Lauhala hats are a relatively small niche interest… in Hawai’i nei they seemed to have become a sort of status symbol. I imagine the price for a unique handmade 100% made in Hawai’i creation seems exorbitant to those who aren’t familiar with the art form. People don’t realize how much time and energy actually goes into papale ulana. The “weaving” is the fun part… what most people don’t know is how much effort is needed in finding, gathering, cleaning, and preparing the lau for weaving. Not to mention the hazards of centipedes bites and cuts from thorns. Please check out the following links for more information about the process.
I don’t know Ipo personally, but her article “Ipo’s Artistry” is an entertaining and informative overview of ulana lauhala.
Margaret Lovett on Kaua’i, my kumu who taught me most of what I know about ulana, is described in “Hats Off.”
The late Aunty Gladys Grace was my kumu when I made my first papale. She was also Margaret Lovett’s kumu back in the day. Aunty Gladys (with Uncle Frank Masagatani) formed Ulana Me Ka Lokomaika’i in 1997 on Oahu to preserve weaving.
I never had the privilege of learning ulana directly from the late Aunty Elizabeth Maluihi Lee, but she started Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona in the 1990s to preserve the knowledge of weaving. I later learned how to papale ulana in 2003. Sometimes in passing she used make comments about my papale (the project I was working on) that turned out to be extremely helpful tips.
If you have time to watch a youtube video there’s:
Pohaku Kaho’ohanohano, my kumu who lives on Maui, Hawaii Artists – Pohaku Kaho’ohanohano.
This list of references about ulana lauhala and kumu are just a small sample of the information out there. My lens is also relatively small because I pretty much know only my kumu and the regulars that attend the Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona weaving conference each year. Hilo weavers put on their weaving conference, Aha Puhala O Puna, every five years. Maui started a conference last year Ola i ka Puhala, which transitioned to Kauluhiwaolele Maui Fiber Arts Conference coming up this September, as they also recognize and are perpetuating other fiber arts such as ‘ie’ie (baskets and fish traps) and koko (cordage, netting).