Kī Kelakela by Nālani Kanakaʻole
"Grandmother, Kūkū, and Okasan had a stand of ti leaves that was a source of viewing pride along side the gardenia, anthurium, maiden hair, and orchids. That was the thing of the 1950s. It was fun growing up with all of these plants in the yard.
"Nothing was different with us. Kūkū had a hot house of maiden hair ferns and orchids next to her kī (ti) leaf plants, the Peter Bucks, the Rosebuds, the Chicken Tails.
"Making ti leaf skirts is when I really learned the full depth and appreciation of what kī represents. It is the perfect example of residual power in a plant because when the leaf falls off the main stalk, that power remains until the entire leaf changes form.
"What empowers is the concept that a central/vertical source of power structure works in supporting the extending leaf tufts. The building of a kahili, the royal standard, is an example of a feathered vehicle for residual power. This can be applied to design like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water, the multi-level cantilevers extended out from a vertical/central power source. By designing this house, Wright influenced the course of modern home design.
"For ten years all I did was kī. The colors were a thing to obsess about with it’s calligraphic linear forms in space flowing in the wind. Residual power in kī is divine.
"Case in point: Simple observations in the every day can bring about change."