Norfolk Island 1996
Herman Pi’ikea Clark and Sue Pearson began designing and printing textiles out of a small artist workshop on Norfolk Island in 1996, two years later they were married in the backyard of Hermanʻs great grandmother’s home at Lae o ka O’io, Ka’a’awa, Oʻahu. Instead of wedding rings, they decided to exchange special objects from their respective cultures that they would hand make for one another. On their wedding day, Sue gifted Herman a beautiful woven papale which she made in the traditional Norfolk Island style. Knowing her strong interest in kapa making, Herman made Sue a set of tools for Hawaiian kapa making: a kua la’au/wooden kapa pounding anvil, with two ‘ie kuku pounders and a shark tooth knife.
Brought together by a desire to explore their heritage through art, they combined these traditional Pacific printing techniques with contemporary materials and tools and Pili Pacific was born. Over twenty years later to today, Sue continues to use these same tools to produce lengths of kapa cloth which she incorporates into her designs for Pili Pacific.
Today, their studio is in Whakatane, Aotearoa “New Zealand” and their storefront in Honolulu, HI. Sue and Herman raised both of their children in Aotearoa and their son John, named after Hermans brother, CEO of Pili Pacific, now swims for the University of Hawaii at Mānoa on the island of Oʻahu.