Robin Ferrier – Art Quilts »

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First, I’d like to start with the result of a project I worked on in august; my cheese platter arrived in the mail the other day and it looks fabulous!  You may remember it from my post on “My Little Trip to Cambria.”  Anyway, I’d like to thank Patricia Griffin once again for putting on such a nice class and teaching me the art of Sgraffito and Mishima!  If you ever have a chance to take a class from Patty or learn these techniques, take it!  You will be happy you did!


Last Sunday was the big day here on Maui for printing our Big Ink projects!  I talked about it here and here. It was a huge community event and it lasted for most of the day.  The process started with inking the panels…img_8051

… these panels were laid down face-first onto sheets that were stretched over plywood.img_8058

Carpet padding was laid onto of the pile and a steamroller rolled over it.  When asked, the steamroller operator admitted that he had never done anything like this before!img_8037

Finally, the big reveal!  img_8059

The sheets were lifted and carried back to an area where they were rolled up with sheets of newsprint so as to protect them from smudging.  We were told the drying process would take a couple of days.  I still have yet to pick my piece up but will soon!img_8867

It was a labor-intensive day but oh so worth it!  I feel like I participated in something very special.  It was an added treat that on the next day, this event was featured on the front page of the newspaper!  Yes people, I made the front page!  I’m so happy I made the last-minute decision to take this class and I’m thrilled with my first block print!  I have no idea what I’m going to do with this piece, however I’m fairly sure this will not be my last!  Cheers!

  • robinOctober 13, 2016 - 7:35 pm

    He drove over them and then backed up over them. It was really neat to watch! We were told that we could have used one of those hand-driven lawn rollers but that would not have been as much fun.

  • pattyOctober 13, 2016 - 3:46 am

    That is so freakin’ cool! Did the steamroller have to make more than one pass over the panels?

  • Robin F.October 13, 2016 - 3:03 am

    Your cheese platter is gorgeous. Your panel for the big ink is impressive. The panel by the students is inspiring. What a fun day for all.

It’s been an exhausting week, however I’m happy to say I’m finally finished!  My FIRST block for block printing!  Looking at it here there are a couple of tweaks I’d like to make, but sometimes you just simply have to stop.  It’s early in the morning now and I can’t sleep.  Later today we will print these blocks with a steamroller!  It’s a community event!  There are blocks from schools as well as other artists to print.  It all happens from 10:00 to 2:00 at the Hui No’eau Visual arts center.  It’s been such a wonderful experience making this block along side other artists.  Come join us and see the magic unfold for yourself!  Cheers!

I’m taking a class at the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center here on Maui called “Big Ink” with visiting artist James Bailey.  We are carving on 4′ x 8′ panels of MDF and on Saturday we will take those boards and print them on fabric using a steamroller!  The entire community is invited to share in the festivities!  Presently, I’m about 1/3 finished with my carving… I have today and Friday to finish!  I’m thrilled that I’m taking this class and stay tuned for the results!

The first two pictures were taken in a demo he did on block printing.  We each were invited to bring in a tee-shirt to print his cool image on!


