Woodworkers back from native gathering on Oahu

Native Hawaiians with the Kauai Maoli Woodcarving Academy are back on Kaua’i with a renewed sense of purpose after participating in the Bishop Museum First Annual Native Hawaiian Arts Market earlier this month.

After receiving a courtesy invitation from Bishop Museum leaders, academy instructor Ken Bray sent off a resume, application and response form, and was invited to attend the event.

Academy participants were the only ones representing Kaua’i among around 60 other Native Hawaiian crafters, he said.

It was “great for the people of Kaua’i,” who took down ki’i (tiki) images done by academy participants, and lamp bases with flowers carved into them by wood-turner Francis Lopez Jr., said Bray.

The event was part of Maoli Arts Month (MAMO) at the Bishop Museum, said Ginger P.D. Bray, Ken Bray’s daughter.

Modeled after the Santa Fe, N.M. Indian market, the Bishop Museum event celebrated Native Hawaiian contemporary artists and cultural practitioners, and established a venue through which those artists shared, exhibited and sold their works. Ginger Bray said.

Members of the Kauai Maoli Woodcarving Academy went for the experience, to meet and talk with other Native Hawaiian artisans, and not necessarily to sell their creations, Ken Bray said.

“The rain messed up things,” resulting in a lower-than-anticipated turnout, he said.

A part-time teacher with the Kauai Community School for Adults through the state Department of Education, Ken Bray also was a rancher, and once a week conducts woodcarving classes at the Hawaii Army National Guard Kapa’a armory, through his Kauai Maoli Woodcarving Academy.

Classes, open to all ages 18 and older, are each Saturday at 6p.m.

For more information, call 651-4687.

• Paul C. Curtis, associate editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or pcurtis@kauaipubco.com.

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