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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » The Mystery of the Hawaiian Fern Wood Tiki
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The Mystery of the Hawaiian Fern Wood Tiki
Zeta
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Feb 13, 2007
Posts: 2049
From: Atlantis/Basque Country/Spain/Mexico
Posted: 2010-03-12 11:13 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-03-03 01:22, Sabu The Coconut Boy wrote:

[ This Message was edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2010-03-06 00:10 ]


Picture taken by yours truly
Thank you

This Tiki is currently in an storage room in Madrid, Spain.
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¡Viva Tiki! Ambassador of Tiki in Mexico. Zeta is specialized in the research, study and preservation of Tiki culture in Latin countries.


 
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JONPAUL
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 12, 2010
Posts: 134
From: Venice, California
Posted: 2010-03-12 11:19 am   Permalink

Talk about crazy timing!

Marie and I just rescued this guy from an estate sale backyard last week...






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TikiG
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 17, 2008
Posts: 1532
From: Riverside, California
Posted: 2010-03-12 11:54 am   Permalink

Nice score JonPaul

Proof. Treasures are still in the wild

(Just curious - found where? OC or LA County? or?)
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TikiG

tiki since '67!


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4247
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-03-12 5:20 pm   Permalink

Zeta,

Nice Tiki, where did you find that?

Jon Paul,

Excellent rescue, are you going to try any restoratoin?

DC


 
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Zeta
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Feb 13, 2007
Posts: 2049
From: Atlantis/Basque Country/Spain/Mexico
Posted: 2010-03-16 2:07 pm   Permalink

Dusty,
That tiki was part of the decoration from the legendary House of Ming in Madrid that I bought when the Hawaiian bar closed in 2005.
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¡Viva Tiki! Ambassador of Tiki in Mexico. Zeta is specialized in the research, study and preservation of Tiki culture in Latin countries.


 
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Tucker's Tikis
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 07, 2010
Posts: 26
Posted: 2010-03-16 3:42 pm   Permalink

This is a thoroughly enjoyable thread. Thanks for all the history.

 
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aquarj
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1074
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2010-03-17 4:30 pm   Permalink

Cross-posted from a contribution to a different great Sabu thread.



I wonder what's the story on that tiki, both in date and location, given the photo credit to "Orchids of Hawaii, Inc., N.Y." Speaking of which, as a side note, I don't know if anyone's ever established whether the Orchids of Hawaii company has some relation to actual orchid flowers. That would overlay in an interesting way with Sabu's comments above about the orchid craze stimulating the use of Hawaiian tree ferns. Another, possibly different, OOH...



-Randy


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Bay Park Buzzy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2006
Posts: 2829
From: West Bay Park, San Diego, CA
Posted: 2010-03-17 4:43 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-03-17 16:30, aquarj wrote:
Speaking of which, as a side note, I don't know if anyone's ever established whether the Orchids of Hawaii company has some relation to actual orchid flowers. That would overlay in an interesting way with Sabu's comments above about the orchid craze stimulating the use of Hawaiian tree ferns. Another, possibly different, OOH...




This pile of "vintage Hawaiian seeds" came with this little set of instructions:


I got this as part of a small lot of things from the early 60's.

Buzzy Out!
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2792
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2010-03-17 4:59 pm   Permalink

All the brochures and flyers from Orchids of Hawaii (the location in Hawaii) that I've seen indicate it sold orchids only. Don't know how or if it's related to the mug & tiki-decor franchise of the same name in New York.

Does anyone know if the OOH of New York also sold Orchids? I haven't seen photos indicating such in bigbro's pictures of their catalog.

So yes, very cool that they sold Fern Wood tikis as well as other wood tikis, but these were probably the cheap imports from Hawaii or other Far East sources. It does indicate only a tenuous connection between orchid-growing and fern-wood tiki carving, unless we can establish a connection between the two OOH companies.


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[ This Message was edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2010-03-17 17:15 ]


 
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Badd Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 28, 2008
Posts: 370
Posted: 2010-03-17 5:53 pm   Permalink

Nice subject, some cool tikis

I guess Kalani's wood shop teacher never stressed the importance of protective eyewear, or chest, arm, leg ware for that matter


 
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Or Got Rum?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 29, 2009
Posts: 331
From: Wisconsin
Posted: 2010-03-18 05:29 am   Permalink

Sabu, This might answer your Orchid question. An Ad from a 1952 New York Guidebook I have. Hope it helps. OGR





[ This Message was edited by: Or Got Rum? 2010-03-18 05:30 ]


 
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CheekyGirl
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 21, 2003
Posts: 976
From: Like Oh My Gawd..San Fernando Valley
Posted: 2010-03-18 1:04 pm   Permalink

Wow, really fascinating reading.