Things are buzzing along in Hana!  The roof is nearly finished. If you zoom in you can see the end-caps that our roofer made specifically for this project.  I think it looks much nicer than some of the other examples of end-caps I’ve seen.  At the apexes, he cut tile and fit them together, much like a patchwork quilter would when making a “Lone Star” quilt.  We are still waiting for the glass tiles to arrive from Bali.  Those will be inserted just over our skylights.  As with the kitchen and bathroom vanities, they sit in the factory in Bali waiting to get wrapped and loaded into a shipping container.  What we have left there is not enough for one whole container, so our stuff is being packed with another structure that will be coming to Maui.  It’s always something.  Patience has become my middle name these past few years.IMG_7764If you’re wondering what glass tiles look like, here’s a shot of another roof with a glass tile skylight.  These tiles are loosely slipped onto the roof.  There are no nails, but they do use a type of glue to hold them in place.  Underneath and inside, there will be an etched glass panel lining the ceiling.  Inserting a skylight this way will allow sunlight to filter in while maintaining the patterning on the roof.  As long as those tiles stay intact, we’re good.IMG_0305The stairs on the screened lanai on the back are being installed.  This plank is our only way in for now.  I for one will be happy to see stairs as I don’t really care for the plank.  As you can see, concrete has been poured where the footings are installed.  The landing in the lower left-hand portion of the picture was texturized with rock salt to give it an organic “lava-rock” texture. IMG_7763  All the exposed concrete will be stained the color of red-dirt, another nod to the island upon which the house sits.IMG_7671The footings and porch for the second bedroom have been installed.  It looks wonderful, but what I see in this picture is the need for more wire rail to be installed in order to bring it up to code.  That gap in the front top edge was originally meant for a stairway, but we decided to get rid of the stairways on the two end rooms because the factory did not send us enough wood to complete the job.  Not only that, I think it simply looks better without them.  It’s an added bonus that we are saving on cost as well.  Pay attention to that gap, I’ll refer to it later.
IMG_7764Meanwhile inside, the flooring is getting a little attention.  All the gaps are filled in with tinted caulking.  After it dries, the floor will get a light sanding and a few coats of finish.  It’s a big job and attention to detail is key.  Small gaps in the floor can become an issue down the line if not tended to properly.IMG_7766You may have heard Hawaii is experiencing heavy weather this week.  Hurricane Madeline was no more than a mild wind and rain storm (for us, that is), but Hurricane Lester will be more of a threat.  Hana sits on the eastern end of Maui, it’s that little point on the right on the island next to the Big Island.  It’s first on Maui on the path of this storm.Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 2.31.19 PMOur workers have done well to board up the place in anticipation of the storm.  I’ll write more about coconut wood later, but for now just know its similar to concrete in strength. This structure was designed with this climate in mind.  It’s high off the ground, it’s heavy and it’s incredibly solid.  Needless to say,  I am concerned about those windows and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.  IMG_7776The house is well away from large trees which could pose a threat, but you never know.  Those glass panes would be difficult to repair.  Unlike western-styled windows, this glass is cut and beveled between ornate panes of wood.  You can sort of see it in this picture:

IMG_0217The look is charming but I’m ever so mindful of how much of a headache it would be if the glass breaks.  At least it’s thick tempered glass.  As for the rail in front, our builders did a fantastic job closing the gap!  I’m so thankful he’s good with modifications like this.  We all have our gifts don’t we?  I have nothing but respect for people who are considered craftsmen.  If I didn’t tell you, you’d never know this was an after-the-factory modification!IMG_7777I know many of you on the mainland are dealing with weather of your own.   I’m hoping mother nature is kind and we are all kept safe this hurricane season.  Tucked safely inside, I’m hoping you spend your time relaxing and reconnecting.  I know I will.  Cheers!

  • Vivien Zepf`October 1, 2016 - 4:59 pm

    This is just incredible! You are building a marvelous sanctuary.

  • jennySeptember 9, 2016 - 7:03 am

    ive really enjoyed these progress pictures. this place is going to be heaven on earth!

Just in time for the holidays!  I’ll be teaching a two-day class on November 12th and 13th!  It called “Improv Strips” and you may remember I taught it last year on Oahu.  Here are some of the quilts I’ve made in this theme:IMG_4305


Lately, I’ve been working on a new sample for that class, in the background you can see two other tops I made as demos last year.  I really like this class and this style of quilts, they are bright, cheerful, layered and interesting.  I’ve not seen anybody else working in this fashion which makes me curious about what I’m trying to do here.  I remember when I started dreaming about these types of quilts; it was during the time I worked on an instillation by Patrick Dougherty.  I remember thinking it was so cool how the repetition of adding sticks could someday lead to great creations!  Working with him was a lesson on working hard as an artist… day in and day out… leading volunteers to help him.  That really was a great experience which speaks to the benefit of dabbling in other mediums.  If you would like to take the class, please contact The Maui Quilt Guild, or email me and I’ll put you in touch with the person organizing it. IMG_0464IMG_0466

