Kauaʻi Shell Leis by Cory Karleen
Cory Karleen, from the island of Kauaʻi creates Lei of 100% Kauaʻi Shells.
“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 eight years old, I focused on their cousin shells from Kauai and started to tediously pick these very small specimens and made my first rustic lei when I was ten. By the time I was 14, I was picking 90% of the shells for Kauai’s biggest lei maker. Age 16 through 21 were the years I became a competent Kauai style 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.”