Hana House Update

Oh my, if any of you have built a house, you would understand.  Building from scratch is difficult!  In our case, building a house imported from Bali in a remote place like Hana is downright mind-boggeling!  It’s been a SLOW process… check out my old posts and you’ll see I first posted about this project in June of 2011.  Now, four years later, we not only have come a long way, but there is still so much work to be done.  Just a recap: the house was built in Bali, disassembled and shipped to us in these containers.  Although the permitting process was long and arduous, we finally have both the permits we need and are ready to begin!

A short while ago, Jamey and I took a drive out to Hana to check on the containers and trim down a tree that had gotten a little too tall.  Seriously, this place is a jungle!

The concrete bases sit here patiently waiting to be unloaded onto footings that are soon to be poured.

Seems like everything is wrapped up on tyvec… or some sort of synthetic canvas like material.  Gosh, the attention to detail here is impressive, and it shows how much care the workers put into our exotic project!


On our way back we passed a familiar eucalyptus grove and stopped to enjoy the view

These spectacularly colored trees are called Eucalyptus deglupta, and also known as the Mindanao Gum or the Rainbow Gum tree. The bark peels at different times of the year, and below multi-colored patches of new bark are exposed.  This gives the tree a sort of psychedelic appearance as colors like bright green, blue, orange, purple and maroon swirl and snake their way up the tree.

Their bases are cool and smooth to the touch. New growth sprouts all around, while a canopy of leaves filters the sun as these trees tower above me.

It’s an amazing site and one worth taking in if you ever find yourself on the path to Hana.

august 29, 2015

There is a cartoon by a cartoon illustrator named Robert Leighton that was in a recent issue of the New Yorker that I identify with:

Along those lines, I’ve decided to unearth my complete quilt collection and catalogue my work.  Looking at my living room, I must have over a hundred quilts here… big to little, some still without sleeves or labels.  It’s a huge task but one that needs to be done.  I have in mind to start moving some of this inventory.  These quilts serve nobody tucked on a shelf or covered under a bed.  Back to their spaces they will go when I’m finished with them, but first I want to see what I have, finish or repair the ones that need it and list a bunch of them in my soon-to-be-opened shop.  As I was working on this, I happened to turn my head and this is what I saw:

I’ll admit, it doesn’t get much cuter than that!

pattySeptember 3, 2015 - 2:32 am

Patty from Ohio here. That is a big job. I can’t wait till you shop opens. I treasure the small piece I have of yours. I was looking for something the other day around the house and it hit me again that I have too much stuff! I need to take a cue from you and downsize!

Deb BlaufussSeptember 2, 2015 - 8:30 pm

When and where will your shop be open? It is still my dream to own one of your quilts. Please let me know. Thanks!

Gail BaarAugust 30, 2015 - 1:10 pm

Sounds like a big job! I am looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful quilts.

Teresa Duryea WongAugust 30, 2015 - 1:11 am

Beautiful photo of your puppy on the quilts. And I think your idea to organize and categorize your own collection is a great idea – something I should do as well. Thanks for sharing.

august 27, 2015

I’m entering a new phase in my art career and it feels good!  I’ll be teaching two classes in Honolulu November 7th and 8th, and although I’ve taught before, this is the first time I’ll be teaching to this audience.  As part of the preparation, I need to create samples.  The very act of selecting fabrics, cutting and piecing into some sort of configuration that makes my heart sing is a familiar dance that I’ve done many, many times before.  I feel it’s my time to take what I’ve learned as a studio quilt artist and share that information with others who are wanting to learn.  As we get closer, I’ll be able to not only show you the samples, but I’ll fill you in on the details.  I’m hoping to inspire many, many others with what I do!

PaigeSeptember 2, 2015 - 10:42 am

Can’t wait to see more and hear all about your class. Love the colors!

