Michele AlexanderMy challenge is to create jewelry that will be worn again and again. I strive for an understated intricacy...
Media: Fiber, Jewelry
Island Lei Collection
"The lei is a reflection of oneness
From this loving land,
an adornment for you."
-Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele
This new collection is inspired by lei worn in the Hawaiian islands, each lei meaningfully composed of clusters of native plants and flowers. Used as offerings to Gods or loved ones, they are worn in ritual and dance. Many lei featured are "Lei Papahi", displaying alternating flowers and leaves in a repetitive design.
Pictured are my first endeavors to create, in likeness and feeling, miniature versions of these beautiful adornments of Hawaiian culture. As I wear them, I am surprised and delighted by their graceful feel.
Mahalo to Anuhea Meyers, who passed on the beading bug to me many years ago. Her laughter and grace come through her beadwork as well as her hula.
A lovely reference for lei and Hawaiian culture is Na Lei Makamae by McDonald and Weissich which inspired the Island Lei Collection.
Willow began designing and creating ceremonial art and beaded adornments in 1990. After a career in advertising, design and print reproduction, she studied the art of beadweaving with two Native American teachers. This was the birth of a passion for designing with beads. Willow creates distinctive and elegant wearable art including one-of-a-kind neckpieces, bracelets, earrings and pins. Her work is characterized by colorful and graceful sculptured beadwork interwoven with natural semi-precious stones. Her pieces feature gold seed beads with Peruvian opals, turquoise, amethyst, lapis, jade, and always a piece of polished abalone or pearls to bring a reflective brilliance to each piece. The organic look of her work has been described as water flowing over stones in a mountain stream.
Willow's beadweaving and more can be seen in Masters: Beadweaving published by Lark Books