ABOUT US

Snow-capped Mauna Loa

Snow-capped Mauna Loa

We're thankful to still live in Na'alehu, the little town where we met, enjoying the simple lifestyle of rural Ka'u. The beautiful mountains and rugged coastline provide an abundance of creative inspiration.

Julie and Tom Pasquale

Julie and Tom Pasquale

We met on the Big Island back in 1988 and have been collaborating since 1990 to create our handcrafted art and jewelry boxes. Contact us with your idea, and we'll work with you to make that vision a reality.

Petroglyph Tile Box

Petroglyph Tile Box

Our design work combines Tom's Koa woodworking with Julie's original ceramic tile. The petroglyph tiles are individually hand-sculpted and contain no lava rock or black sand. No technique is used which might damage actual petroglyphs.

Petroglyphs at HVNP

Petroglyphs at HVNP

Our collaboration began with our petroglyph tile boxes. These symbolic rock carvings are found throughout the islands and are an important aspect of the Native Hawaiian heritage which should be preserved.​The idea for the tile boxes grew from hearing about island visitors who'd taken pieces of lava home with them, only to mail it back after experiencing bad luck attributed to the volcano goddess, Pele.

Koa Drawer Box with Honu tile

Koa Drawer Box with Honu tile

Our name, KUA'AINA (say Koo-uh Eye-nuh), is a nod to both nature's inspiration and the raw materials, wood and clay, that we use to make our art. KUA means back and AINA is the land. The Hawaiian word kua'aina refers to the outlying rural areas, like the place where we work and live on the southern end of Hawaii Island.

Sea Turtles at Punalu'u

Sea Turtles at Punalu'u

The HONU, or Sea Turtle, is one of the most beloved creatures of the ocean and is a universal symbol of long life. Sea Turtles are often seen at Hawaiian beaches, especially at our local black sand beach, Punalu'u.

Honu Tile Mosaic

Honu Tile Mosaic

Julie's original tile mosaic was inspired by the Sea Turtles and black sand at Punalu'u Beach in Ka'u on Hawaii Island. This piece is framed in Koa and includes hand sculpted tiles, broken plates, and semi-precious stones.

Koa Jewelry Box

Koa Jewelry Box

Koa’s curly grain comes in many shades and is prized for use in fine woodworking. Tom uses Koa from dead fall trees harvested from a Big Island ranch. We've grown Koa seedlings for a local reforestation project and are heartened to see more research and interest in Koa forestry here in the islands.

Tom at work in his woodshop

Tom at work in his woodshop

Tom primarily works in Koa which is the king of Hawaii's native woods. These majestic trees were used by the ancient Hawaiians for surfboards, calabashes, and canoe hulls.

Kilauea volcano plume

Kilauea volcano plume

Living on an active volcano is both humbling and awe-inspiring. We love our island home, and strive to share that aloha through our work.

Julie at the Kiln

Julie at the Kiln

Julie makes her tiles by hand, starting with rolling the raw whiteware clay into slabs. Because the tiles are sculpted, glazed and fired here, she is able to help you to make your Koa box truly unique with your own custom tile inset into the lid. When finished, a photo of the tile is sent for your approval before Tom starts building your custom box.

Kinsey and Ziggy

Kinsey and Ziggy

We are happy to share our life with Kinsey and Ziggy. They are good boys who don't especially like posing for photos with flowers. We are also the proud parents of a grown son and school-age granddaughter living on the mainland.

Whatever you are looking for...whether a large Koa Jewelry Dresser, a smaller Koa box, with or without a tile, or anything in between, we'll work with you to make that vision a reality. Contact us today for more information on Custom Orders. Aloha and have a beautiful day.

CUSTOM KOA BOX EXAMPLES:

    © 2017 by Kua'aina Artworks

    Koa Funeral Urns

    Urns are made to your specifications with care and aloha for you and your family.

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