In The Studio – An Artistic Take on a Native Tree

With a new addition to our blog, this is our second installment of a series dedicated to sharing “behind the scenes” peeks into our studio. “In the Studio” reveals how much we love what we do, the pride we take in our family’s craftsmanship and the fun we have with the creative process. Join us!

Right now in the studio, Padilla Designs is hard at work on a custom metal gate project inspired by the Native Hawaiian hala tree (Pandanus tectorius). This indigenous tree most likely arrived in Hawaii on its own due to the fact that hala seeds float. This particular tree was very important to native Hawaiians who utilized the entire tree in various ways; the leaves were woven into hats, baskets, mats and roofing materials, the fruit was eaten, the seeds were used as painting brushes and the wood has been used to make water pipes and posts. In this project, Padilla Designs combines artistic craftsmanship and Hawaiian history to tell the story of the hala tree through three dimensional art, which you will see later on our blog “Featured Projects”, when the project is complete.

The Padilla Designs team has begun to construct each piece of the gate starting with the frame – you can see these steps in the photos below. Once the frame is correctly proportioned, they begin to work on the woven hala mat that you can start to see at the base of the gate – we use copper strips folded into each other to get the effect of the woven mats. At the top of the gate, you can see lau hala (the leaves of the hala tree) and ʻāhui hala (its fruit) hanging down past the frame signifying the living hala tree itself, along with strips of pounded copper representing the trunk of the tree.

Once completed, this gate will visually display the beauty of the hala tree adding a touch of Hawaiian history to this estate located in Spreckelsville, Maui.


Want to explore other installments of “In the Studio”? Check out the entire blog series here.
Want to inquire about a new project at your home or commercial property? Don’t hesitate to reach out.

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