Niʻihau Collectors’ Lei, 56″ 3-Strand Kipona. Crafted by master artisan Corey Karleen.
About The Artist ~ Corey’s Story
As a small child, I could walk out of my house – right onto Haena Beach – and delve into an amazing world of beautiful shells. Hearing the story of Ni’ihau shells when I was 8 years old, I focused on their cousin shells from Kaua’i and started to tediously pick these very small specimens, making my first rustic lei when I was just 10. But ages 16 through 21 were the years I became a competent lei maker.
For love, I moved to the mainland for 10 years and, upon my return, continued studying the art of shell lei through my favorite childhood book, Ni’ihau Shell Leis by Linda Park. I was truly inspired to make the leis in the book and could feel the passion running through my blood, and deep in my soul. I told myself I would do whatever it takes to carry on this amazing tradition. I hope that, when looking at this art, other people feel the same sense of awe that inspired me to create my leis.