Who is Al “Alapaki” Rabold?
Al has lived in Kula, Maui since 1999. An associate from Honolulu first started calling him Alapaki, the Hawai’ian transliteration of his first name, about 15 years ago. He grew up on the east coast. As a kid, he discovered his first loves - painting, drawing and sculpture - anything creative. He experimented with the traditional materials when he could afford them and, much to his parent’s chagrin, walls, floors, woodwork and sidewalks when he couldn’t.
He briefly studied architecture until the realities of adulthood and supporting a family struck home. He instead elected to be sensible and pursued a career as an engineer for the next thirty years. Lurking in the background was always that first love, which he indulged as a hobby, filling his garage with tools and art supplies, and his house with paintings, drawings, cabinetry and custom furniture. Over the years, the grains, textures, colors and smells of exotic hardwoods evolved into a real passion.
Fortunately, he was encouraged to try woodturning in 1998 and sculpture in 2000. Al was very excited to discover that the nature of both encouraged a more organic integration of wood’s characteristics into his work. His designs began to evolve as the wood was cut, allowing the grain patterns and colors to dictate the shapes and details of the piece and become one with the wood.
Al’s first major sculpture, “Flowers for Ku’u Ipo”, was one of 170 pieces of almost 900 entries selected for juried exhibition in Art Maui 2001. It also received an Honorable Mention for sculpture in Na La’au o Hawai’i, The Hawai’i Forest Industry Association’s Wood show 2001. In September of 2003 Na La’au o Hawai’i honored his entry, “Laua’e”, a sculptured turning, as Best of Show. His work has also appeared in Art Maui 2002, Inspired Hands 2002 and Inspired Hands 2003. He is proud to have been one of the producers of Inspired Hands 2003 which was held as a benefit for Junior Achievement of Maui.
Al’s work may be seen at The Village Gallery in Lahaina, the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua, the Avalene Gallery in Makawao, the Arthur Dennis Williams Gallery in Paia and the Nohea Gallery in Honolulu and Waikiki. He is a member of the Maui Woodworker’s Guild, the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center, the Hawai’i Forest Industry Association and the American Woodturner’s Association. His recently developed “Turned Marquetry” inlay technique is expected to be published in the Winter 2003 issue of American Woodturner magazine.
“Wood is a very spiritual, living medium. Be one with it and it reveals
its beauty perfectly
- forced, it yields only mediocrity.” – Al
The chosen wood, camphor, is mildly fragrant like the fern and the interlocking leaves first enclosing a secluded but visible space then flaring open to free the enclosed space was inspired by the Hawaiian word of its title, meaning a fragrant fern, beloved or to cherish.
Pa’u o Hi’iaka
(Skirts of Hi’iaka)
Pa’u o Hi’iaka is the delicate pink or purple morning glory found along the sand line on many of Maui’s beaches. It is also the name of my wife Jeanne’s hula halau, hence the inspiration. The woods are golden prima vera, koa, milo and hau with white casting acrylic used for the stamen. The inlay goes all the way through the turning and is visible from the inside too.
Milo No. 1
Just a simple shape to showcase a beautiful piece of milo.
One of Jeanne’s orchids was the model for "Tenuous Beauty". A tree in Kihei with an orchid clinging to it inspired the idea. The milo base sat in my shop for months waiting for an application that would take best advantage of its unique beauty. The three converged into this piece. Victor Holmes supplied the milo.
Contact Al Rabold: