Mary Haunani Cesar




Mary Haunani Cesar


Cesar is a Hawaiian quilter who embraces both traditional and contemporary styles. She travels around the world and teaches Hawaiian quilting. She also owns a pattern company.




Quilting arts workshop
Quilt Expo
Quilts in art
Quilting--United States--Patterns.
Arts and crafts.
Sewing machines.
Hawaiian quiltmakers
Hawaiian quilts.


Mary Haunani Cesar


Joyce Starr Johnson

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Jeri Riggs


Houston, Texas


Megan Dwyre


Joyce Johnson (JJ): This is Joyce Johnson. Today's date is November 1, 2002. It is 9:15 a.m. and I am conducting an interview with Mary Haunani Cesar for the Quilters' S.O.S. [Save Our Stories.] project in Houston, Texas. I'd like to start this morning by talking about the quilt that you've brought in and if you want to put it up here to talk about it, or whatever's easiest for you.

Mary Haunani Cesar (MHC): This kind of has an interesting story, I have a pattern company, a Hawaiian quilt pattern company and I did this with the intention of coming up with a block of the month program and kind of quilt shops to do kind of design their own block of the month because some of them, [inaudible.] block of the month [inaudible.] getting expensive and pricey and things like that so actually you would start off with four blocks and then the shops could use the skills of their in house teacher to add two quilt patch or quarters and [inaudible.] put on and they were going to put another one on and there's a book that has just come out in Hawaii that is called "Contemporary Hawaiian Quilting" and I had just this top and I used it as a couple markets to show things and then the publisher of the book wanted it, wanted it photographed and finished, and there was no way I could finish it by hand, so it's hand appliquéd and it was intended to be done by hand and they wanted it so it was a stretch to for me to allow it to be machine quilted.

JJ: Did someone else do the machine quilting?

MHC: Yes, and I sent out all the patterns how I wanted the interior lines quilted and I was pretty happy with the result so now it displays double beauty and I think—obviously it got done a whole lot quicker than it would have taken me to hand quilt it.

JJ: Do you hand quilt many of your own things?

MHC: Yes.

JJ: So, this was a departure from what you used to?

MHC: Yes. Usually if I hand appliqué something, I'm going to hand quilt it. If I do- I started doing an infusing method, those I machine quilt, and that's my thimble I wear it as a pinky ring.

JJ: So it's with you all the time.

MHC: I'm always ready to quilt.

JJ: Do you tend to specialize in Hawaiian quilting designs?

MHC: Yes.

JJ: And how does this quilt, well let me describe this quilt quickly for the tape; it is in shades of purple, primarily two contrasting as a light bluish-purple and a darker lavender.

MHC: This is a solid and this is a hand dyed.

JJ: OK, a solid and a hand dyed, with four main motifs surrounded by a patchwork type of border, and in each corner is a solid block with Hawaiian words, and these Hawaiian words are:

MHC: OK, this is Lau'a'e, it's a local fern. We have it all over the place, and then this one is [inaudible.], it's more commonly known as [inaudible.], in Hawaiian it's Kalo. This one is Olena and is basically turmeric and this one is tea leaf, commonly in Hawaiian it's Ki. This quilt I call Hawaiian Healing. There's la'au lapa'au and that's a Hawaain medicine. So all of these plants, there's several others, but all of these plants are used in la'au lapa'au, Hawaiian medicine.

JJ: And how did you choose those?

MHC: These two of them are patterns. Actually I think all three of these were new patterns that I was introducing the same year I was--and then this one has always been a real popular one and tea leaf is good luck so if you go a [inaudible.] in Hawaii, which is a sacred place, sometimes they're burial places in Hawaii you carry a tea leaf with you for good luck. A lot of homes, Muslims, have tea leaf bags in their yards because it's like a protection.

JJ: And this is a wall quilt, and what is your intent with this quilt?

MHC: I use it for teaching and then eventually I could sell it or I may give it away. I don't know. I use to sell a lot of my work and now I'm trying to give a lot of them away so I can give some to some family members because after awhile I realized that no one owned anything that I made that was in the family, so I started out with children, so some of the adults are complaining that where's their quilts and the babies that are being born they get them first, so it's not manageable. [laughs.]

JJ: Is that important to you, that a lot of family members have quilts?

MHC: Yes. With the grandchildren, like my mother's grandchildren and my nieces and nephews, and stuff, my daughter, of course, she has a few.

JJ: Can you tell me a little bit about your own personal history with quilts? When it started?

