned that a folklore culture surrounded these unusual solid colored quilts.

Hawaiian quilt designs were personal to their makers and to copy without the creators’ permission was taboo. Human and animal images were never used in the designs for religious reasons, but the flora of the islands was used in stylized and literal expressions. Open centers, “pikus,” allowed the spirits of loved ones who had passed on, to travel back and forth, between the after-life and the real world. Hawaiian quilting patterns replicated the ocean waves that surge against the coastline.

My pattern is an original design that has been given the name, Waimea from the Big Island of Hawaii. As the sea breezes blow across this high plains area, fronds of flowers and palms undulate gracefully. I hope you feel the motion and calming quality of this simple piece that speaks “Mahalo” in thanks.