Finally, I just have to show you a shot of our littlest visitor, isn’t it cute?!  I’m not really sure of the gender or just how long we will keep it, but this little thing was sitting in the middle of the street the other day and I couldn’t help myself but pick it up.  There is nothing about me that wants another pet so someday I’m sure I’ll find a nice home for here… goodness knows there are a lot of gentleman farms here who would love a nice egg-layer… that is, IF it’s a girl.  For now though, she’s a little chirping, annoying, hungry little creature that has us all smitten!  IMG_0487

I took a few days off this week to travel to California to take a class with this lady; Patricia Griffin an artist living in Cambria.  It came at a perfect time for me; I feel like it’s been mostly work, work, work, with the Hana house, the Hospital and readying the kids for their exchange programs.  I really wanted to do something special by seeing something new and surrounding myself with other creatives. It was also nice to insert a little pause in that space between having the kids here and ready to go, and having them leave our nest.  I needed to take a breath.

The first day I was there, I took a drive to Monterey and visited the Aquarium there.  My favorite was the jelly fish exhibit… I have a special thing for deep blues and orange.  Mesmerized, I could have stood there all day.

IMG_0356Outside, a layer of fog hung low and I enjoyed watching various sea life not common to Maui.  I soaked in the neutral-colored landscape, and enjoyed the cool air.  Just look at those tans, browns and greys!IMG_0371

Meeting Patty was like meeting a kindred spirit.  She was so warm and welcoming!  I was taken by her cheerful charm and willingness to teach.IMG_0386

The class was taught in a one-room school house, converted into an artist’s studio.  There were artifacts of the old school room scattered about like an old-fashioned pencil sharpener and a tiny desk.  The room was well lit and there was plenty of space for all of us.  As far as I could see, we each enjoyed working on our projects while listening to greats like Carol King and James Taylor.  Who doesn’t like James Taylor?IMG_0399

Patty’s art was scattered around, some of it for sale, some of it put to use.  I have my special hopes for a mug which she plans to make a batch of soon.  It’s very difficult to get a hold of one of her mugs…  one has to be very lucky!  The way to do it is get on her mailing list and watch for her announcement that she will be launching a sale.  The last time she did that, she sold out within minutes!  Maybe I shouldn’t be telling you this!  If you are interested in seeing more of her work, check out her instagram page or even better, check her out on pinterest!  IMG_0391

I made several pieces, but my “big” one was this cheese-platter made to commemorate my special day hauling in the akule fish with the people of Hana.  You can read more about it here.  All in all, I found Patty’s class to be very well structured, very easy for both the beginner and expert, non-intimidating and Patty herself was extremely giving and available.  She really enjoys what she does!  By the way, she just emailed us and told us she has a last-minute cancellation for her August 27th and 28th class.  If you are at all curious I’d say sign up!  Her next round of classes isn’t until April of next year and I’m sure she will certainly be sold out way before the class!  For more information, go here.

During my trip I was fortunate enough to take long walks along the California coast.  It’s amazing.  There is a part of me that knows I’ll always live near the ocean.  I love to just look out and stare.IMG_0432

Because of fire, the highway that serves Big Sur was initially closed, but on my return north I was pleased to find in had been opened.  It was simply spectacular!
IMG_0449One of the books I read while on my trip was “Letters to a Young Artist.” If I could say anything to a young artist, I’d tell her to get away at least once a year.  Find a way to do it.  The clarity of mind I have now, the peacefulness of hitting the “reset” button, the happiness I have to have made a new friend and explore a new medium have all been worth the sacrifice of cost and time spent.  There will certainly be a little crossbreeding with regards to taking what I’ve learned back to the studio, and who knows, maybe there will be even more work with clay!

  • Patricia GriffinAugust 19, 2016 - 9:26 pm

    How fun to read this post about your visit! The photos are spectacular. Wow! Looking forward to following your art adventures.