 
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TIKIBOSKO
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 17, 2004
Posts: 323
Posted: 2010-04-29 12:40 pm   Permalink

Hey Sabu I have no idea how you (and so many other people here) get the time to do this as frequently and effectively as you do, when I sit to write a post it takes a day, when I have to back it up with photo reference, forget it, but your research is inspiring.
Thanks for pointing out the height discrepancy, I was always amazed at the size of this carving but as a Polynesian pop revivalist I respect them even more (now) for using the smaller hut to screw with our sense of scale, artistic license at its finest.

I’ve been digging around thru my reference for something to compare the “paw” hands to, this Massim New Guinea piece is the closest I could come up with but who knows if the fern carver ever saw it?






I was going to make a joke about the plastic rabbit being the basis of the “paws” but then it is from the right time period, so?







“Made in Hawaii” or not, after all these years of Tiki collecting I immediately take all claims, text, legends or history with a huge grain of salt. In junior high school a classmate’s mother wholesaled tourist shop stuff to Hawaii and I still vividly remember how cynical and jaded the girl was about how “all that junk comes from California”. The people that sell/sold any Polynesian pop products were doing just that, selling, the consumer bought not just the product but perhaps more importantly the illusion this thing carried. Today we love Don’s tropical drinks, a certain restaurant, designer, or carver’s creations, (even something crudely executed had the intent) because often these things were great. But in many cases they worked just as hard creating an elaborate mystique or legend that the customers would buy into. Some of the people that wrote LP liner or menu notes (for instance) were amazing, it is like reading exotica porn. ? One of the first vintage articles Sven showed me was the “Backyard Polynesia” article, in BOT pg 250 there is a partial clipping of the story. One of the Tikis was described as being “God of the barbeque” I was floored, it was such obvious BS, but so creative. It really brought home the concept that this was a “mainland” pop phenomenon and clearly someone really must have believed it. Recognizing or appreciating the poetry of it is one thing, but (to me or maybe I’m not reading enough here?) that some of these things were a lie (for lack of a better term) seems to slip under the radar here on TC. It could be when people buy into a “con” they believe it whole heartedly or maybe there is a negative connotation to it and we don’t want to focus on that? Over the years when talking to people that were involved in Tiki (first time around) it never ceases to amaze me what lengths they went to perpetuating “their” legends and how some aspects were a “secret”. Often they’ll try and get one over on me until I tell them I am actually in on it, but that they still continue to use the stories 40/50 years on gives you an idea how deeply embedded they were. Also some originators were very different people than their public persona, which makes the movement even more fascinating.

Oddly though there are parallels today (which is a whole other topic) and why or how “educated” Tiki people can’t see the obvious or can justify something absurd is astonishing, but I guess it’s why their naïve grandparents went for it back in the day?



If you read the other ads on the Pallys flyer, you’ll see some of what I am talking about, the “Authentic” New Zealand Tiki Masks or the Tahitian God of good Fortune”. It’s all amazing hokum; a detail like where the Fern Tiki actually came from is a minor issue.







Having said all of this it is quite possible that these were carved in Hawaii, the style seems to have a “Western” approach, more than things you saw coming for the Philippines or other parts of the Pacific. Economically it doesn’t seem likely and again I take all these things with a grain of salt. But all it takes is someone posting about a family member being the person who started this giant (fern) carving business in Hawaii and then what did Bosko know?






A fact I can actually add to this post; the first fern carving I consciously examined was on the Webley Edwards LP “Hawaii Island of dreams”.





Even way back when I was just starting out it was obvious the caver must have had a tremendous grasp of Tiki carving to do such a “modern” version of a Hawaiian style.

I was so inspired that I based my 6th ceramic piece on the style, for some reason people thought I was going for the Frankoma mug but it was in fact that fern Tiki.








My very best alohas,
Bosko


 
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throberts2
Member

Joined: May 11, 2010
Posts: 1
Posted: 2010-05-11 5:24 pm   Permalink

I am looking for a new fern wood tiki and found this site. I can shed some light on the subject, I bought mine in 1961 for a house in hawaii. I think I ordered it from a prison in Hawaii because I was told it was carved by prisoners. It maybe that I ordered it from the old Bamboo Window. Guess I am not going to get a new one.

 
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Matt Reese
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 09, 2005
Posts: 1148
From: San Diego
Posted: 2010-05-11 7:08 pm   Permalink

This is truly interesting. Thanks Sabu. The fernwood tiki I own was actually carved by my Aunt's brother in law in the early 60's. I always kind of thought that he just carved what he could find. I didn't realize until years later that fern wood tikis were more common. I'm guessing they were easier to carve than hardwood and possibly lighter for shipping purposes. It may have been a rise in tourism that caused their existence. Mine is in a much more traditional Ku style, I'm guessing that's because it was carved by an American.
I really dig the look they have. They're so rich in texture and give off a real sense of age.
Too bad there aren't tree ferns available to carve.
Great thread.


 
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