MHC: I don't remember learning how to sew and as a child I started off doing mostly painting; I painted landscapes and seascapes. I did a few little doll quilts and stuff during that time, in grade school with my grandmother, but I didn't really get into Hawaiian quilting until about 1981 and I tried reading a couple books trying to figure out-- actually my husband and I had built an entertainment unit, and were not carpenters or anything and there were cubbyholes across the bottom, and I decided that liked the Hawaiian quilt patterns and I wanted to put fabric panels in there, so I started going through some books and I tend to be a visual person, so I learn easier by doing and seeing then reading a book, so I tried a few things on my own and wasn't really happy with the results and I took a class with a woman Carol Kamaile. So, then I got into quilting, but those fabric panels never got made. [laughter.]

JJ: They had to be a big quilt, not little panels.

MHC: Yes.

JJ: So what role has quilting played in your life since then?

MHC: It's a major role, it's pretty much my fulltime job and [inaudible.] that I do for a living, I'd say I'm a professional.

JJ: So describe to me what your typical daily or weekly activities are.

MHC: Well I have a pattern company and I have three pattern books out now, twenty pillow patterns, five wall hanging patterns and a couple of patchwork patterns, so I spend a lot of time folding paper, filling orders and things like that. I teach every Wednesday morning at Mission Harbors Museum in Hawaii when I'm in town, and I used to teach two weekly classes at Ben Franklin Store in Hawaii and I've gradually phased out the Hawaiian quilting class already, I've turned that over to Carol Kamaile, and she's taken over that class because now I'm traveling to much to have a perpetual weekly class, so I'm going into more workshop things at home instead of the weekly.

JJ: Talk a little bit about your travel.

MHC: This is my sixth year in Houston. The first year I came here, I came to work and demonstrate appliqué, and then I was introduced to Judy Murrah, and I would've never guessed that the first year I came, that the following year I would be on faculty, but that's kind of how it happened. So this is the fourth year that I've taught here, and my daughter graduated high school in 2001 in May and so up until that point I was doing only two trips a year. I didn't want to leave too often when she was still in school. I used to tease her and tell her that her graduation night I [inaudible.]. [laughter.]

JJ: It wasn't really just teasing.

MHC: Not really. So this year is the first year I can really, although I did the Minneapolis market, I taught at a shop in Minneapolis, and after that I went to Michigan and taught, and I taught in Berkeley and I'm trying to finish a few [inaudible.]. And my 2003 schedule is pretty heavy. So, I said that's the first year I can really start working, so I kind of joke around where I say before it was only two trips a year because my daughter was in high school, and now there are people that ask me how much I intend to travel, and I say 'I don't know, I have to figure out what my husband's tolerance is.' [laughter.]. And then I kind of judge it from there. I just started doing quilting tours, we did our first tour last January to Japan and it looks like that's going to be an annual thing. I actually have a small tour group with me now, and I'm showing Houston too, and so that's a new thing and we're working on that. So, I'm doing quilting tours and I teach for Quilt Hawaii every year, I teach on all the islands, I have taught in Anawitak before. In '90, '91, and '92, I had a government contract where I went to Anawitak in the Marshall Islands and taught the Marshallese women how to sew; it wasn't necessarily quilting, but general sewing. It wasn't until he second trip that I convinced the field station manager to let me use at least one day of the six days a week that I taught hand sewing, most of them don't have electricity and they have a whole lot of time, so hand sewing was really what they wanted to learn and so I taught them how to cut in the Hawaiian patterns, because it's too hot and really, really difficult them to get batting let alone fabric. I taught them also how to do simple dyeing for fabrics so they could get the colors that they wanted and it was really cool because the third trip that I went after they learned appliqué I saw it all over their clothing. They had little appliqués on clothes.

JJ: Wow, it really had an impact on their lives.

MHC: So, it was fun and that was a government contract and then after I left, the politicians, the counselor, whatever you want to call it, the school teachers that they hire, but now they kind of hire the school teachers who also know how to sew so they can continue to teach sewing.

JJ: That's really neat of you.

MHC: Yes, and it was really fun.

JJ: You talked about how your daughter's age impacted your quilting; in what way has your quilting impacted your daughter or your husband or your family?

