February 13th, 2020 / posted by paularath

Who knew indigo can survive an icy winter?

Well, hey, it can! That is, if it’s in the hands of an indigo expert who is determined to keep his craft going through the long winters in Cooperstown, New York.

The man who introduced me to indigo, Darius Homay, has moved to a much colder clime, Cooperstown. Snow and ice are frequent backyard visitors. Nothing like the warm tropical climate in Honolulu where Darius developed his passion for indigo.

Yet he still manages to hold “Indigo Days” behind his home.

How? He bought some trough heaters like the ones used to keep water thawed for farm animals. “It’s like a giant immersion heater,” he explained.

An indigo piece ready for a studio sink.

After achieving the desired shade in the indigo vat, it will be taken inside the house to one of the enormous sinks in Darius’ studio. I’m so jealous of his current students, and so grateful to Darius for introducing me to the magic of indigo.

Here’s one of the pieces I recently created with fabrics dyed with indigo and rust. It’s inspired by my North Shore summers when we began our holidays with a visit to the rock at Waimea Bay for a dashing jump. Did you jump off the rock too?

“Waimea Bay Summer: Jump!,” 20″ x 30″ on gallery wrap canvas

  • Paula Rath



January 1st, 2020 / posted by paularath

North Shore Surf’s Up, Pauahi Tower, 30 x 40″

If friends have noticed I haven’t seemed totally engaged with the holiday season this year, it’s true.

Something else has been much on my mind: textile art. I wouldn’t say I have been obsessing over it, but, well, it has occupied a chunk of my waking hours. I have been working on three pieces I hope will be accepted for a Hawaii Handweaver’s Hui show at Pauahi Tower in Bishop Square downtown. (I will find out on Saturday if they get in.)

South Shore Summer, Pauahi, 30 x 40″

These top three photos are the pieces I hope you will be seeing at Pauahi Tower after January 6.

Sand and Sea Series, Pauahi, 16 x 20″ each, set of 6

In addition, Punahou Carnival asked me to bring in three new pieces, so I have been working pretty hard getting all six pieces pau. The last three works (seen below) will be for sale at the Punahou Art Gallery during Punahou Carnival on February 7-8.

I always struggle with what to call these works. It would be simple if they were paintings, but they aren’t. Some say they look like paintings, but there is absolutely no paint on them, except for the borders on the gallery wrap canvases. Yes, they are all done on canvas, just like oil or acrylic paintings. But again, there’s no paint there. I use only naturally dyed fibers such as silk organza, linen, cotton, silk charmeuse, raw silk and some unusual fiber blends from Japan and Korea that contain metals.

Waimea Bay Summer: Jump!, Punahou, 20 x 30″ framed

Most of the fabrics I dye with indigo or rust, but I have also used Kakishibu (a Japanese dye made from fermented persimmons) for some darker details.

I no longer have access to an indigo vat on a regular basis, so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep this process going. I even find myself short of workable rusty detritus these days! Who would have ever thought it would be hard to find rusty junk that dyes effectively?

Secret Cove, Punahou, 20 x 30″

This final work is a little different, as it’s part of my “Bowls of Blessings” series. They incorporate paint, as well as hand dyed fibers and papers. This series began with a three-part piece called “Myanmar Monks’ Blessings,” which was inspired by the beautiful colors of the monks robes that change with their religious growth from novice to abbot, ochre to maroon. This most recent one honors the people of Puna who have been struggling in recent years.

Prayers for Puna, Punahou, 36 x 36″

Please come to Pauahi Tower sometime between January 6 and July 6 to see the many works of Hawaii’s Handweavers….and, hopefully, me  If you want to see an explosion of local art, don’t miss the Punahou Carnival Gallery, which has an amazing amount of art for sale in a single weekend, February 7-8.

Paula Rath

December 10th, 2019 / posted by paularath

My beloved “Last Cat,” Eleele

Three years ago, Jerry and I had three cats: Scrimshaw (“Scrimmy”), a lovely, loving, mellow gray cat Duncan and I found at the Humane Society, who lived happily with us until he died at the age of 21; LT, a feral cat who was born in our back yard and lived on our deck and in our yard for 16 years,; and Eleele, a gorgeous but temperamental cat we adopted from Maleakahana Park who lived with us for six years before she died. (We’ll never know how old she was.)

Since we travel so much, we decided that when our “Last Cat” died, we would not have any more pets. Well…..

I have stuck with that. It’s been difficult, as I’ve always been a cat person, but I was true to my word. The litter boxes, food, cat toys – everything left the house after Eleele died. And none of it has been replaced.

Enter the geckos.

Cointreau up close.


Cointreau plays “Suck ‘Em Up” on a martini plate that’s just the right size for an alcoholic gecko.

Geckos as pets? Oh yeah. I’m THAT hard up for a tiny breathing creature to talk to around the house.

It started by accident. One evening Jerry found a gecko clinging to the side of his Cointreau bottle. It was clearly drunk on the Cointreau he licked off the bottle cap. So Cointreau the Gecko became a drinking buddy for Jerry. Soon he had his own little plate where Jerry would pour a tiny bit of Cointreau or Fireball or Vodka – whatever the big guy was drinking, the little guy got some too.

Cointreau leaves “The Pub” after getting quite inebriated.

Then a little green gecko discovered the kitchen. I met him when he was thoroughly enjoying the crumbs left on the counter under the cookie rack. Thus, he became my kitchen gecko, named Cookie.

Cookie had a baby (I think) and he became ‘Cado, as he loved the green fruit we grow in our backyard. Then there was ‘Nana for the bananas we also grow.

Cointreau takes a deep dive into alcohol.

Now the geckos (the latest is Cookie III) are my cooking companions. I talk to them while slicing carrots or prepping mahimahi.