There are days we go to Hana and it seems as if not much has changed, on other days improvements are noticeable.  Like today for instance; the roofing instillation is well under way.  Stacks of tiles which were once in crates on the lawn have been broken down and piles of tiles are scattered on the roof.  Along the edges of the roof and valleys between roof lines, copper flashing has been installed, accenting beautifully the rows of terra-cotta colored tiles laid in place.


Our job today was not to climb on the roof, we chose instead to do something a little more our speed, we started the installation of wire on the railings.  I’ve always loved the look of wire rails with wood.  It’s that blend of industrial and natural that grabs me.  The company we chose is called Atlantis, and the product line is called RailEasy. On the website last night we jotted down a simple list of tools we needed and watched a couple of how-to videos.  We were lucky enough to find a local supplier so we swung by there before heading to Hana.  The process is simple; measure and mark holes, screw in the anchors, insert wire and tighten up.  Easy peasy!  Right?


Well… it took a little while but we figured it out.  Just as we started to get the hang of it, a man drove by and shouted “Akule!” from his window.  The roofers laughed but kept on working.  When asked what that meant, one of them encouraged me to go to the hale (house in Hawaiian) near the hotel and help the people remove fish from their net.

When we got there, people were gathering. The boat arrived and didn’t look like much at first, but when the process started I was impressed.

IMG_0310One by one, people lined up in two lines and netting was slowly pulled from the boat, fish tangled in it’s web.  Very quickly we found ourselves a part of this modern day “Hukilau” or fish harvest, pulling net and stopping from time-to-time to pry them free.  I was pleased and honored to be included in such a way. The old-timers were happy to show me how to remove the fish without damaging the net, and the kids were excited to take the fish from me once released.   After a while many more people showed up and thousands of feet of net were pulled from the boat.  On the other side of the field, two men carefully stowed the net on a wooden rack, folding it nicely for future use.  Today’s catch was Akule, or Bigeye Scad, and we were told it could be fried or seamed garnished slightly with shoyu.  If we wanted, we could take it to the hotel restaurant and they would prepare it for us for dinner!  IMG_0315IMG_0318IMG_0319IMG_0313IMG_0321IMG_0325After all the fish had been gathered, we stood around in one big circle, held hands and gave thanks.  Each person was treated to three fish. Today, I was told was a modest day of fishing.  The cooler used to store them in was only half full this time.  Some days are like that I’m told.IMG_0334Later at home, we had only enough time to finish one side of the rail.  This too was a modest day, we’ve got eight more rails to go.  Yes indeed, some days are just like that.

Last I left you, the polycarbonate was being installed on the back lanai (patio).  As you can see here, it’s in and we are still waiting to install the screened panels that make the walls.  This space now is protected from rain and falling debris, but it’s become abundantly clear to me that this little room will be a hot-box on non-windy days.  The roof may look cool in a hip and snazzy way, but the plastic serves as a sort of magnifying glass in the hot hawaiian sun.  The reason why we chose this clear polycarbonate as opposed to a smoky one or even an opaque variety, was to allow ambient light to filter into the more central portion of the structure, given that the main building is relatively dark inside.  We also thought it would be a nice place to gather on cool evenings; that’s pure jungle you see there and it’s in this space that one can sit and enjoy the cool evening without being harassed by mosquito or other flying insects.   The thought of looking up at night and vaguely making out the shapes of moonlit clouds is something we’ve talked about, and something I’d like to preserve.  I’d hate to say we made a mistake by choosing the clear polycarbonate, but surely something needs to be done about shading this area on hot windless days. IMG_0264

  • robinAugust 6, 2016 - 10:05 am

    Great idea! I had originally only thought of a retractable cloth like canvas or some sort of all-weather material, but it seemed to me like there were a lot of moving parts, extra hardware, complicated instillation and multiple decisions to be made with this route. I really like the UV coating idea and it would be easy to install. I’ll look into it. Thanks!

