We will be focusing on Mr. John Serrao, who is a famous Hawaian quilter in Oahu that offers the Hawaiian quilting class called Poakalani & Co.

The Hawaii Quilt Exhibition will be held at the Hawaii Convention Center on March 15 and March 16. There will be over 60 Hawaiian quilts created by the students of Poakalani & Co. Also, there will be demonstration of quilting and workshop.


About 200 years ago, many of families in Hawaii passed down the tradition of Hawaiian quilting as an heirloom by great-grandmothers and grandmothers. Nowadays, the Hawaiian quilt regains its popularity which is becoming a favorite hobby among Japanese women. Also, the Hawaiian arts and crafts are taking root in Japan since hula dance was introduced several 20 years ago. It may be natural for Japanese people to favor Hawaiian quilting because they enjoy creating hand-made crafts.quilt04

Moreover, we will be introducing some of the works of Mr. John Serrao and his daughter Ms. Cissy Serrao at the Honolulu Festival. The Serrao Family are looking forward to sharing their designs as well as their knowledge with Hawaiian quilt fans from Hawaii and overseas.


The history of Hawaiian quilt began in the early 1800’s, when the European entered the islands of Hawaii. During this period, the Hawaiians were already skilled in making bedding and clothing out of barks of the paper mulberry trees. Those barks will be pounded then stretched until they become like sheets in which they will be dyed colorfully. This technique is called “tapa” known as the origin of Hawaiian quilt. The stitching technique was first introduced to Hawaii by the Europeans. Also, fabrics were brought from China when the trading had flourished. In addition, the patchwork was introduced to the Hawaiians by the European missionaries. It is theorized that the Hawaiian women started quilting by utilizing the patchwork technique with their original appliqué to make the unique Hawaiian quilt.quilt03

Also, during the middle of the 19th century, the method of cutting out a design from a single piece of fabric and appliquéing it to another piece of fabric with a contrasting background emerged in Hawaii. It is true that Hawaii is blessed with beautiful flowers, plants as well as the legends and myths. Most of them are used as motifs for quilting. Surely the quilters are very proud of their own work. Every quilt has its own purpose to tell a story of events and memories. Nowadays, the quilters are willing to share their designs with others. But it is also true that they are personally attached to the designing and naming of their Hawaiian quilts. As mentioned earlier, Hawaii is blessed with beautiful flowers, plants as well as the legends and myths which are used as motifs for Hawaiian quilts. Hence, it is very unique compared to other types of quilts which is also the reason for its popularity.



The Honolulu Festival Foundation encourages all of you to participate in the Hawaiian quilting class offered by Poakalani & Co.

Please visit www.poakalani.com for more information on Poakalani & Co.