POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 5, 2010
The people of Hawaii are known for their generous spirit, and the yuletide season provides another opportunity to act on this largesse. We're also fortunate to have so many creative artists and crafters to provide a canoe full of choices for holiday gift giving.
"Island Style — Christmas Gifts" features a selection of distinctive Hawaii-made gifts for under $100 that are sure to surprise and delight family and friends here at home and bring a cherished touch of the isles to faraway ohana.
Your best bets for finding these treasures are shops selling locally made art and handicrafts, such as Native Books/Na Mea Hawai'i, Nohea Gallery and Island Treasures. Museum stores are also a great source of unique Hawaii-made goods. Visit Bishop Museum's Shop Pacifica or gift shops at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Queen Emma Summer Palace and Mission Houses Museum.
Locally owned Martin & MacArthur could be your one-stop shop for Christmas gifts. Known primarily for made-in-Hawaii koa furniture, the stores also stock surprisingly affordable koa and nonwood gifts.
And don't forget Hawaii's ubiquitous craft fairs, with a number of major events leading to Dec. 25. See tomorrow's Today section for our "Craft Fair Finds" gift guide and schedule of major sales.
1. This sturdy, hand-dyed, cotton canvas "gathering bag" in bold colors and hand-screened Hawaiian designs is roomy enough for the beach or to hold your athletic gear, but you'll want to use it as an everyday purse, too. Made on the Valley Isle by Maui Monkey Business, the bags comes in two sizes for $48 and $54 at Native Books/Na Mea Hawai'i.
2. Fake flowers might normally disqualify an item from gift-giving consideration, but we'll make an exception for Gladys Miller's over-the-top lau hala flower clip, $60 at Native Books/Na Mea Hawai'i. Miller is the daughter of Auntie Minnie Kaawaloa, a noted Hilo lau hala weaver.
3. This 10-inch vase from White Smith Pottery of Omao, Kauai, draws inspiration from the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century. Longtime potter Mark Smith says he also wanted to make a vase "that looked like leaves" — just add fresh flowers. Available in smaller or larger sizes, this one sells for $48 at Native Books/Na Mea Hawai'i.
4. Joy Labrador of Wabi-Sabi in Kaimuki makes fun pillows resembling shave ice, Spam musubi and sushi that are sure to bring smiles to locals and college kids and expats on the mainland. Pillows are $22 for small sizes and $32 for large. Rice cooker pillows cost $40 because of extra detail work, and the store sells other creative isle-themed gifts.
5. This intricately hand-carved and painted monstera-design gourd by Ardee Guard of Kaneohe makes for a one-of-a-kind potpourri holder. It's $74 at Native Books/Na Mea Hawai'i.
6. The maneki neko, or "beckoning cat," usually is gifted as a lucky token for new businesses, but this porcelain version by Peter Okumoto of Porcelain Hawaii is irresistible for other occasions as well. It comes in a range of sizes, from miniature to large ($19.50 to $68), at Nohea Gallery.
7. Be a hit at ornament exchange parties with this delicate glass ball from 1st Look Exteriors filled with locally grown moss and drought-hardy succulents. Care is simple: just a light misting now and then. Hang this living ornament on your tree or in a window, or set it on your desk. It's $24.99 at Whole Foods in Kahala.
8. From Punawai in Hilo come these sophisticated silk chiffon scarves in muted tones and printed with ulu, tiare and awapuhi. Use them to dress up or dress down, or tie them around your hat. "It gives women a sense of place without wearing aloha wear," says owner Allen Punawai Rice. Look for his booth at the Honolulu Gift Fair, Dec. 17-19 at Blaisdell Center. Prices are $40 for 68-inch length and $50 for 78 inches. They are in scarcer supply at museum stores and shops selling Hawaii-made gifts.
9. Martin & MacArthur's 3-D koa ornaments add warmth and rich, natural tones to the tree in angel, coconut tree, Christmas tree, pineapple, bell, snowflake, round and teardrop shapes. The two-piece decorations slide apart for easy storage and mailing. Priced from $19.90 to $22.90.
1. If you can't afford a Niihau shell necklace, how about some smaller pieces crafted from the precious shells instead? Kailua artist Haiula Hansen made these Niihau shell earrings, which sell for $60 to $99 at Island Treasures in Kailua. (Pictured with Leighton Lam's pearl earrings.)
2. Etched glass is a craft fair staple, but the monstera design on this wine stem by Kelli of Exotic Art Glass of Hawaii Kai is what caught our eye. The hand-etched glasses ($40 each at Nohea Gallery) are more substantial than cheaper versions we've seen and would be a classy addition to any island table or home bar.
3. These tasteful combination corkscrew/bottle stoppers ($39.50 and $49.50) are at Martin & MacArthur.
4. Catch drips using beachcomber Arlene Bohman's bottle ties with sea glass accents ($16.95 at Native Books/Na Mea Hawai'i), seen here embracing a Tedeschi Vineyards' Ulupalakua Red ($14.99 at Foodland).
5. And once the party gets going, prevent embarrassing beverage mix-ups with this set of Island Woodworks wine charms ($28.95 at Native Books/Na Mea Hawai'i), made on Kauai of paua shell and koa.
6. This white ceramic lei-shaped bowl, made in Wahiawa, is a throwback to the days of gracious Hawaiian living. We can just picture it on Tutu's dining table, filled with plumeria, pua kenikeni or other blossoms plucked right from the yard. It's $44 at Nohea Gallery.
7. With the influx of South Seas imports in recent years, pearls have almost become a ho-hum accessory. But Leighton Lam's stunningly simple designs offer a fresh take on a classic. The artist uses 24-karat gold- and silver-plated stainless-steel wire to string lustrous pearls into earrings and necklaces with a modern feel, and we love his stackable freshwater-pearl bangles. The affordable prices seal the deal: $24 for earrings and necklaces seen here, $12 to $19 for hoops, and $35 for sterling silver and gold-filled bangles. Sold at Macy's, Riches Kahala, Nohea Gallery, Island Edge and Global Creations in Haleiwa and other stores.
SOURCE CONTACTS» The Academy Shop: Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 S. Beretania St., 532-8703; shop.honoluluacademy.org
» Island Treasures: 629 Kailua Road No. 103, Kailua, 261-8131
» Leighton Lam Designs: 373-3317; www.leightonlam.com
» Martin & MacArthur stores: Ala Moana Center, 941-0074; Hilton Hawaiian Village, 792-1140; Ward Centre, 791-6595; and on Maui at Shops at Wailea, Westin Maui, Whaler's Village; www.martinandmacarthur.com
» Mission Houses Museum Gift Shop: 560 Kawaiahao St., 447-3910; www.missionhouses.org
» Native Books/Na Mea Hawai'i: Ward Warehouse, 596-8885, Hilton Hawaiian Village, 949-3989; www.nativebookshawaii.com
» Nohea Gallery: Ward Warehouse, 596-0074; Sheraton Waikiki, 931-8843; Westin Moana Surfrider, 923-6644; Nohea Island Art, 767 Kailua Road, Kailua, 262-2787; www.noheagallery.com
» Punawai Custom Printed Scarves: 969-2008; www.punawai.com
» Queen Emma Summer Palace Gift Shop: 2913 Pali Highway, 595-3167; queenemmasummerpalace.org
» Shop Pacifica, Bishop Museum: 1525 Bernice St., 847-3511; www.bishopmuseum.org
» Wabi-Sabi: 1223 Koko Head Ave., 734-3693
» Whole Foods: Kahala Mall, 4211 Waialae Ave., 738--0820; wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/honolulu