GayleAugust 28, 2015 - 3:04 pm

Love those colors. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

august 4, 2015

I’ve been working on a few small quilts lately.  It’s not my usual stuff; I’m using straight lines and chain piecing.   I have in mind to make a couple hundred blocks and piece them together into a couple of small baby quilts.

There is something to be said about the humble beginnings of commercial fabric and straight lines.  Going back to my roots, I’m falling in love again.  The simple pleasure of making a utilitarian quilt is a welcome feeling that has been my companion as I’ve pieced away for the past few days.

I’ve also been working on putting together a lecture and workshop!  The details will certainly come later, for now tho, I’d love to hear from you!  What have you been working on this summer?  Send me a link and I’ll share it!

tuesday, june 30th

There is a beautiful poem by Sukhvinder Sircar that spoke to me while I was going through what was easily the darkest spell of my adult life.  I hesitated to share it with you because that whole period was oh so personal, and I needed to traverse that landscape alone.  All that is changing now and I feel myself wanting to share with you words that sustained me.  I see that “look” in some of you, the look of private pain and disappointment.  In my own way I want to tell you that while I respect the path you are on, I want to help.  Maybe you too will find solace in this gentle poem.  Cheers!


Never underestimate a woman who is suffering

who seems to be making risky choices.

She is deep in lesson.

She is visiting the underground,

She is making sense of life in some invisible way.

The fragmentation in her life could be a precursor to a new resurgence.

She could well stun you with some home truths.

LizSeptember 23, 2015 - 7:26 am

Love your work, love your site, love this personal sharing! I’ve been in that deep, dark place too, and this poem captures truth. Thank you!

Elizabeth ElliottJuly 15, 2015 - 10:15 am

I understand this.

DianeJune 30, 2015 - 3:22 pm

Fabulous poem! I’m not there now, but I have been and it speaks the truth.

Tina ZaffiroJune 30, 2015 - 11:07 am

Aloha BLESSINGS….always!!!

The Gloaming Show


I’d thought I’d share with you some pictures from our “Gloaming” show at Etui in New York.  You can read more about the venue here!  I won’t be able to make it to the artist’s reception, but I’m pretty sure Natalya and Vivien will be there!

Hana House Update

Progress is slow on this house of ours, it’s hard to believe it’s been four years since we purchased the property.  Much has happened since then, just not much to show.  The house was built and deconstructed in Bali, packed into shipping containers and two of the four are actually ON the property, one more is due to arrive within weeks.  Recently I took a little drive out there to meet with the surveyors.  Here in Hawaii, when you build, sometimes you have to get a “special” permit because land is often deemed “culturally significant.”  Our land falls within that zone.  Years ago, an archaeological study was done and our property was found to be  part of a much larger settlement which may have included a fishpond or place that fish were harvested.  Rocks seemingly stacked willy-nilly were found to be a continuation of rocks on adjoining property and other property across the street.  Despite the vague clues and haphazard appearance, there is nothing willy-nilly about these formations.  It’s our plan to honor the significance of these structures and preserve this precious land by creating an area which is “off-limits,” at least during the building phase of this project.  Our deed will be amended to show our intent to not build on this portion, hence, the need for surveyors; they were needed to measure the “meets and bounds” of the preservation area.

Some people have listened to my stories about our property with interest, others wonder how we could be so endlessly patient with this process.  What can I say? We’ve chosen to build with non-traditional materials in Hana of all places, just a stones throw from the ocean.  Nothing about this plan was guaranteed to be easy, and truthfully, it’s been a long and difficult road.  To become impatient tho defeats the whole purpose of this project.  We may not have a house to unwind in yet we are being taught the very lesson of “taking it easy”  through developing this land.  What is the point of getting uptight about a house that’s supposed to instill peace?  I look at it this way, good things are worth working for, tenacity and perseverance will pay off and someday it will happen.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

may 26, 2015

a simple view of what my house looks like lately… this little one is one of two pieces which will be sent off to New York soon!