  • ElizabethAugust 4, 2016 - 9:54 am

    You can buy different grades of shade cloth at commercial greenhouse supply places.
    Toss the cloth on top when u need to shade the hot sun. I’ve seen this work at outdoor cafés.

    Or you can drape beautiful clothes underneath the polycarbonate for a different affect.

  • Robin KAugust 2, 2016 - 8:10 am

    I would make some sort of retractable cover using shade cloth (like they use for grow houses for plants) for inside, or, could you get some sort of uv coating like they put on a car windshield? I did this for the windows in my office and it made it so much cooler in the room without impacting my view out the window. The tint wasn’t nearly as dark as the ones you see on cars. I did it myself also! Just bought the materials from the local hardware store.

  • Pippa @ Beads and BarnaclesAugust 2, 2016 - 2:00 am

    This looks lovely I can totally see why you went with clear, but understand the drawbacks.
    Would you be able to fit something like rollerblinds which came down the angle of the roof so you could pull them shut when it was a hot day and roll them back when you wanted it to be plain roof again?

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this space, since I’ve even dreamed of creating something new, since I’ve had the energy or enthusiasm to dig within myself to transform an idea into something tangible.  I had become so involved with the Hana house, with the kids, with my own house… job… family… the weather… that I put creating aside and stopped thinking of making quilts entirely.  At work, my co-workers are in a way “creating” too, and the part of me that loves babies, keepsakes and that sweet time in life when children are young, compelled me to whip up these cheerful gems highlighting my current faves, tangerine orange and cobalt blue.  They are certainly not fancy in any way, not original, totally not my “art” but this type of work makes me happy and it quiets my mind.  IMG_0258

I leave you with studio shots of another quilt in progress.  Its another in my “Improv Baby Quilts” series, this one intended for a baby already born.  I have in mind the basic elements; it’s just that added something that I’m lacking.  I’ll come up with something… I always do.IMG_0242IMG_0247

I spent the night the other night at our house-in-progress in Hana.  It was simply divine; the room I slept on a foam mattress in our someday-livingroom.  I could hear the ocean pulsing on the shore, rain spattering outside and inside the temperature was cool enough that a simple sheet was all that was needed.

IMG_0227I delivered materials shipped from Kauai.  It was an oversight that this stuff got delivered to the wrong island and I was thankful it fit in the truck.  Pictured here is polycarbonate and soon it will be installed as roofing material over our screened lanai… or “porch” in Hawaiian.
IMG_7280You can see this lanai through these sliding doors.  Work is being done now to mosquito proof this area and we are all scratching our heads as far as the flooring is concerned.  Between those slats are spaces wide enough for creatures to get in.  I don’t mind the geckos but they are messy.  I haven’t seen ants or roaches (yet), and I really dislike mosquitos.  I’m sure someday we will come up with a workable solution. IMG_0217We recently had a little yard work done on the property.  The place looks like a mess now that the lawn is littered with logs and stumps.  Overtime however this too will have to be cleaned up. For now, at least we have a nice place to sit. IMG_0230I noticed the back side of the house is prone to mold.  There is a part of me that wants to avoid chemicals like bleach, but it might be that we will have to go there.  The house is still not secured to the footings and neither the footings to the cement below.  There are 53 footings and each one of them will need to be dealt with.  First the house gets jacked up ever so slightly, then the cement is marked after the footings are positioned well, holes are then drilled into the cement where the anchoring screws are to be placed, then the footings are repositioned, screwed down and secured to the post! Voila!  Easy peasy… right?!IMG_0231Construction clean-up has begun.  It’s a pitty to see all this wrapping material get tossed, but really, what else can be done with it?  The dump in Hana does not accept this type of refuse, so all this gets loaded on trucks headed for Kahului.  Modest attempts at burning and recycling are made when we can.  Anybody want to buy a container in Hana?
IMG_7271Many people have stopped by during the building process and commented on the progress.  It makes me feel good too to see how this is coming along, but at the same time I see all that needs to come.  This week the stairs are getting installed and the final walls are going up.  We are still weighing our options with regards to the roof.  I’m liking that we are able to take a little bit of a breather between phases so I can at least focus on something else for a while.  I’m reminded everyday how this is hurricane season, so really, we have no business slowing down now; better to get that roof on and locked down!  Maybe then I can shift my attention.

