Pa'u Skirt Printing Workshop

Almonte Clubhouse, Mill Valley , California, USA, September 26, 1999.
Produced by Hula On! Productions.

If you're wondering where we get our hula costumes, we print the fabric and sew them ourselves!

For our main 'Olapa costume the Original Red Dirt Shirt Company graciously agreed to dye our fabric with real red dirt from Kauai. The result was a fabric that has incredible body and (of course) energy from ka'aina - the land!

When we first touched the fabric the essence of the land shot through us.

How inspiring!

Kukui nut oil was the main base for printing the kapa in ancient times and we got ours from Oils of Aloha on O'ahu.

For this workshop, we used a whopping one and one half gallons of kukui oil!
To make our "black paint" we burned our old leis from past performances and mixed the ashes with the kukui nut oil.

Here, Pua (right) and daughter Ashley use some of the many stencils made for the workshop by Windie, Nancy, and Stephanie. Some of the stencils were made in the traditional fashion by carving the patterns onto bamboo.

This is Kumu's Kihei.
For the basic design, we started with a standard of three lines at the bottom of the skirt. The line at the bottom of the skirt represents "Ka 'aina (the land and all life that it contains). The line toward the top of the skirt represents Ka lani (the heavens: where our inspiration and guidance comes from). The line in between represents Ka halau (us: who breathe life into our culture with each dance).

For the balance of the design, each dancer had total freedom to express their individual feelings and energy for hula, telling their own story. Here Shirley applies her design.

The finished product.


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