Master Kapa Maker

Dalani Tanahy is a master of the traditional art of kapa making. She creates textured fabric from the bark of the wauke or paper mulberry tree in a process perfected over centuries by Native Hawaiian culture makers, which she then decorates with intricate and colorful designs.

Her work spans many disciplines, from horticulture to natural dye production, from graphic design to research. “The rhythms of beating kappa is meditative and instills patience and respect in oneself. My goal is to strengthen the science and biology elements that exist in my art in order to make myself a more well-rounded kapa practitioner,” said Tanahy. The Bishop Museum, the British Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian have exhibited work by Tanahy in group exhibitions. She is the owner of Kapa Hawaii and teaches kapa making and fiber arts for the organization. The Polynesian Cultural Center awarded the artist a Lifetime Achievement Award.