Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ni'ihau Thursday!

We went to Read the Book of Mormon with Andrew today and met his aunts. They were sweet.
Remember I told you about my Ni'ihau earrings? Well, here is a picture of 6 different types of Ni'ihau shells. These shells have been picked over, cleaned, and have holes put in them so they can be made into leis, bracelets or earrings. Can you see how small they are? The tools at the top are used to make the holes in the shells so they can be strung. It is very time consuming and lots of shells find their way to the ground because they broke when being punched or clipped. It took lots of time and several family members to collect these shells. The profits from their sale will be shared with the family.

Here is Lama. She is making a choker lei. It will be 9 inches long. She is using the Pikake patten for this lei. We saw some like this one at a trading post and they can cost upwards of $500. In the Lihue Museum there are pictures of Lama, her mother and her sister collecting shells on Ni'ihau years ago. A famous photographer took the pictures. Lama's son works at the museum and she told me he is a talented lei maker. His patterns are beautiful.

This is Caroline. Her task is punching the shells getting them ready for stringing. You have to have really steady hands she says! At the bottom in the left hand corner you can see she has strung a single strand of shells. She will string 2 more and hook them together. This lei will be a longer one probably 36 inches. We saw some of these that were priced upwards of $3000. These ladies said they would make me one if I wanted. I would have to pre order and they said it would be cheaper because there would be no middle man! What do you think? Should I go for it?

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