I first learned how to sculpt wood as a teenager in my family’s Honolulu canoe shop. My father is a competitive paddler and master canoe builder who has dedicated his life to the art of canoe construction and restoration. My grandfather was one of the founding members of Lanikai Canoe Club (established 1953), dedicated to maintaining and strengthening Hawaiian culture through fostering the indigenous sport of outrigger canoe paddling. In the canoe shop I learned that wood is not lumber; it’s a being with a legacy of its own. I left Hawaii in 1982 to come to the mainland for college.
As the director of installation and conservation at Runnymede Sculpture Farm for over twenty years, I have planted seeds, watched saplings grow into young trees, and cleared away trees that have fallen in storms, from old age, or from disease.
I have lived and worked in Oakland since I enrolled in California College of Arts and Crafts to study ceramics in 1983. Around 1999-2000 I changed mediums from clay to wood. All of the wood I use in my work has fallen naturally, and much of it comes from Runnymede. It takes up to three years for the logs I collect to cure before they are ready to be carved.
Photo: Two Limbs Akimbo, Runnymede Sculpture Farm collection, ceramic, 1989-1990