Some mini artifacts

My eyes are strained and my hands are permanently stained and glued, but I have made some interesting replicas of the Hawaiian artifacts found in the museums mentioned in this blog. Here are some examples and some of the work involved in getting them done.

The most fun was working with miniature gourds (called Tennessee Spinner Gourds: Cucurbita pepo); you can buy them online, including at Local Harvest). They are a bit expensive so I also bought some seeds to grow my own next year. I cut them open with a Dremel drill and it created a nice burnt edge. I painted them with several different colors that I wiped off immediately to give a stained look and then waxed them (using Museum Wax) to give a realistic surface (which on a real gourd would probably be burnished). Several of the water bottle shapes are tied with cords that are used to carry or hang them. The cords are embroidery thread dyed with black tea and then stained with paint.

Tennessee Spinner GourdsCurbita pepo

Using Dremel Cutter

Surprise: There are good seeds inside!

Wire brush cleans inside

Staining the gourds

Museum wax used to coat gourds but also to secure miniatures in a display

A pot

A bowl

Gourd water bottle with handle

Another water bottle with a hanger

Mini gourd drum (Ipu Heke)- the top should be smaller but I didn’t have a gourd small enough

Adding the cord hangers was not easy with my big hands

I made some miniature kapa sheets (called tapa in other parts of the Pacific). I used thin sheets of mulberry paper kindly ordered for me by the Merion Art and Repro Center in Ardmore. Real kapa is made from the mulberry plant too. I painted and stamped it, using some traditional Hawaiian motifs but not directly copying any one piece. These sheets are about 3 inches wide. I dyed the sheets (which were white) with black tea.

Finally, it was back to the feather cloak which still has only a thin layer of feathers. I started adding tiny feathers for the next layer using “Mod Podge” (instead of glue) this time. A much better approach.

And so, back to work!

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