MicheleMay 27, 2015 - 2:35 am

Oh, I love it!

my next project

I’m working on a new project for a show in New York that will start in June. It’s called “The Gloaming” and it refers to that magical span of time between day and night where the last golden rays of the sun transform the landscape into warm and vibrating hues.  I love this time of day; it’s my favorite.  I often say “It’s my favorite time of day!”  Maybe it’s because I was born during this magical moment; maybe at that time, my body senses it’s become exactly one day older.  I believe you could almost feel the earth turn on it’s axis during these moments, making our movement on this spinning orb noticeable.  It’s as if nature is grasping us by the shoulders, shaking us forcefully and compelling us to stop and look around… “Open your eyes!  Take this in!  You are alive in a place rich with beauty and awe!”   The way the golden sun sets fire to the sky and slowly fades and rich hues of violet and periwinkle begin to emerge fills me with gratitude and appreciation.  There is no room in these moments for sadness or anger, instead a certain type of peace is cast here as a gift for being able to enjoy the moment.

With my thoughts on that certain type of peace, I’m steadfastly working on my submissions.  I’m working differently this time, trading in my piecing with raw-edge appliqué.  A move which I had hoped would be liberating for me, offering me to work with more freedom and spontaneity.  I wish I could report that’s been the case. Thus far I’ve encountered “issues” which I hope will become overcome as time goes on.  Today my task is to secure all these pieces down and (hopefully) finish the quilting.  It’s possible.  I think.  I have no choice really but to finish it today.  Wish me luck!


may 14, 2015


I’m feeling very humbled these days in front of my design wall.  I think it takes lots of courage to be an artist.  Sometimes more courage than I can muster… well, most of the time.  I press on tho; I have an almost primal need to bring something new to this world, to make new discoveries along the way and to contribute something good.  On my wall is a pastel by an artist (I cannot remember the name) who seems to have captured that moment when the sun sinks low and bathes everything in gold.  Two opposite colors of purple and yellow blend towards one another in magnificent arrays cascading their influence on the landscape.  If only it were that easy in fiber.  Here, I’m left with color and shape, hard edges and blunt transitions.  Threadwork will help soften those edges… a little.   I have in mind to add in illusions of transparencies and veils.  No sure if I can do it, I’m reaching for what courage I have to make my vision a reality.

judy martinAugust 27, 2015 - 4:39 pm

This is my favourite of your newer pieces. The colours are stunning.

GayleMay 17, 2015 - 4:32 am

I really like the little spark of inserted color. Very eye catching.

Elements #44

My work was accepted into Art Maui 2015!  It’s always an honor and I’m thrilled that I finally get to show this to you!  I made this piece while exploring the shape of a circle.  I started it a very long time ago as I entered into a new period of my life.  I was exploring the fragmentation of the whole, the play of darkness and light and the ripple-effect that is ever present.  Within each person, situation and space there is a blend of somber and joyous which impacts that that surrounds.  Despite our imperfections we are all trying to make the pieces fit the best we know how.  This quilt is a departure of my usual color palate of mostly brights yet it still speaks to my “all color all the time” trait that seems to be present in much of my work.  I see this piece and think that I have not demanded enough of myself.  I lack the focus and stamina that I know I am capable of.  Still I am proud that I have returned to creating,  that it currently hangs in the Schaefer Gallery at the MACC and I hope you get a chance to see it!

Daphne HarwoodJuly 12, 2015 - 4:40 am

Love your new juicy circle work, Robin.
Raw edges are wonderful because they are so immediate.
I love also that they make life so much easier when you are trying to overlap shapes. Piecing overlap is a way more challenging overlap.
I’m prepared to let the viewers’ forgiving eyes forgive the slightly hairy look of raw appliqué.
The Hana house building is so-Maui! My friends Sal & Jobst in Haiku on the maker side built on ag. land. They have many stories to tell about red tape. But they pulled it off.

april 3, 2015

I’m pleased to say my latest quilt was accepted into Art Maui, a local mixed media art show!  now I can finally show you the piece in it’s entirety… but not today.  Sorry, I’m not trying to tease you, I simply had no time to document it in photo.  Truth be told, I stitched my signature while being driven to the venue!  Car-sickness makes me not want to do that again.  The show opens tomorrow and hopefully I’ll be able to snap a picture of it to show you.  If you’re in the area, come join me at the MACC at 2pm!  I would be thrilled to see you!

it’s been a year since i planted roses… one of my better accomplishments.  i’m so grateful that every day i have fresh flowers for my house.

it’s one of the things that makes this place a home.

