🌍 Life at the Center: Sculpting the World 🌍Vol. 65, December 2018

How do we wrap up this big world of ours to carry it in our hearts? This singing, vibrant, aching Earth carrying so many precious travelers on its journey through the universe…. How can we remind ourselves to hold it dear? Well, I came up with a crazy idea. Crazy because it took over 3 years and many people from several parts of the globe to pull it off.

When we were redesigning our house, Ciff and I, we decided to also rename it. The first name, Honu Hale, means Turtle House, reflecting my love of sea turtles. As I was traveling back and forth frequently between California and Hawaii, I was discombobulated until I learned to identify with the turtle: one who carries her home with her, wherever she goes.

The new name, Hale Honua, translates as “Home of the World”, signifying that our house is inspired by and our doors are open to people from around the globe. Indeed, with the people that I’ve met through Still & Moving Center, that Cliff has met through his international paddling experiences, and that we’ve both met through the Institute of World Culture, we’ve housed many an international visitor.

While we were in the midst of construction, I dreamt up the idea of a wood carving of the world, mounted on glass, lit from behind, featuring all the places dear to us around the Pacific Rim. The idea so captivated me that I was determined to pull it out of my imagination into the real world.

First I needed my trusty assistant in all things creative, Marta Czajkowska – who, you might be able to tell by the name, is Polish. It took her help to take a map of the globe, squish the gigantic Pacific Ocean to include everything from India to Brazil, and then blow up the size of the tiny Pacific islands we live on so that they could be seen without a magnifying glass. Not an easy feat, but Marta handled the challenge while we prepared for our house-completion trip to Bali in July of 2015.

From our guest book: Our daughter’s friend Anna arrives from Antartica to stay with us and work in our construction company.

Marta completed her design by the time we arrived in Singapore, where we were met by our dear friends Joy Lee and Ed Soon, long-time Nia students of mine. They helped us to find a copy shop able to print out a full size, 42 inch diameter image of Marta’s digital file of the world carving, as well as a bookstore carrying a world atlas with topographic maps of the world.

Once in Bali, our tasks included finding expert wood carvers. Bali has hundreds, probably thousands of professional wood carvers, yet from what I’ve seen, we found some of the very best: Kayun Heart-Touching Wood. You can tell just from their name. Cliff and the owner, Made Sudiama, hit it off wonderfully, as shown in this picture of the two of them having tea.

Made assigned our globe carving project to his skilled carvers. Never had they been challenged to take a 2-D, flat drawing, compare it to topo maps, and come up with a three dimensional wooden map. They rose eagerly to the challenge!  Soon they were sculpting massive, mountainous continents and dozens of little islands.

Back home, we delightedly received photos from Bali of the finished carving, with all the carved pieces mounted to wood backing.

I was so excited to receive our first shipment of Bali carvings, coincidentally on my birthday, only to find a semi-disaster when we opened it. Some careless shipper had speared through the wooden packing box with the forklift blades, splintering the beautiful pieces inside. Fortunately, that box contained NOT our world carving, but some window decor, which our friend Robert Belforte came from California to repair for us.

My dancing friend Sonja Sironen and her two little boys visit from Germany, as does massage therapist Jivatma Massageur and her mother from India. Fellow Nia teacher Nancy Hanlon from Nova Scotia, Canada stays with us while working at Still & Moving.

We finally received the world carving from Bali in 2016. We soon discovered that it was much more difficult to find someone on Oahu capable of crafting the blue ocean glass than it had been to find wood carvers on Bali! As it turns out, I was asking for a much larger piece of flat, custommade glass than anyone generally ever tries to make around here.  We moved into our finished house, and our lovely carving sat in the living room collecting dust.

Cliff’s paddling buddy Marek and his wife visit us from Poland that year, as well as Christopher Pericelli, a dance teacher from New York, and visiting Nia Green belt trainee Linda from Alaska.

A friend finally directed us to glass artist and teacher Bud Spindt in early 2017. Bud is not only an expert at glassmaking, he also has extensive contacts in the glass community, with access to the biggest glass kiln on Oahu, owned by an art professor at UH Manoa! We were back in business!

We have the fun of Nia sister Mikelle from Wyoming staying with us, with short, delightful afternoon visits from Malia’s elite Japanese hula students from Japan, as well as a group of dance students from Oklahoma.

Now came the task of designing and creating the glass. Bud first formed the clear circle of glass, grinding it smooth. He then used glass powder and Marta’s original drawing to create a color pattern that would surround all of the islands and continents with a light blue fringe of shallow ‘water’, leaving the open ocean spaces a deep blue. He fired it again.

On a sunny day in mid 2018, Bud delivered our gorgeous, finished glass piece… which, he told me, not only fit the frame of our wood carving, it turned out to be EXACTLY the largest piece of glass the kiln was capable of firing!

Marta’s little sister from Warsaw summers with us. Israeli yoga teacher Shy Sayar comes for a visit. Cliff’s paddling friend Terrance comes from Seattle. Carmen Curtis from California stays with us while she gives an aerial yoga teacher training.

Our project was STILL not complete. Now came the task of building a light box to mount the carving on – which once again Robert brought his wood skills to help Cliff create. Accurately transferring the continents and all those minuscule islands from the board to which they were originally adhered to, to our ocean glass surface was a tiny nightmare. But my dear Cliff fought his way through that difficulty, invented a circular lighting system, and mounted the piece next to our front door.

Voila! On August 24, 2018 our world carving of Hale Honua was finally hanging on the wall of our home, thanks to many hands from around the globe helping us to create it… reminding us to live by the “Mi casa es su casa” spirit it represents.

Dancing in Joy and resting in stillness with you,

And you, dear reader?
Just hit Reply – I always love hearing from you.

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