Gecko in a coma

Recently, we had a weird – mystifying – gecko experience. The gecko in the photo above seemed to be in a coma. He hung like that, on the living room wall, for a week. He didn’t blink or move or respond to being lightly touched. Then one day he reappeared on the other side of the big picture windows. He hung there, in the same manner, for another few days.

Then we found him on the floor, unresponsive. His little life, to which clung so long, was finally over.

How on earth did he get from the wall to the floor?

I know, many people hate geckos. But they have actually become my only pets, and I seem to need a little living, breathing “pet”in my life.

Perhaps it’s time for us to bite the bullet and get down to the Humane Society for a couple of kittens?

Paula Rath


December 6th, 2019 / posted by paularath

Woodwork by Ken Smith                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Photos courtesy CJ Smith

For more than 15 years, since 1998, I started shopping for Christmas in August, at the Made in Hawaii Festival. That’s because I compiled a special gift list and wrote a Black Friday centerpiece story for The Honolulu Advertiser, with a focus on buying only made in Hawaii gifts for friends and family.

While it was always a lot of work to search and shop and photograph and describe every item, I loved working on that story. It gave a voice to the outstanding Hawaii artists and craftspeople who work all year long to make unique gifts for the local market.

My holiday Made in Hawaii gift story from 1999

I definitely don’t shop like that any longer, but occasionally a holiday art and craft fair comes to my attention that I would like to share with readers. This weekend there are two.


This holiday sale offers a plethora of gifts, from swim goggles to ukuleles, created by friends and family of the hosts.

I discovered Enso bags last year through a friend and bought several for gifts. They were really well received and now the offerings, and the prints, have expanded so I can buy more and give more.

The 2019 bag collection of Enso


Enso’s pillow cases

And there’s more….

Photo by CJ Smith


Perfect gift for the swimmer on your list


Handmade wood boxes


Handmade ukuleles

Sometimes a holiday sale serves a special cause. When the charity is Africa-based, I am always drawn to it. I lived on that continent for two years – a year in Botswana (heaven) and a year in Nigeria (hell). But those are long stories!

A friend just told me about this sale, which helps organizations in Africa, and I thought you might want to know about it too.

Date: December 7, 2019 (Saturday)
Place: 252 Kahako Street, Kailua (the Bluffs)
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

*Jewelry -extensive collection from local, national and international crafters
* Ceramic Bowls & mugs *Gourmet Homemade Treats: Fresh baked bread, scones,
cookies, breads, bugle snacks, seasoned salts, mini rum cakes, prune mui, mango-papaya-ginger jam, berry jam, homemade vanilla extract & vanilla sugar; *Duck Soup (soup, dessert mixes) and other yummy treats! *jeweled pens; * custom
wood bar stools, hall tables, business card holders *serving boards *Macramé plant
hangers *Handmade Ornaments * Hand crafted cards *Essential oil-scented body
powder * Artisan Soaps ; * Customized Journals *badge holders; Christmas baskets;
*baby quilts/blankets, *Bags *Boutique Baby Bibs, diaper shirts, burp cloths,
aprons (adult/kid) *Japanese scrolls *paracord key chain & lanyard, survival
bracelets *crystal angels & sun catchers *Obis, *microwave bowl carriers,
microwave potato bags’ *jeweled Serving Spoons * tooth fairy pillows *16-ribbed
Umbrellas * Keepsake Tabletop Christmas Trees * Artwork *Wine bottle lights
*plants; *gift baskets, *air-plants *Tea cup and assorted soy candles; *Imari and
antique Japanese pottery; *Caterpillar farm kit (live) –with instructions to raise 3
into endangered monarch butterflies; bird houses; stuffed animals+ ….and More!
Please join us for unique items and…Invite your friends too!

*This Fair offers support to the following non-profits: * MADE IN HOPE (empowering women
& girls rescued from the sex trade, breaking the cycle of exploitation ) This year we will have a
silent auction for Made in Hope.*Advocates for Africa’s Children; *Heart for Africa &
H.O.W. (Helping caregivers & orphans in Africa)

Directions: from Pali Hwy: turn at Castle Hospital onto KALANIANAOLE hwy.
Go past the stoplight at Keolu drive, turn at the next Left –KANAPUU St.
Second right- KAHAKO St.; 4th house on right.
Info: 497 3277 (Maile or Kara) 252 Kahako Street, Kailua


December 5th, 2019 / posted by paularath

One wall of Jerry’s show. The top painting in the middle, an oil, is Jerry’s self portrait and is not for sale, as it’s my treasure; he gave it to me one Valentine’s Day!

It feels as though First Friday is coming alive again, with a focus on art rather than partying. So let’s celebrate the arts!

Come and join us on First Friday, December 6, when Jerry Mayfield celebrates his retrospective. It’s at the Louis Pohl Gallery, 1142  Bethel Street from 5 to 8 p.m.

Jerry with happy buyer Jean Yokoyama

I must inform you that two of his paintings have already sold. However, there are lots more on the walls.

Jean Yokayama was the first person in the door when the show first opened, and she bought one of my favorites, “Walk About, Talk About,” a charming watercolor with a lively group of figures sashaying along the painting. You can see it one last time on Friday before it goes to Jean’s home.

Three views of Antarctica

Jerry’s most recent work speaks to the issue of global warming in Antarctica. (Sorry about the glare – we forgot to photograph them before framing.)

On our Antarctica cruise, we expected a scene of white on white, but what we experienced were fascinating shades of blue and gray. The scenes were so appropriate for watercolors, and the views continue to inspire our work.

Please come and celebrate Jerry and his artistic talents. And while you’re in Chinatown, don’t miss the new glass show at the ARTS at Marks, sponsored by Hawaii Craftsmen. It’s spectacular!

Paula Rath