History of Hawaiian Application
©Ute GlÃ¼ck ; 2005
Unforgettable: The first Hawaiian Quilt !
Design-Appearance of fabric and its Quality is great. Both is due to the Hand and Spirit (mana) of the Quilter.
The Hawaiian mild weather and life-style doubtless is reason why Application and Quilting is carefully well thought done.
The Hawaiian peoples less stress attitude is mirrored in the Quilt.
Nobody ever is forced to prepare a Quilt for guaranteed warm Nights in cold Winter months.
Applications carried out rather fine on high quality level Quilting easily needs months of concentrated restless work.
The Hawaiian Quilting consists of 4 important elements:
the choice of both fabrics;
the snow-flake method, selection of design;;
making the design “in on step”;
ffinally; the Shadow-Quilting, means the design orientated Quilting, uniform and harmonized distributed on the whole Quilt.
Hawaiian Females were well experienced in making fabrics in their own factories for clothing and so on.
Fabrics were coloured and fitted with a kind of stamp-printing design in still today known style.Sewing was not known in the early days. Fabric was folded and people were wrapped in fabric.
The old fabric was rather rough, proof that it was other kind of cotton used as today available.
With Whale hunting and with more and more trading better fine cotton and fabric becomes known. The making of and how to colour it was not a big deal to accomplish.
The Hand-Craft “Sewing” and the making of clothes becomes more and more known. New Cloth’s, pretty like the “Tagmuumuu“ cut out of one piece of fabric, are established.
In the 18th century American Missioners educated the people to prepare Comforters in patchwork design. Bigger pieces of fabric are cut down in smaller parts and sewed together.
This – for sure – was not that logical for Hawaiian Females.
The from missioners brought â€žSnow-Flake-Cut“ method engaged the Females more and they developed thereof their own technique.
Even Nobody knows something about Snow on Hawaii, their early used Stamp-Colour-Designs are looking pretty much about the Paper-Cut of those Snow-Flakes.Taking over the method of cutting out a folded to a fourth piece of fabric for symmetric designs needs not long.
The Hawaiian Ladies developed outstanding skills to prepare symmetric and well equalized design.
Regularly Two-Colour-Quilts, rather tough contrasting, are prepared. Probably not being able to prepare multiple colour fabrics was reason in this days.
Most of the early Hawaiian Quilts were White / Red.
Other Colour Combination are add on later. But still today the preferred is a Two-Colour-Quilt. The dual-colour-design is rather highlighting the clear Hawaiian Design.
The first Hawaiian Quilts found probably were the finest brought by the missioners with.
The Hawaiian application and quilting method (Echo quilting) was making lot of noise it was totally new and not known this way
This way quilting is mirroring the native Citizens nature; the way of move and picturesque are well accepted.
The snake-move soft wave patterns following the applied design are looking like the waves and tides surrounding their islands.
The poetic Hawaiian Women; one in one with their Nature; also took this method to express their feelings beside preparing nice Quilt – Technique.
Feelings are Paramount developing the Hawaiian Design.
The special relationship Hawaiians have to their Land are knowledgeable to copy Grace and Softness into their Quilts. The skill preparing a harmonized and equalized Design was a real gift to them.
It was a Talent carefully protected.
Some believed the spirit of the person developing and sewing the Quilt is taking major part of the work done and will mirror the way of individual life.
The Humidity and salty Air would have negative impact to the Quilts. This is reason why they are well chest-protected and kept in the own family only. They were not discovered and shown around without a (serious) reason.
For Ages the Artwork of preparing Quilts in Hawaiian Application Style was known as very valuable. This is reason why it is not that long allowed; since a couple of years only; to train this Technology.
In fact now, and this is the only reason, is it possible to heritage this art; to keep its legal position; in order to enable the most to enjoy this style of quilting; born by the Hawaiians creativity and smartness.
Giving away such kind of Quilt was meant as to give a part of yourself away. This was possible between close relatives and best friends only.
The individual designs were kept carefully. The artwork was carried out in the house only and was not shown around.
Even songs were established in order to shame a person which has “unauthorized bought” a design.
The designs were sketched on already folded fabric, carefully cut off and herewith the template was also gone.
An authorized use was intended by a relative or by a good friend in form of having the ready made Quilt in his hands only.
This way of copyright preservation was reason why some new designs were found and other technique than using two colours only were established.
The Quilt names often were tricky. Easy was to name them like Flowers and Leaves; Scenes and other Materials.
But due to fact that lot of Quilt-Designs were reasoned by personal emotion and events in Quilters life; often name relation to trueness of the motives was not traceable.
Even the literally English translation of the Quilt name not really shows the meaning and emotion of the origin.
Sometimes the name; having important personal meaning; fits to the founder of the Quilt only.
Creating the name was important part of the whole process, due to fact it includes the inside; the secret feeling or the event without foreign knowing. Names having a double-sense are also pretty liked to use.
Hawaiian Application / Quilting was also used to tell stories; e.g. the birth of a King, a new Queen, royal symbols, the found of pearls in Hawaiian Sea; thus all brought into one design and beloved quilted by the Hawaiian Women.
Lots of these Quilts were given as gift to the actual Royals; a couple of them survived in collections.
One of this Motives was for years part of the countries national flag.
With the surrender of Monarchy in 1893 the Hawaiian national flag was gone.
Since this days the Quilts are found in home-use, mostly as comforter in the bedroom with motives of country flag.#
Hawaiian Quilting is based on the spirit, the tremendous creativity and sensitivity of the extraordinary people of Hawaii.
This needs us to take outstanding respect and honor in our thinking and feelings making such a Quilt.
Once having such a ready prepared Quilt in your Hand, you may have made your masterpiece.
But please remember; Hawaiian tradition says you have to seal your Love into the Quilt whilst spending one night at least under it.
9/2005 & 02/2006 (English Version - Walter GlÃ¼ck) ©Ute GlÃ¼ck