Our handbag prints and patterns are inspired by the ancient Hawaiian bark cloth (kapa) and the beautiful designs that were stamped onto these cloths. Traditionally, each intricate design was carved onto a bamboo stamp (ohe kapala) and printed onto kapa. In honor of the traditional way in which ohe kapala was made, we sketch and hand carve each ohe kapala. We may use only one design or mix different ones to create the patterns that we use. We then screen print each pattern by hand onto our canvas fabrics.
In addition to getting our inspiration from the traditional ohe kapala designs, we are also inspired to carve our own nature inspired designs into the mix, blending of the old and new. Every handbag is thoughtfully made here on Maui, using cotton canvas and sometimes mixed with other materials such as leather. We strive to use natural and sustainable material whenever possible while being environmentally conscious for our land (ʻāina).
About the artist
Nicci resides and works out of her studio in South Maui, in the small town of Kihei. She has been calling Maui her home and has raised her daughter here for 21 years. She moved from Laos and Thailand to the United States when she was young and attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising after graduating high school in California. Her love for designing and sewing goes back to her younger days as she watched her dad design and create handbags.
Her dad was a handbag designer and maker, this would make her a 2nd generation handbag maker in her family. She remembers him designing and making ladies handbags using and mixing traditional Thai fabrics with various other materials. "This is something I have always remembered and wanted to do for a very long time, and now I am finally getting to do it. I grew up sewing with my dad and studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, but as life happened, I have been busy with other career and life choices but I am now so happy to be getting back to designing and creating."
Nicci had a chance to visit the Bishop Museum's Hulia 'Ano Display late 2017. There, she completely fell in love with the ancient Hawaiian kapa that were displayed there. "One just has to appreciate the time and efforts that it took to make those kapa and to carve each design and hand stamp each one, and how beautiful they are. I have been in search for inspiration for fabric design for a very long time, and I finally found it that day I visited the museum. In honor of the beautiful ohe kapala stamped kapa from the old Hawaiian days, I try to infuse as much of the traditional ohe kapala designs onto my fabric and try to incorporate as much as possible the traditional methods of carving the ohe kapala designs and kapa making. I hope that in doing so, it helps to contribute in some small way, in keeping the art of kapa making around for times to come."