Everything is still made on Kauai

LIHUE — As Carol Yotsuda said, you can’t go wrong with plates.

Her latest rendition of ceramic plates were among the offerings Saturday at the Kauai Handworks craft fair at the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School cafeteria.

“The organizing committee used to be more stringent before,” said Yotsuda, one of the fair’s original vendors. “We had to bring our products in two times a year to be screened. That was hard because we do things last-minute, but it was to be sure that everything was made on Kauai.”

Yotsuda can’t remember how long ago the craft fair started, but it was the efforts of Melani Nagao, Guy Kudo, Keith Arakaki and about 20 other people in the organizing committee that got the event off the ground.

“We were limited to just 25 booths,” Yotsuda said. “I was one of the lucky ones to get a booth, and because it was more space than I needed, it was all right to share the booth. Today, it’s still limited to just 25 booths, and there are some people who share booth space.”

One of the newer emerging stars at the fair is vendor Wendi Magaoay, who is also a Waimea High School teacher and yearbook adviser.

“This is our last fair for the year,” said Brad Sato, who was helping Magaoay at her booth. “We are doing just two fairs this year, the first being the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital fair.”

Magaoay started out doing gingerbread scented ornaments, first as replicas of iconic University of Hawaii football numbers, then expanding to other items.

This year, her collection includes her own OK Kauai — “Only on Kauai” — items, which include trucker caps, T-shirts and spinoffs of her photography. One photography piece was recently accepted for display at the Kauai Society of Artists gallery at Kukui Grove Center.

“I really must go over and visit with her,” said Eve Solomon, another of the longtime vendors, who has added live moss necklaces to her line of original artwork to wear.

“They’re pretty durable,” Solomon said. “Just don’t go dancing with them.”

Karin Panui of Mailelani’s, one of the sponsors of the Dec. 13 Holiday Market and Craft Fair at Kauai Community College, said she’s recently discovered Oahu as a marketplace for her hand-sewn items.

“I brought Edwin (Vea) to one of the Oahu markets and they were so impressed with him,” Panui said. “All the other vendors were asking where I found him because he was doing his manapua bag spiel and stopping people.”

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