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Mid-century Honolulu.

Woodcarving Hawaiian style.



A tropical paradise...

Beautiful hotels and beaches at Waikiki...

The Luas with poi served in wood bowls and fresh fruit on wood platters and trays...

Booming tourism. Visitors desire something special made in Hawaii to remind them of their adventure and the natural beauty and abundance of the islands...

And so, an idea began with Fritz Abplanalp in Honolulu in the late 1930s----first he carved wood perfume bottles (Gump's Honolulu,) then leaf trays made of Monkeypod & Koa---tableware inspired by the beautiful Hawaiian flora.  The community of Honolulu artists, woodcarvers and woodcrafters ran with the concept.  Horn, Blair, Sorensen---began making beautiful bowls, leaf trays---all from the abundance of Monkeypod and Koa found on their islands.

This wood carving industry survived in Honolulu until the mid-seventies, then rapidly tapered off for several reasons:

The 1960s were the heyday for this woodcraft industry.  By the end of the 60s, wood was getting scarce on the Islands.  Woodcrafters in the Philippines were making inexpensive knock-offs from their homegrown sources of Monkeypod and cutting into the profit of Island made products. 

During the 70s the environmental movement had gained ground. Strict conservation measures on government lands were established to allow the forest to recover.  The Island woodcrafters were forced to seek wood in the Philippines and Thailand.  Then even this became too expensive. The market for their work was drying up. The cost to operate a successful wood carving shop in Honolulu forced woodcarvers and woodworkers to radically adjust or find other ways of making a living.

Fifty years later, it is getting more difficult to find the well preserved large Monkeypod and Koa bowls and leaf trays that were made on the islands.


Mid-century "made in Hawaii" Monkeypod & Koa Bowls and Leaf trays are beautiful to behold and to hold!

Sometimes old becomes new again.     




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