It was a pure joy to arrive in Raivavae
to meet some delightful
These girls were rather shy but inquisitive and very ready to
practice their English. They marveled at me spending the windy
afternoons out on the windsurfer and when asked to join me they
declined but returned the offer for a tour aboard...
with a visit to their simple
but beautifully gardened homes.
A Pure Delight!
Upon our arrival in Tubuai it was a pleasure to renew my friendship
with Janet who presented me with a welcoming flower crown. I eagerly
expressed interest on how it was made and after completing the
Triathlon we had a few hours together before our departure for
We quickly went to work snipping fresh flowers
and leaves, not to mention basil from Janet's garden. She then
taught us to plat three strands of dried pandanus leaves inserting
the flowers and leaves as we crossed each plat. Crowns can be
varied and are most often very colorful. They are worn for many
occasions especially Tahitian dancing.
I also informed Janet of my interest in the quilting
of Tahiti called tifaifai. She quickly disappeared inside and
soon reappeared with two quilts.
The red and white quilt I am holding (wearing the finished crown)
is a rose design of Janet's grandmothers while Janet is holding
the current quilt she is working on which is a turtle motif.
Upon arrival in Tahiti I was able to purchase a new book demonstrating
the many designs and patterns of tifaifai which was introduced
to tahiti by the missionaries in the 19th century. The shapes
and colors are the expression of nature and life in the islands
and the quilts date back to 1896.
Mama Ruau making a patchwork.
the tifaifai's in Tahiti I was eager to learn more about the
quilting of the Cook Islands. The Beachcomber Gallery in downtown
Avarua specializes in the islands arts and crafts. I chatted
with Mata, the consultant who was most helpful in explaining
the tradition of the quilts they had on display. Based on the
principle of applique, the quilts called tivaevae are generally
a flower motif. It was interesting to note that four main quilting
differences have evolved between the islands of Tahiti, Cooks
and also Hawaii.
guilt has a pattern similar to the tafaifai except the top design
is placed upon batting with base layer of fabric. The design
is then quilted with colored matching thread in concentric rings
following the motif.
is generally two basic colors whereas the tivaevae incorporates
a third color for the flower.
design is one large joining piece, very much like folding a piece
of paper and cutting a snowflake, except as they don't have snow
in Tahiti they have adapted the design to the surrounding nature.
The tivaevae of the Cooks is more disjointed with the leaves
and flowers overlapping. The Cook Island tivaevae flower is then
embodied to give it more life and definition. The thread most
often used is a contrasting variegated cotton.
Last year I had
spied a book presenting tivaevae designs and their creators.
Sadly the book was out of print but I was advised by Mata that
is should be available by the end of the year. I have put my
order in and anyone else interested can write to the Beachcomber,
P.O. Box 91, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, to request it.
A lily tivaevae
displayed by Mata and Amanda. Note the beautiful pink embroidery
highlighting the lily flower.
Click on your
Hiking - Noumea
Pacific Island Weaving
Pacific Island Quilting
Braided Eye Splice
Dancing - Vanuatu