The University of Hawaiʻi School of Law Library participates in the Art in Public Places Program offered by the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. The items in the gallery box below are items loaned to our public building for your visual experience. Find them throughout our library for a closer look.
The wooden umeke and calabash bowls that are on permanent display at the Law Library were created by woodworker Dan DeLuz, from Paʻauilo, Hilo. He worked as a roofing contractor on Oʻahu for many years, then returned to Hilo where he encountered a lathe. That is when he connected to his life passion of woodturning.
His first woodshop was Hawaiian Handcraft on Kinoʻole St., Hilo. This shop was moved to Kilauea St. where is it remains today under the name Dan DeLuz Woods.
Mary Lou, his wife, reminisces Dan’s happiness during his creative process. He would do a “rough turn” on a calabash but “leave it for a year before completing it.” Dan did not let deadlines dictate his passion. During his bouts of creativity, he was still “willing to take a break, to talk story, answer questions, and offer a cup of coffee."
Dan also developed a knowledge and appreciation for trees and woods of Hawaiʻi. He followed the Indigenous Hawaiian philosophy of “I ola ʻoe, I ola mākou nei” (my life is dependent on yours; your life is dependent on mine). As a woodworker, he made efforts to protect the living forest. He used wood taken from dead, fallen, dying trees or wood removed near homes for safety reasons and carved calabashes from them.
The function of umeke and calabash bowls represented his life philosophy of “sharing.” His shared his shop with cats, a dog and a cockatiel. He shared his life passion with others, building Hawaiʻi’s woodworking community with the Big Island Woodturners Club, West Hawaiʻi Woodturners Club, and Hawaiʻi Wood Guild.
DeLuz passed away on Jan 15, 2012 at 77 years old. But the gallery is still open. Shaun, Dan DeLuz’s grandson, continues his grandfather’s tradition, while carving out his own style.
Ron Kent is a Hawaiʻi based wood worker who specializes in bowls and vessels known to have a translucent glow. His work has been exhibited in world renowned museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to the Louvre, as well as in local galleries, fairs and art shows.
Kent discovered woodturning in 1975 when his wife Myra gave him a $35.00 toy lathe. His first carving was a piece of driftwood. Eventually, he wore out his first toy lathe for a professional one, making bottle forms, silhouettes with elongated necks and eggs. Then he incorporated oils to bring out translucent light in his works. Norfolk Island Pine, which grows in the South Pacific, became a common wood medium for Kent’s art.
He is considered both a classicist and minimalist, but he refuses to be pigeonholed. After being known for his translucent, thin bowls, he defied expectations by making thick and heavy forms expressed in concave, convex, saddle-shaped, wave sculptures. He also created organic Seaweed forms made of “interwoven randomness of capillary-tube sculptures, and the open-sided inner-mirrored pyramids.”
Kent is known to “rebel against the limitations that success brings...Just as it was experimentation that brought the artist critical acclaim, it was experimentation that freed him to follow his muse.”