  • Kay SorensenJuly 13, 2016 - 11:46 am

    Wonder if you could put landscape cloth (li,e we use I dyer our mulch) under the floor boards on the lanai to keep out the mosquitos?

  • robinJuly 10, 2016 - 9:45 am

    OK, I’m game. Do you know of an essential oil that kills green moss/mold? I happen to have Eucalyptus oil… I’ll google it now! Thanks!

  • Eva Maria GassJuly 10, 2016 - 9:37 am

    Hi Robin, have you ever thought of turning that container into something beautiful like a studio, guestroom etc.? There are many beautiful examples for container houses on pinterest!

  • Paige AlexanderJuly 5, 2016 - 2:12 am

    Getting closer! Enjoying the progress!

  • LoriJuly 5, 2016 - 2:06 am

    Just beautiful! Why don’t you look into essential oils instead of bleach? We had a pipe burst in our home and the clean up company used Oil of Thyme instead of bleach or the other fungicides. It is healthier for you and the environment along with being very effective.

  • Cathy BertanzettiJuly 4, 2016 - 6:23 pm

    Simply beautiful.

On my coffee table these days are three books; “The Architect Says” compiled by Laura S. Dushkes, “Cloth Lullaby” by Amy Novesky and Isabelle Arsenault, and “‘Olelo No’eau” compiled by Mary Kawena Pukui.  These books, although vastly different in scope and structure, have their ways of speaking to me today.



I’m thinking about our visit to Hana earlier this week.  The structure is nearly built, the containers unloaded, and crates of roofing tiles dot our front yard.  It certainly has been a long and trying endeavor to build this house.  There were times along the way that we both felt overwhelmed and clueless.  Persistence and grit helped us find our way, uncertainty and belly-aching did not.  The end is in sight, or at least the place where we can pause is finally within reach.  Lately, I’m finding it easier to breathe. From the Architecture book, I’m inspired by the words of Tom Kundig when he said, “People who build their own home tend to be very courageous.  These people are curious about life. They’re thinking about what it means to live in a house, rather than just buying a commodity and making it work.”  From the “Cloth Lullaby” there is a passage which reads, “If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad.  She weaves and repairs it.” And finally, from the Hawaiian proverb book, I read, “Ua hall ka ho’oilo, ua malie,” or “Trouble is gone; peace now abides.”  So go these early days of summer. IMG_0186


  • VivienZepfJune 26, 2016 - 5:39 am

    The Hana House is looking great; what a peaceful retreat it be.

I’m thrilled to tell you that some of my students are now exhibiting Quilts they made in the current show at the Honolulu Museum of Art!  You may recall, last November I traveled to Oahu to teach two classes, “A Fine Line” and “Free the Block.”  I was pleased to see that not only did some of my students really take to this type of creating, but they even finished their pieces, binding and all!  I am ooh so proud!  If you are in the neighborhood, please stop by and view these beauties!  Cheers!


  • PennyMay 20, 2016 - 1:56 pm

    Wonderful quilts, Robs you certainly should be pleased! Hana house up date was, As well informative! Glad janey could pass on some good info.

Progress is being made almost weekly these days with regards to the project.  Our latest discussion involves the possibilities for electricity.  Do we go solar? Do we try to connect with the grid?  Each choice comes with a different set of problems, both equally complex and time consuming.  If we go the solar route, we can really only count on 4 hours of sunlight a day given the weather patterns, location and amount of jungle in this area.  This would obligate us to have a dependable battery or batteries to store unused power.  Tree trimming will be a must as well as having a generator backup if/when we encounter consecutive days of poor weather.  If we go solar, we might as well install a solar water heater, although, it’s my guess that might be overkill given that here in Hana one uses only tepid water to shower with since it’s so hot already.  Solar electricity would include the addition of propane for cooking and the dryer, which would involve a propane tank, a separate shed for the tank and some sort of maintenance plan to not only survey and troubleshoot the system when we are not out there, but also to refill the tank when it runs dry.  Since we don’t plan on living there full-time (for now), ease of maintenance is big on my list of priorities.

