The concept of the 'ohe kapala is a Hawaiian innovation - originating in the final stages of making tapa. Incised with intricate patterns, the 'ie kuku created water marks visible in transparent form. The repetitive patterns of 'ohe kapala was developed to emphasize the water marks and to give the artist an ability to express thought in the decoration of cloth.
The gods of tapa making and tapa stamping were sister Lauhuki and La'ahana. Their father, Maikoha, was the son of Hinahanaiakamalama, goddess of the moon, and the original tapa maker. She came to Hawaii with the gods Kane, Ku, Lono, and Kanaloa. Lauhuki developed tapa making and various dyeing methods. La'ahana developed tapa making and the 'ohe kapala.
The height of 'ohe kapala on tapa was at its height in the mid-18th century where patterns reflected status, rank, or whether male or female just by the dye color and patterns. The art of 'ohe kapala was almost lost but made a comeback in the years of the Hawaiian Renaissance during the early 1960s. It has now become a popular practice especially with the design on the hula pa'u and malo.
Course Objective: - to appreciate the intricate designs of Hawaiian bamboo stamping;- to learn the intrinsic nature of bamboo coupled with the value, symbolism, philosophy of tapa stamping;- to infuse the pattern with a value that is personal;- to learn how language and image are powerful tools.