Firewoman

 

Perhaps it’s appropriate that I am posting the story of this amazing fire artist on Fourth of July weekend! The fireworks in her studio, however, definitely are more productive than those in the sky.

 

Carmen Wagner is a dear friend and first-class artist as a glass sculptor. Words are inadequate for her glass sculptures and jewelry.

 

I had a hard time deciding between this dragon and the dolphin for the opening photo.

 

When Carmen was introduced to Howard Richie at the Crystal Gallery at age sixteen, she was hooked. She soon started an apprenticeship with him. “I was only paid when I made something good enough to sell,” she says.

After she inherited all Richie’s old equipment, she re-machined torches and fixed broken tools. That was the start of her workbench setup. She still uses most of her original tools.

Isn’t this arrangement of coral and fish exquisite?

 

She has always loved to create things, and says that when she found glass work, she knew there were few people with that skill.

 

Carmen surprised me at the school one day with a beautiful pair of red seahorse earrings. All of these earrings are stunning!

 

Her father was a Filipino immigrant and her mother was born in Ka’u. Her parents had a farm in Honaunau, but they moved to Oahu before Carmen was born. When she was three, they moved back to the Honaunau farm.

 

It was difficult for her to learn a trade that was dominated by men, but she was a determined young woman.

 

Her work can be found in collections world-wide. A set of ornaments were hand delivered by Neil Abercrumbie to President Obama for Christmas last year.

 

I took a shot of a photo of one glass sculpture that hangs on Carmen’s studio wall.

 

During the few minutes that we talked, Carmen started a new project. The term for what she does is “lamp working.” She uses bottled oxygen and propane with a pre-mix torch.

 

At the end of my visit, she showed me her newly created jelly fish.

 

Here is another view.

 

And finally, here is beautiful Carmen. Please check out her website for more of her art.

 

If you are looking for her work on the Big Island, check the Showcase Gallery (Kainaliu), Elements Gallery (Waimea), Gallery of Great Things (Waimea) and Dovetail Gallery (Kona). She is working on accounts for Maui and Oahu. Perhaps you will treat yourself to a sculpture for your home, a pair of earrings for yourself or a friend, or order something special to commemorate your visit to Hawai`i.

Click here to view a slide show of Carmen at work and more of her fragile pieces.

A hui hou!

Aloha!
Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Queen’s Bath

 

The idea of an outdoor shower is one of those notions that stays in my mind. Maybe someday I’ll finally get to put one in my own home. I’ve known people who included one in their home plans.

The Hawai`ian queens, however, took that notion one step beyond my own fantasies. Can you imagine being able to walk out your back door, down a steep incline and take your bath in a warm tropical pool? No doubt they had a few servants to scrub their backs or to help them dry off.

The photo of Queen’s Bath above is one I took on a trip to Kauai a couple years ago of such a place. For a look at the hike we made down to the pool, check out this YouTube done by someone who lives on Kauai.

A hui hou!

Palamanui Campus

 

Yesterday’s post told about our recent graduation ceremony for our West Campus of the Hawaii Community College. When I first moved here, I was told about the land the college owned mauka (mountain side or inland) of Kona Airport, and that “someday” we would have a new campus built there.

Then about two years ago, several of us on the faculty were taken on a trip to the property. In four wheel drive vehicles, we went all the way up and back down, then were shown a map of what could be built. Because it was raining fairly hard, we weren’t able to get out much, but it is going to be a beautiful, natural site for learning and teaching.

 

I think that plan has been altered a bit, but the last I heard, we will be teaching in the new campus by fall semester, 2012! The sign has been put up (see the photo above), and soon a road will be built. To keep up with the progress, check out Palamanui.

The beauty can only be appreciated by watching a slide show here. As you watch the photos of that trip, try to envision a beautiful campus filled with eager students.

A hui hou!

West Hawaii Graduation

 

This is the largest graduating class I’ve seen since I started teaching at the West Campus of the Hawai`i Community College. When the economy is down, and people are losing jobs, or wanting to improve their chances of being hired, the return to college is inevitable. All the classes seem to be flooded with new students. What a joy it is to be their instructor!

The lineup above shows all the dignitaries in full regalia, waiting for the graduates to come down the aisle. Here is a behind the scenes look at a few of them getting ready.

 

Leis are all laid out in preparation. The purple ones on the left were given to each graduate as they walked off the stage in addition to a purple orchid lei. The other leis spread out on the table were given to the school officials and speakers.

 

I got there early enough to watch the rehearsal.

 

Everyone was robed at last and ready for the ceremonies to begin. So many of my own students were either graduating or helping out in some way.

 

For many of these students, they were the first ones in their family to go to college. It was a struggle for them to be there. The gold stoles, cords and tassels signified that these people were honor students.

 

At last, everyone was lined up and the processional began. The stage group went in first, then the faculty. Since I was part of the faculty group, I was able to get a couple shots of them processing in. It was standing room only, with everyone trying to get the best shots of their family member.

 

One student in particular had been in quite a few of my classes. She was the student speaker for the event. Here she is in her various roles. First, as she finished rehearsing, then dressed ready to process in, giving the speech, getting her diploma and walking off the stage. Her array of leis was an example of how all the students looked at the end of the evening. Some had on so many leis they couldn’t breathe or see where they were going.

 

I tried to get all the graduates who had been in my classes, but my battery gave out too quickly. It’s almost as emotional for those of us who teach as for those who graduate.

 

 

The graduates of 2010 accepted more leis as they greeted family and friends afterward.

Congratulations to all those who graduated!

Road Sights

 

The theme for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is “looking.” So I am always on the lookout for sights along our Hawaii roads that might not be typical in other parts of the world. The sight above is fairly normal on the Big Island – driving into the vog, sulfuric air resulting from our volcano.

As we drive into the area of Kilauea, the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, you can see the steam vents alongside the road.

 

Then take a look at this load of outriggers I was following not long ago. I think this is what they call a “wide load!”

 

A hui hou!

Pearl Harbor Museum

 

One of the major attractions on Oahu is the exhibit at Pearl Harbor. Today is not the day we normally remember that occasion, yet I want to show you a few of the things you’ll see at the museum there.

There isn’t much more I can say about this. Anyone who was alive around that time will know what these photos represent. Enjoy the slide show.

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

If you want to see it in a larger form, please click here.


A hui hou!