Connecting to the grid poses a different set of problems.  I spoke with the Maui Electric guy and he said we needed to put in a pole, if not two (the electricity out here is all above-ground), which would involve obtaining the necessary drawings, easement(s) and permit(s)… we need to find out if the road we are on belongs to the homeowners or if it’s a county road… I’m pretty sure it’s county, but not entirely sure… we need to decide if we want to run the wire from our new pole over or underground, and finally, we need to submit our plans, permits, drawings, necessary contracts to Maui Electric for review, which in all honesty only starts the conversation.  Frustrated, I asked him where to begin.  He advised we get a consultant but was unable to tell me how to get one. This unveiled a whole different set of questions.  How do I do that?  Search on Google for “maui, electricity, consultant?”  Craigslist?  How will I know if I’ve found one?  Will they have a special badge that says “I’m a consultant?”  Honestly, I could write a book on how mired in bureaucracy and complexity things are when it comes to building a house in Hawaii, which I’m sure is pretty similar in other parts of the U.S., maybe even the world all over for that matter.   The good news with regards to the electricity is that for the time being we are surviving with a simple generator.


In the fixture department, we’ve decided to go with this fan.  It’s called “Haiku” by Big Ass Fans. Yes, that’s their name.  What I like about it is how simple and sleek they look.  The blades are made of either coco or bamboo, depending on the color you want.  A bonus is that they are really efficient.


I found this fan and other fixtures at Valley Isle Lighting.  The guy I’m working with is the owner and he seems to really know his stuff. Of course he does, he owns the place.  In a process mired with a million decisions, he was able to not only understand what I was looking for, but also narrow down the option list for me so that my decision was easy.  Sometimes having a lot of choices is not a good thing.  If you are in the area, his name is Erik.

IMG_6819We visited Hana last weekend and were able to make a modest impact on the process.  We moved supplies to safer, less exposed places, cleaned up what little bit of construction mess there was, and started the process of lightly sanding and painting all exposed bolt ends on the base of the building.  Of course, being so close the ocean we have already taken a few precautions when it comes to rust like stainless steel hardware and obtaining end caps for these holes, however we figured it wouldn’t hurt for us to visually inspect each bolt and hit them with a shot of paint that protects the metal from rust.

IMG_6869IMG_6870It was nice to see our builder Levi, and spend a brief time with him by the campfire in the evening.  It’s clear that working in this remote area involves a change in lifestyle for him and his crew, like living in tents and cooking over an open fire, but so far they have all been gracious when discussing the sacrifices they have made.  Something tells me Hana has been a good thing for them.  At least I hope.  We are lucky to have them. IMG_6881The weekend we arrived, the community of Hana was hosting a “taro” festival.  I’ve blogged about it before; it’s an annual event in Hana, a largely Hawaiian community, that celebrates taro, the staple food of Hawaii.  This year, we missed the singing, dancing and food, but were delighted to find on Sunday the community hosted a special breakfast which featured taro pancakes and taro hash.  It was all delicious!  At the bay, people were organizing for the Olukai Ho’olaulea challenge or in other words a race of sailing canoes from Hana to Kahului.  What’s a sailing canoe, you ask?  Picture this; if an out-rigger canoe and a sailboat and a baby, this would be it.  It was such a treat to watch these colorful canoes paddling out the bay, sails waving in the breeze.


