Emilia Knudsen’s thinking of others

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A snowman ornament created by Emilia Knudsen.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Sea glass bracelets created by Emilia Knudsen.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Examples of wire-wrapped sea glass by Emilia Knudsen.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Emilia Knudsen, 11, unpacks some of the wire-wrapped pieces, Friday while RoseAnne Jones, the KSA show chair, opens up the KSA Gallery at the Kukui Grove Center.

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i artist and art instructor Penny Nichols bought herself a Christmas present Friday when she dropped in on the Kaua‘i Society of Artists gallery where 11-year-old Emilia Knudsen was setting up for her special guest appearance Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“I thought maybe my best friend is in your class,”’ Knudsen said to Nichols who teaches art at Island School. “But she has to wait another year before getting to your class.”

Knudsen was showing off her collection of sea glass art jewelry and Christmas ornaments, including some newly-received wire-wrapped pieces from an “aunty” on the Mainland.

“She just showed up after visiting Emilia’s Etsy account (Emilia K Jewelry),” the young artist’s mother said. “So, we sent her a bunch of things so she could wire wrap with silver-plated wire, and we just got them back. Imagine the trust…sending a bunch of stuff to someone we never met. But it’s gorgeous.”

Originally, Emilia’s plan was to use the proceeds of sales from the showing to buy food for the Kapa‘a Community Pantry, a free food pantry located inside the Kaua‘i Store on the main highway in Kapa‘a that she started by using proceeds from the sale of her Keiki Dough on the sidewalks of the Hanapepe Art Night.

Additionally, sales of her sea glass art jewelry at the Kilauea farmers market helped get food for the pantry program.

But things changed from her original invitation at the opening Friday.

“She just won a Kindness Grows Here grant,” her mother said. “It was a Kids Kindness grant to help get Christmas presents for children who will attend the Keiki Christmas, Dec. 21 from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Kapa‘a Community Food Pantry. Today, she’s using proceeds from the Kaua‘i Society of Artists gallery showing to get more presents.”

Keiki interested in attending need to register before Dec. 15 at the Kapa‘a Community Food Pantry, or email asacredchild@gmail.com with the child’s name, age, and gender. All registered keiki must be present at the event where Emilia and her friends, including Mr. and Mrs. Claus, an angel, a giant elf, and an elf on stilts, and Rudolf, will have goodies and a little present for the first 50 keiki to sign up.

“If people don’t have money for food, then, they must not have money for presents,” Emilia said. “We need to get presents for the children.”


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Tom Klein December 1, 2020 1:51 pm Reply

    What a sweet caring girl I don’t know any other girls this age that are so thoughtful, caring, and giving.
    So much ALOHA

  2. Marty Wells December 12, 2020 5:09 pm Reply

    After noticing her endeavors on Facebook, and finding ourselves in Kauai, my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting this 11 yr old with the plight of the pandemic and its effect on Kauai on her shoulders. Without hesitation, she is doing what she can to support her fellow citizens of Kauai . I have to say, in this world today, she is a rare one, destined for greatness in her life. If one can start with her perspective at 11, imagine what is next…

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