MHC: Well, my daughter, she's not interested in quilting really yet, I can tell you some funny stories. One time I was teaching one of the routine classes and she wanted to come, she was going to start her own Hawaiian pattern, there was a little copy shop across the street, just across the little mall part, so she had cut her pattern and she needed to baste it down and when I went across to the printing shop to so she had cut her pattern and she needed to baste it down and when I went across to the printing shop to Xerox something out for the other students, and then when I got back the other students were telling me that my daughter was trying to bribe them to finish her basting for her. [laughter.].

JJ: So, she's enterprising too. [laughter.]

MHC: She was willing to pay. That piece is still not basted, and I think she was about 13, and she's 19 now. And then another time she was into angels, and we got a quilt top at a quilt guild auction that featured angels and then I signed the slip for her and she started quilting it and I asked her, I said, 'Do you want me to teach you how to do the quilting?', so she goes, 'No I don't need it, I don't need to, I already know how,' she had never quilted before, and she picked up the needle and she was doing like eight stitches to the inch from the get go, and she did maybe one or two hoops at that, and no--now that's in the UFO pile, so then people would ask her if she's interested in quilting, and she used to say 'No, that's my mom's thing,' and now when they ask her she says, 'Not yet.' So, I figure there's still some hope.

JJ: Well, many people go into it as adults.

MHC: Yes, and she's very artistic, and she's kind of like how I was at her age, she's more into the painting, she paints canvas, and drawing.

JJ: In your opinion, what makes a quilt great?

MHC: I think a lot of times it's looking at a quilt, the initial impact, if you're speaking of art quilts. I kind of separate it into 'art quilts' and 'heirloom quilts' and then 'user quilts'.

JJ: Tell me a little how you define those categories.

MHC: Art quilts are the kind that sometimes if you see a photograph of it you can't really tell if it's a quilt or a painting, and just some of the things that they're doing with the machine work, and I don't feel real comfortable doing the machine work, so seeing what other quilters are doing with the machines and the new products out there is really cool, and they're kind of combining the painting with the fabrics and all of that kind of thing, it's really amazing work that's being done. Like Hollis, I don't know how to pronounce her last name.[unidentified person says something inaudible.] Yes, Chatelain, you know some of her quilts are amazing and Carol [inaudible.], those I consider more of art quilts. The traditional Hawaiian and Baltimore album, I kind of put in with the heirloom quilts- quilts with a lot of handwork, whole cloth, you want to take care of them, pass them down through the family, and then user quilts are quilts that get loved and abused and tugged on and--

JJ: How do you want people to think about your quilts?

MHC: I do either user quilts or heirloom quilts, and I guess this one kind of falls somewhere, I don't know where I'd put this one because I wouldn't really consider this one an heirloom, but it's not really a user quilt, so it kind of falls between the cracks.

[JJ and MHC both speaking at the same time.]

MHC: Yes.

JJ: What do you think makes a great quilter?

MHC: I think that varies a lot too. I like Hawaiian quilting, because I don't have to be very precise it's really forgiving and I know I can do a really good and visible appliqué stitch, but then there's people that can do precise, perfect piecing, and I really admire the other people that do work that you don't feel comfortable doing. [laughter.]. So like, Sally Collins, and her little miniature--it's just amazing, I can't imagine ever, me getting anything that precise. I can do simple patchwork, but I really enjoy handwork.

JJ: If you were a curator of a museum, how would you decide upon which quilts you would include.

MHC: That's interesting. I'm actually curating a show that will open next year at the San Jose Quilt Museum and they want real contemporary Hawaiian quilts that are kind of pushing the envelope, so I'm choosing things kind of like quilts of traditional pattern but they've done machine quilting and they've done different things. If you're curating a show, then you're also choosing quilts that flow, more like a gallery setting rather than a juried quilt show where you're looking for skill rather than a variety. For a museum, I think it has to have a flow and--

JJ: A theme.

MHC: Yes, a theme, and so it's my first time curating a show, and it looks like I may be invited next year also, next summer. We'll be putting a show together for a guild in New York, a special Hawaiian quilt exhibit. They want to focus more on the traditional Hawaiian quilting, and the work of my students.

JJ: So you're criteria will be different.

MHC: Totally different, yes.

JJ: You mentioned that you really like to do the handwork. What is it about doing hand work that brings you pleasure?

MHC: It's just relaxing, and TV time, that's kind of--it's like I'm always quilting, but machine stuff and the business stuff gets done during the day and the hand work- I can still quilt and hang out in the living room with my family and then a lot of people always tell me I have to be a really patient person because of the quilt work I do, and sometimes I wonder if that's not out of impatience more than patience, because I can't stand to be waiting, or feeling like I'm wasting time, and hand work and appliqué I can carry around a project with me and not feel like I'm wasting time, at least I'm accomplishing something.

