Artist stitches together Ali'i Nui replica cloaks
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“The cape is part of a big collection, part of a 14 cape collection commissioned by the Hawaiian Legacy Forest,” said Rick San Nicholas.
San Nicholas was compelled to weave replica cloaks after seeing a painting of Kamehameha I surrounded by 14 chiefs who were all wearing feathered capes.
Last year, he recreated the cloak worn by Kamehameha, and now, he's begun to make the cloaks worn by the chiefs.
“After the research on the first one, it really made the second one much easier for me to go through knowing what I see at the Bishop Museum and being blessed with just having the opportunity to go there,” he said.
For San Nicholas, the workmanship isn't as tough as parting with his creation – a sort of bitter sweet ahui hou.
“The difficult part is letting them go. Letting them go is just like letting one of your own go.”
San Nicholas' first cape is displayed at the Four Seasons Hualalai. His latest work now stands proudly in the lobby of the Kahala Hotel and Resort.
While San Nicholas isn't the only Hawaiian feather-work practitioner, he hopes his pieces will inspire others and this type of art will thrive.