Finally, from the factory today is a picture of the kitchen as it stands.  On the island in front is a wood slab.  We asked them to make it “not perfect” and if you look, you will notice that smooth organic edge on the left has a slight curve to it.  The countertops will (hopefully) be changed to black and that sink will also be switched out as well.  The whole kit should be delivered sometime in June.HTP-1

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all these details.  It helps that I’m reasonably organized and I keep notes, papers and emails in their proper places, yet there are times when my mind feels like it’s going to explode from information overload.  Sometimes I grow weary of the process and want to quit.  I’ve learned that’s not an option, because leaving the project would be a disaster and I’m the only one who has the time, knowledge and energy to see it to completion.  Over the years, I’ve had dark moments with regards to finishing things that I’ve started and in the end I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way out is through tenacity.  I’m inspired by my children who continue to do well in school despite sometimes daily complaints that school is a drag.  I’m inspired by Jamey who for years continues to work hard in providing for us despite being faced with the frustrations of the work world. Finally, I’m inspired by the words of Calvin Coolidge when he said amongst other things, “The slogan “press on” has solved, and always will solve the problems of the human race.”  I have no choice but to press on.  This house  simply must be seen to fruition.  When it’s all over, I can relax.  When it’s all over we will at least have something to show for our troubles.

  • Janey HerreraMay 9, 2016 - 10:23 am

    Robin, check with the Custom Service Department or the Engineering Department at Maui Electric about your consultant concerns.
    We bought a Big Ass Fan- even here in Washington it gets hot enough to use it. We love ours!

I took a drive to Hana today.  There used to be a time when driving to and from Hana was a big deal, but these days I’ve grown used to it.   The structure is about halfway finished, it still has walls that need to be put up and two rooms that need to be added on, but oh, it looks amazing!  Whenever I get down about how long this process has been, how much mental and physical energy has been poured into it, how expensive it’s become and how much farther we have to go, all I have to do is come here and I’m cured.  There is a beauty and peace to this place that transcend everyday worries.IMG_0094

Someday, I imagine myself simply lying on the couch and staring at the ceiling.  The level of craftsmanship here is incredible, something woefully lacking in western made structures.


Here in Hana, workers leave small tools and hardware out with little concern for theft or vandalism.  Mind you, the neighbors have our backs, and are not shy about asking when they see someone new visit the place, however this is a safe community and I’m reasonably assured these small things are safe.   It makes me feel better to know that we will be spending our coming years in a sweet community such as this.


I met with the electrical contractor today.  It seems that providing electricity for this place is going to be yet another hurdle we will have to overcome.  Do we install solar and gas so we can stay off the grid, or do we have the county install a pole or two so that we can get connected?  And if we install solar, how do we do that on a tile roof?  And if we need poles, how many and how much will it cost?  I can already tell I’m about to begin an entirely new learning curve as I know absolutely nothing about how this all works.

On a simpler note, my guy and I discussed the placement of the lights.  Turns out on the plans, they wrote words which we don’t use here in America to describe the type of lighting they had in mind.  When asked what a hollow light was, I hadn’t a clue.  Thankfully, I have something to refer to; there are photos I have that will do a lot to help us.

IMG_0081This structure, built on the other side of the island, was the house we basically copied.  The main room is identical; the difference lies in the extra rooms we added on.  On the ledge that surrounds the interior, the owners installed lights that shine on the bamboo mat of the ceiling.  There are also lights on the ceiling fans and lights tucked in each corner.  My thought is to contact the owner and ask if I can visit his house in the evening so that I can see how well his lighting layout works for him.  I’m encouraged to know that hopefully I’ll be able to answer some of these questions with regards to electricity. IMG_1883IMG_1886IMG_1887

There is a screened porch or lanai (pronounced here), off to the back of the great room.  This room will border on being inside and outside as the screened walls will hopefully be enough to keep the mosquitos out, yet the wind will still pass through here freely.  I’ve always been a fan of string lighting and wonder if we could simply hang string lights instead of installing flood lights or sconces.  It certainly would cut costs and make things a little simpler, and the light cast from string lights are fitting for a breezy beach house.  What I have in mind is lovely.  I’ll ask my guy. IMG_0088


  • PaigeMay 6, 2016 - 4:42 pm

    Enjoy seeing these progress pics!