Sunday, February 1, 2009

Thrones

In the process of deciding what touristy things to do while my dad was visiting us in December, he brought up a Hawaiian throne. Did you know that Iolani Palace in Hawai'i was the only royal residence in the United States? It was built by King Kalakaua and was also home to his sister and successor Queen Lili'uokalani who was the last ruling monarch of Hawai'i. Seeing that I now live in Hawai'i and the palace thrones are the only royal seats in America, this seemed like a concept worthy of commemoration.

Once the idea was sparked, I went full steam ahead. I had ideas for a rich layering of bright tropical fabrics. But, after doing "research" (a visit to the palace), we found out that the throne is actually two, and that they are quite traditional and European in appearance (although, if I remember correctly, they are carved from Hawaiian Koa wood). However, since red and gold are the colors of Hawaiian royalty, redwork made more sense to me. Also, Lauhala weaving is a traditional fiber art used to make baskets, hats and mats to sit and sleep on. I got very excited and pulled these elements together to create a formal redwork version of the royal thrones of King Kalakaua and his wife Queen Kapiolani on a background woven lauhala style. I added a hibiscus (the state flower) and two palm fronds in a nod to the tropical.


"The Thrones of King Kalakaua & Queen Kapiolani"

As I was finishing this piece, I was struck with yet another idea I HAD to try. It's actually my official response to this challenge.

8 comments:

Gerrie said...

I love looking at this close up. You did have fun making this. Now, where is the real one?

Diane said...

What a cool way to memorialize some history about your new home? This feels very "you" to me -- layers of meaning, lots to look at, fascinating symbolism, and a very pleasing result. Beautiful, Kristin!

(And I do always laugh that at the outset of 12x12 you were worried about your time, and yet you often manage to do not one, but TWO responses!!)

Kristin L said...

The time thing cracks me up too, Diane! Thank you, Gerrie and Deborah for pressing me to join, because I really look forward to each of our challenges. :-)

twolimeleaves said...

Kristin, of all the thoughts I had of chairs, not once did I consider thrones! (now, of course, I wonder why not). Being a New Zealander, I see Pacific Island thrones when I look at this. The background looks like tapa cloth and I am having visions of Tonga.

Terry said...

I love the combination of redwork and the woven background. How surprising that the Hawai'ian thrones are so traditional looking.

Kristin L said...

Terry and Kirsten - you have hit upon two very intentional themes. When i first envisioned this, I was imagining exotic lava rock thrones with lots of foliage, or something like that, but when I saw the actual ones, they looked very European. The only concession to the thrones being Hawaiian was that they are made from native Koa wood. However, this just emphasized the marriage of Hawaiian tradition and European influence that defined both Kalakaua's reign (he was very well traveled) and the colonization of Hawaii (missionaries essentially stripped Hawaii of all things Hawaiian). I liked this duality as I have seen many European thrones, so it was a nice tie-in to add this tropical pair to my personal "library."

The background is indeed meant to look like tapa cloth -- Hawaiians owe much to their Polynesian ancestors and the pounded or woven cloths are very similar between the cultures. I wove strips of fabric in exactly the same manner as leaves from the Hala plant are traditionally woven.

Brenda said...

As another kiwi, I also recognised the Polynesian influence in this quilt and I'm so glad that someone stitched some thrones even if it wasn't the Queen of Quiltland, Helen.

Deborah Boschert said...

Lovely. I really like this spare, yet full of detail, composition. It looks like you've incorporated that zig zag edge as the finish. I love that!