On View In The Islands

Artist Jean Williams and her colorful tapestries, like the one at far right, will be profiled in "A Weaving Retrospective" along with the works and biographies of the other founders of Hawaii Handweavers Hui.

50 years
of weaving

A jellyfish created by Gail Toma, a longtime member who is weaves baskets.

IN the late 1940s, the University of Hawaii was just getting its art department going, and Hester Robinson, a teacher in the weaving program, began meeting people in the community who wanted to learn weaving without committing to in a full-fledged university art course.

Robinson gathered the novices at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, where she shared her knowledge and invited well-known mainland weavers to host lectures and workshops. It was in 1953, when Robinson's group had grown to about 30 weavers, that she founded the Hawaii Handweavers Hui with five other women.

This year, the hui is celebrating its 50th birthday with "A Weaving Retrospective: 50 Years of Hui Textiles and Art." The exhibit opens Tuesday at the Academy Art Center.

Exhibit organizer Sidney Lynch says the show will profile the hui's founding members, with biographies and photographs displayed alongside their work. Included are vibrant chenille textiles by well-known founder Jean Williams and a model -- to one-inch scale -- of a tapestry by founder Ruthadell Anderson, which now hangs in the State Capitol building.

Entries by past and present members display the broad range of works created by the hui. Pieces run the gamut, from tapestries with traditional patterns to modern works of woven necklaces and painted silk skirts.

"We tried to find all the members through the years and have everyone submit one piece for the show," Lynch says.

"A Weaving Retrospective" runs through March 6 at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St. The center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Call 591-8539 for more information.

Joleen Oshiro

Frances Williamson and Eva Marie Judd wove this one-inch scale model of Ruthadell Anderson's tapestry that hangs in the State Capitol. The gift to Anderson, a founding member of the Hawaii Handweaver's Hui, will be on exhibit in " A Weaving Retrospective: 50 Years of Hui Textiles and Art" at the Academy Art Center beginning Tuesday.

"Alligator Man," by Olive Williams, is another piece in the Academy Art Center exhibit.

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