Cathy BertanzettiApril 3, 2015 - 7:22 pm

Congratulations Robin!

march 27, 2015

stayed up late last night on this one. much more work to be done today. heaven help me.

Kristin LApril 3, 2015 - 5:35 am

Wow, I knew it was big, but I didn’t realize it was that big! Glad you got it done in time!

debbieMarch 27, 2015 - 5:26 pm

This is absolutely beautiful!

Tammy WelshonMarch 27, 2015 - 12:54 pm

Oh, this one is so beautiful. I understand the struggle in the previous post, but wasn’t this just so energizing and motivating once you put it together? I love the contrast between the light and the dark, the tones, the bright and the subdued. I wish I could be there to see it in person.

Also, I imagine that your son loved his quilt, too. I’d love to “hear” about that one, too. It must be hard to have him so far way.

Cheers for you and the adventures you have been on of late.

Jackie KMarch 27, 2015 - 12:15 pm


march 24, 2015

This may come as a surprise to some, I really hate making quilts.  Well, I do and I don’t.  Maybe you’re like this too. You see, I’ve reached a point in making quilts, I’ve made so many of them, that there’s somewhat of an expectation that I turn out good work.  Technically, no problem, but what I’m referring to is the composition… balance, color, contrast, shape, proportion, scale… and so forth.  The “Visual Dance” as Joen Wolfrom would refer to it.  Joseph Albers once said “If you have nothing to say, don’t shout.”  That’s honestly how I feel about my work sometimes.  I look at my design wall and cringe to see that I’m shouting.  This insecurity has the best of me sometimes.  It sucks the fun out of me and in the days leading to work on a big project, I’m cranky and depressed.  I really hate being a quilt maker at this point.  Eventually, I look at the clock and I realize I’m wasting time being in a funk so I move myself into the studio and simply start working.  Head down, ignoring that creep sitting on my shoulder, whispering “another big quilt, what for?”… “what do you expect to do here?”… “people won’t like it.”… on and on it goes.  Its in moments like these I understand why Van Gogh cut off his ear.  So I play music REALLY loud, like Radio Paradise, or Coldplay on Pandora, or lately I’ve been listening to Serial, a podcast that tells a non-fiction story over the course of several weeks.  I’ve become obsessed with it!  Did Adnan do it?  What’s up with Jay?  Why didn’t Asia get to testify?  Anybody with me?  There are charts for people like me, “people obsessed with Serial,” its a thing.  You can google it.           Hmmmm.             What was I saying?

I hate making quilts.  Yeah, I really do.  Well, I do and I don’t.

MarianneMarch 25, 2015 - 8:58 am

I really relate to that “love hate” thing. And yes making “successful” quilts raises the expectations of those around us. I do the same thing…..I turn on the music and start working and somehow I start to loose myself in the work and the magic seems to come back.

Jean S.March 24, 2015 - 10:46 am

I think making quilts is like any other form of artistic expression, a love-hate relationship. We are never totally in love with what we do but can usually find some redemption within a piece. Perhaps instead of worrying that others will see a “weakness” in your art, just enjoy the creative process for it’s own sake. There is joy in handling the fabric and reveling in the color.

march 19, 2015

i have been stepping back more lately, trying to see how things unfold naturally.

so far i cannot complain.

MaryMarch 19, 2015 - 4:24 pm

Wow! Those look fantastic! I really like the colors and the shapes of the circles are interesting. I wouldn’t complain either!