Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm Here!

So sorry for the lack of posts lately! No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. Actually, I dropped off the mainland. I just flew in from Oahu this evening (and boy are my arms tired... heh... little joke there...), so I haven't been sewing, obviously. Although I did keep my eyes peeled for cute fabric.

So here's something fabric-related that I brought back from my trip. Whilst in Hawai'i, I visited the Polynesian Cultural Center. They showcase six island cultures in Polynesia: Hawai'i, Tahiti, Fiji, Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), and Tonga. In Tonga, they are known for making Tapa cloth, which is really extraordinarily beautiful and labor-intensive.

They start with the inner bark of the hibiscus plant. The women peel it off in strips, like so:
They soak the bark, then pound it like crazy until it's super thin, soft, and way bigger than you would think it could get:
Last, they use plant dyes to create amazing designs on the Tapa cloth:
This whole ceiling is pieced from Tapa cloths:
So there you have it. Far from made with my hands, but a huge inspiration, and a testament to the lengths that we sewing-minded people will go to in order to get our hands on some supercute fabric!

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