Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in Sacred and Ceremonial Textiles: Proceedings of the Fifth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Chicago, Illinois, 1996. (Minneapolis, 1997).


Copyright 1996 by the author


When asked to design entrance gates for the MACC in Hawaii, I drew on images of nets, from fishing nets used around the world to the specific background structure of ceremonial Hawaiian feather capes. As an artist, I'm intrigued with more than the utilitarian function of nets. I'm drawn to how nets filter light, air, visual ideas; I'm interested in the shadows created.

I have explored specific Hawaiian beliefs and cultural practices related to netting. My understanding of nets in the Hawaiian context has grown out of "talking story" with Hawaiian cultural specialists.

I learned of meanings and associations related to suspended nets, "nets in the sky", of a visual connection with the Pleiades or "Makali'i". The arrangement of stars in the Pleiades are like knotted corners of a netted unit. When that constellation, the Pleiades, arrives on the horizon, the rainy season begins. (Oct.-Jan.) It is believed that the "maka" or eyes (the openings) of the net in the sky need to be large enough to invite the rain and other "good things" to come through in abundance. This, the "makahiki" season is a time of celebration and of rest and renewal, a time of dispersing food- -a time of that which sustains. It's a time for appreciating the abundance of the season, a time for receiving, a time for mending, a time of mending and patching nets.