JJ: When you think back, maybe particularly about Hawaiian quilts, what has that represented to the women of Hawaii?

MHC: Well, in the old days, it represents a lot of times, if you're working on a Hawaiian quilt, sometimes there's double meanings, and [inaudible.] according to what was going on in their lives, while they were making the quilt, and sometimes their done for events, like there's an old quilt that was made with pigeons, the design has pigeons on it, animals are kind of unusual on Hawaiian quilts, but it was a commemorative quilt, to commemorate when the army came in and were testing using homing pigeons as a form of communication between islands. So, most Hawaiian quilters quilt alone, they don't belong to guilds or the kind of little small groups that will get together, but most Hawaiian quilting is done more solo, traditionally and even now a lot of the Hawaiian quilters do a lot of solo work, and then we believe that your spirit is in the quilt because you spend so much time. It's kind of a spiritual thing; it's hard to figure out how to separate that from the work because of the way we grew up. The old days, if when a quilter dies, if a quilt is not promised, it's burned. They don't do that as much anymore, but--

JJ: I'm panicking thinking about all those quilts. [laughter.]

MHC: And then the clothing would be burned, anything that's not promised that was worn would be burned and that's the quilt's mana or the spirit at rest.

JJ: So does that motivate people to promise things to people?

MHC: [inaudible.]

JJ: Does that reinforce the interpersonal relationships or define how close somebody is emotionally to another person?

MHC: Yes, to get a gift from, especially of especially a doll size Hawaiian quilt is a sign of really true friendship, there's real love there.

JJ: So, [inaudible.]

MHC: I'll tell you a couple of funny stories of old Hawaiian quilts. There's one quilt and it's got a wreath in the middle and then it has squares of [inaudible.], and that's kind of what this flower looks like on the [inaudible.], and it's a tree that grows on the big island it's one of the first that shows up after a lava flow, and there's a whole Hawaiian legend that goes along with that tree itself, actually, Ohia is the tree and Lohua is the flower, and then their's a mamma bird it's a native bird that's also on the quilt, and basically the quilt, the Hawaiian name if you translate it is- it's about a cheating husband who goes from bush to bush. [laughs.]

JJ: And so would the maker of that quilt have been—is it a story about her husband?

MHC: That's where some of the double meanings come in because the direct translation is 'a love snatching wing'. And there's another quilt called 'ko'ome meie' and that means 'press gently', and there's a newer version of it, there's an older version of it, and basically it's given as wedding quilt sometimes and 'press gently is kind of instruction on the groom on how to treat his new bride.

JJ: So a lot of life lessons in quilting.

MHC: Yes.

JJ: We talked about how you started, have you ever used it at a particularly difficult time in your life to get through a hard time? Or maybe conversely in a very happy time?

MHC: Quilting's just been so much a part of my life, since 1981, but it's gotten me through all kinds of things, but just to say I really appreciate my alone time, being alone and designing and quiltwork. I don't get mad very often, but I remember situations where your car stalls and you're waiting for a tow truck, and you're waiting forever and thank god I had the appliqué block with me otherwise by the time the tow truck got there I'd be mad. So, it gets me through periods like that, and then my first divorce, well my only divorce--

JJ: [laughs.]Hopefully your last.

MHC: Yes, and it really helped to get me through that, and then we kind of came full circle, and it was kind of cool because he didn't like the quilting, he thought it was stupid and a waste of time, and then after the divorce we kind of went full circle, and it was interesting I did a series of Hawaiian petroglyphs and quilt designs and then I had them framed and matted Koa, and he bought one. So, it went from- he kind of snickered and he's like '[inaudible.] quilting', and then [inaudible.], successes, I don't know what that saying is but, success is--

JJ: The best revenge or something like that.

MHC: Yes, something like that.

JJ: How do you feel about Hawaiian quilting spreading in popularity on the mainland or in other countries?

