Paniolo Preservation Society Artisan Showcase, September 28 and 29, 2012

The Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables on Parker Ranch provides the stage for a two-day Paniolo Artisan Showcase on Friday, September 28 and Saturday, 29, 2012.  The event showcases the state’s leading saddle makers, rawhide braiders and leather crafters.

The first Paniolo Artisan Showcase, held in September, 2009 at the Kahilu Theatre in Waimea, drew artisans from throughout the Aloha State.  This year’s venue, at the spacious Pukalani Stables, presents a unique “talk story” opportunity enabling attendees to visit with individual crafters in a casual setting.

This admission-free event begins at 9:30 am through 4 pm each day.  At the conclusion of Saturday’s showcase a Country Western band will entertain the crowd until 5:30 pm when Alvin Kawamoto, founder of the Paniolo Artisan Showcase, with the assistance of well-known cowgirl Fern White, will make a surprise presentation to celebrate the lifetime work of an unsuspecting honoree.

A paniolo style paina (supper) will be served beginning at 6:30 pm in the adjoining Hale Aina and a video presentation by Maui saddler, Gretchen Cardoso, detailing her skill and dedication to restoring century-old vintage Hawaiian saddle trees.  Dinner tickets ($15 donation) are available at the Parker Ranch Store, Kamuela Liquor Store or at the gate.

As we prepare for the upcoming event, we highlight a few of the artisans from across the state who are participating in the showcase.  Hailing from Kauai are saddle makers Stanley Valoroso and Clarence Corpuz who bring saddle making skills unique to the Garden Isle.  Traveling from Oahu is Clive Ushijima whose beautifully carved leather work reflects a variety of distinctive Hawaiian floral patterns.

The south wing of the stables will house displays of several Parker Ranch saddle makers who have dutifully retained the more than 120-year-old standard of excellence combined with practical functionality.  The multi-generational artistry of the DeSilva clan will anchor this wing.  Other revered saddlers such as Neal Asai, Frank Hess and Kalei Lindsey will proudly present their classic work. In all, more than sixteen artisans will demonstrate their unique craft.

The work of founder Kawamoto is featured in the central courtyard of the Paniolo Heritage Center.  His work honors the unique styles of saddlers found not only on the Big Island but on Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Lanai and Niihau.  Attendees of the two-day showcase will leave with genuine appreciation for Hawaii’s very special cowboy saddlery.

Paniolo Preservation Society was founded in 1998 by a group of like-minded individuals determined to preserve the unique paniolo culture and life-style of Hawaii.  With a state-wide focus, its mission is to preserve and promote the heritage of the Hawaiian cowboy.  Housed at historic Pukalani Stables on Parker Ranch, the Paniolo Heritage Center is home to paniolo collections of paniolo documents, images, artifacts and museum displays as well as the Oahu Cattlemen Association’s Paniolo Hall of Fame display.  For more information, go to