the artist

Makaki'i (Maka) is of island ancestry, her parents born and raised on Hawai'i. They instilled in Maka a love of all things Hawaiian at an early age. By age ten, she was a student of Kumu Hula Joe Kaha'ulelio.

Summers were spent with family in Hilo and each time she visited, Maka would return with a hula doll. Sometimes these were family heirlooms, and always, they were a treasured gift from an Aunty or Uncle. For Maka they embodied the spirit of aloha and represented a special time in her childhood. As she grew up, she studied under other hula masters and eventually earned her own right to be called Kumu Hula. During her studies she mastered the art of hula adornments, and clothing. Her Hawaiian doll collection grew as well.


Makaki`i Chaves Kalama

Maka's first handcrafted doll was conceived as a very special tribute to her Kumu in 1992. The doll was meticulously crafted in fine porcelain, the skin tones hand rubbed and painted to capture the beauty of an island child. Lifelike hair and handblown glass eyes were used to enhance the realism. The costume carefully replicated traditional kahiko attire. Maka's love of Hawaii manifested in this creation.

Giving that first doll away left a surprising feeling of emptiness in Maka's heart, and soon another doll was underway. When friends began asking her to make dolls for them, she found renewed joy in each creation. Every doll she made seemed to share with the new owner the childhood joy Maka felt when she was given hula dolls. Since then each doll coming from the hands of Maka has been unique, and always representative of the mana and aloha that is Hawai'i.