MHC: I think it's great. Sometimes there is some confusion because you'll have someone who quilts that comes to Hawaii and maybe takes a month full of classes or one or two classes and then they'll come back and teach. They can teach the mechanics, but they can't teach the spiritual and the history and the stuff behind it, so sometimes some of that gets lost and sometimes that will create some misinformation, but then it's, on the other hand, you have that happening among Hawaiian quilters who are Hawaiian quilters and part Hawaiian in Hawaii to those--I have a theory on it, but it depends on which teach you go to as far as what kapus that teacher follows, kapus are like taboos, and so it varies. Really old Hawaii during the reign of Kamehameha, people's lives were totally controlled by the kapus and stuff, and the kapu was laid down by the king, and women and men were not allowed to eat together and women couldn't eat certain foods, and there was all this stuff that happened so when Kamehameha the second took power his mother and one of the other favorite wives of his dad convinced him to sit down and eat with them which was the breaking of a major kapu so that was kind of the beginning of the end of the kapu system, and then the missionaries arrived four months later. There had already been Western contact, so the Hawaiians were kind of questioning the spiritual, religious part, so they were ripe for the missionaries, but the missionaries taught the Hawaiians how to quilt and I think that as a people, their lives were controlled by this kapu system. Change doesn't happen real quickly so as this new art form starts developing in Hawaii that on different islands and different families, they started applying their own customs and that's why depending on which Hawaiian teacher you talk to, those kapus can vary. I was always taught never to quilt animals in a Hawaiian quilt, because animals are too restless to be held still, and pretty much all quilters are on agreement in the Hawaiian, that there should never ever be a human on a Hawaiian quilt because the human form could get up and walk at night.

JJ: So, if you were to go to an exhibit someplace on the mainland and you would see something like that would that bother you?

MHC: A human form would bother me, you can go to a quilt show in Hawaii and see several quilt patterns and several shall have a lot of fish, and dolphins, turtles, they're all real popular. I myself do not feel comfortable designing a pattern like that, and I don't. The only patterns I would feel comfortable designing that featured an animal would be the animals that our our family's 'omepuaa', which is the owl and the lizard. Kueoe's the owl, but omepuaa, the best way for me to describe it is kind of like the Indians and the totem. They could be a guide, like a family guide. So, I could do an owl or a lizard and feel ok with it. I won't say never, but I'm just not comfortable doing it yet, now, and basically that's the main Hawaiian feeling about it, is if it doesn't feel right you don't do it. And then a lot of the kapu, some are practical based and some are spiritual based, and I don't have any problem breaking a practical based kapu, but if I think it's a spiritually based kapu then I don't want to break it.

JJ: And does that become part of your teaching?

MHC: Yes.

JJ: So you're not just teaching necessarily quilting, but you're also teaching some of the symbolic and cultural things that go along with it.

MHC: Yes. So for example, a practical kapu is it's kapu to quilt at night, one that I think it horrible. Now we have good light so, that's an obvious one we can break, and another one is that it's kapu to quilt on black. Black is a real hard—for hand quilting, it's difficult to quilt, it doesn't form that little tint when the needle is coming back up, and navy blue is like that too, so it's not really, although they [inaudible.] their walls out of a black [inaudible.] cloth, that they would lay over for burials sometimes, but it wasn't necessarily associated with anything negative, the color itself, and most people that will quilt with black will use it as a background, not as a design, it's more often seen as a background rather than a design, and people have different opinions about it. The one thing I wouldn't do though, I think it's ok to put red on black or yellow on black, but I would never put yellow and red on black in a Hawaiian pattern, and that's kind of just out of respect, the royal or the elitely colors, the royalty is red and yellow so you wouldn't take the royal colors and put them on a kapu color. And then getting into the animals, I kind of consider that a spiritual kapu because of the omepuaa.

JJ: Wow, I've learned a lot about Hawaiian quilts today. [laughter.] Is there anything else that I haven't asked you about your own quilting, or how quilting is figured in your life that you would like to share with us?

MHC: I've always considered myself more of a traditional Hawaiian quilter, but in the past few years, I'm more going for contemporary and kind of pushing the envelope--

JJ: In designs or in methods?

MHC: Methods and stuff, so I brought a couple of those things. This is handwork, and this is pretty traditional, the hand dyed fabrics is, so in the new book that just came out about contemporary Hawaiian quilting, the author put it in all kinds of categories, so she called this 'quasi-traditional'.

JJ: Because of the hand dyeing?

MHC: Because of the hand dyed fabrics and this is another one with the same hand dyed fabrics.

JJ: And you do all your own dyeing?

