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Hawaii NewsLee Cataluna

Lee Cataluna: Late master woodturner’s prized bowl gifted for all to enjoy

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COURTESY ANN HAMADA MCLAUGHLIN

Robert Hamada, at left, made a lidded umeke, or calabash, right, from milo wood and matched the grain of the wood perfectly on the bowl and the lid, a mark of his mastery. The umeke was donated to the Bishop Museum.

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COURTESY ANN HAMADA MCLAUGHLIN

At his funeral, Robert Hamada’s favorite bowl was used to hold his ashes.

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COURTESY ANN HAMADA MCLAUGHLIN

A hand-chiseled hau bowl, shaped as a ceremonial vessel by woodturner Robert Hamada, was gifted to the Contemporary Museum of Honolulu at Spalding House in 2017. After his death in 2014, his daughter Ann Hamada McLaughlin placed his work in museum collections across the country.

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COURTESY ANN HAMADA MCLAUGHLIN

Robert Hamada learned woodworking as a child growing up on Kauai. He never cut down trees for his art, only using wood from fallen trees or when someone was clearing their property, said his daughter.