MHC: No, these two are done by Marit Kusoa an [inaudible.], and it's funny, she, it was Patricia Cox's, it was her idea to do this circular dyeing for a Hawaiian quilt pattern, and apparently that was a little over ten years ago, and Marit was dyeing the fabrics and it never took off, and then I wandered into her booth, I think it was about my second time here, and I happened to see her, might have been the first or second time I came to Houston, and I wandered into the booth and the booth was kind of like this and I'm on the side aisle, her booth was facing this way and a wallhanging that Patricia had done was hanging there and I walked past it stopped cold, and went back and had to go see what it was and then immediately bought fabric and then drug everyone I possibly fond that I knew did Hawaiian quilts and now the fabric is real popular among Hawaiian quilters and then I took a Hawaiian quilter from Japan into her booth and now her fabric is really big in jpaan so I kind of feel good that I helped give the fabric a push, so I think she's already just about sold out of the circular stuff downstairs because [inaudible.] went down there and I saw the Japanese group that I initially introduced and they were all--

JJ: Taking advantage of it.

MHC: So that was fun.

JJ: [indaudible.]

MHC: [starts mid-sentence] To come up with a machine version, and there's been a couple versions that have been done for well over ten, fifteen years, but it's a [inaudible.] paper [inaudible.] and to me it's tedious and takes a lot of time to do it by machine, and I think I can appliqué it faster than I could do that by hand. It imitated the look of hand work, and now with all the new products and stuff. I figured why not accentuate the machine work and everything else that can be done. So this quilt is just top. This quilt is a [inaudible.] opportunity quilt this year. I'm the committee chair and all the patterns on it are my designs, and it's made by several members, and so this is [inaudible.].

JJ: Very much, and so that will be, it'll be all--

MHC: Machine [inaubible.] quilt.

JJ: This is a very different look than the others [inaudible.] and no animals.

MHC: No animals. So, this is the opportunity quilt this year, we have to say opportunity because we're not allowed to [inaudible.]

JJ: We have the same, we have donation quilts.

MHC: Yes, and I've taught this class for the first time this year. The first time I taught it was the first time [inaudible.], but it's a fairly new class and it's [inaudible.]. This show is in the catalog that we call the 'Hawaiian quilting by machine' even though no one did any machine work, and I kind of go through all the different methods, here's another one and this is [inaudible.]. It's also [inaudible.], but this is kind of a sophisticated look and then this is the more whimsical and playful, so I go through various methods and how to—these pieces were done by a friend of mine, and these are a couple squares of mine, that even though I'm finished but [inaudible.] [laughter.]

JJ: And so Hawaiian quilting over all has changed, as well as your own quilting?

MHC: I have another quilt that's unfinished there's Diana Grunhauser, who did the machine quilting on this. We're adding dimensional flowers in the Hawaiian quilting, you know Baltimore Album and [inaudible.]. And that's kind of cool because considering where the missionaries are from, I think there's a little more sisterhood than some people want to admit between Hawaiian and Baltimore album.

JJ: That east coast puritan—

MHC: Just some of the designs, like the [inaudible.] leaf design in Baltimore album are real similar to the Hawaiian style. We fold and cut differently but- because it's not really known when the change went from patchwork to the allover design of the Hawaiian quilting, and I've heard once that the echo quilting came from the Swedish people, and so it's not really known because a lot of the old Hawaiian quilts, some would be done with a grid, clamshell, echo is accepted norm, that's what's expected on the Hawaiian quilt now, but they used several forms of background quilting originally, and then this is pretty much a brand new product, the chenille by the inch, so then I put that in.

JJ: [Inaudible.]

MHC: So, I've been kind of experimenting with using, and I have a piece that I did that's wool and [inaudible.] stitch, and that's found in one of the booths on the floor and she sells wool and patterns so she's got it hanging up.

JJ: So there's plenty of stuff for you to experiment with for the next twenty years.

MHC: Yes, I think I can keep pretty busy. It's just fun to learn techniques and I like taking classes and learning new things and then kind of going home and adapting them to what we have and [inaudible.] traditional Hawaiian, but this I took the measurements from an actual Japanese scroll and then did dimensional flowers so its kind of east meets west and the Anthodium.

JJ: Does that hang in your home or do you--

MHC: It hangs on a door at home sometimes and it travels a lot. It's been in quite a few shows, and it'll be on a six month tour in Japan. Some of my quilts have traveled more than me. [laughter.]

JJ: Well they're easier to pack than we are. Is there anything else that you'd like to share with us?

MHC: I just got a couple of--[tape runs out]

Interview Keyword

Hawaiian quilting
Hawaiian quilters
Hand quilting
Quilting patterns


“Mary Haunani Cesar,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 24, 2024,