Designing With The Islands In Mind

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - November 11, 2009
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
| Share

Marla Momi Musick shows off some of her jewelry at Native Books Na Mea Hawaii in Ward Warehouse

The smell of the sanding wheel with which her maternal grandfather crafted opihi shell and kukui nut jewelry is just one of the fond memories that serves as Marla Momi Musick’s inspiration for her artistic endeavors. With her company Designs by Momi, she fashions contemporary jewelry.

Her Hawaiian Values Collection features silver pendants representing graciousness (ka ‘olu ‘olu), excellence (ke kela), harmony (ka lokahi) and family (ohana).

“I’m using my Hawaiian Values silver, silver coral branches and shells, and incorporating that into woven cording design,” says the Kamehameha Schools graduate of her newest work.

Rounding out her Hawaiian Values Collection are a Hawaiian ti-leaf necklace and a Hawaiian proverb necklace, as well as the start of a line of ocean-themed jewelry in her Voyaging collection sparked by her interest in paddling. Her Pahu collection showcases the scalloped design of the pahu drum on a bracelet and earrings.

She displays her work exclusively at Native Books Na Mea Hawaii.

“We need places like Native Books Na Mea Hawaii who support the artists,” she says. “What is great about them is they offer space to the community so they can meet the artist and communicate with them directly. This way, people get to know you and what your style is, and they look for new pieces. It’s nice to get to know the artist and see the changing of styles.

“One woman bought six of my ohana pieces and gave them to her siblings when their mom passed away,” says Musick. “That is the sort of relationship that means something to them.”

She adds that if her jewelry is not available at Native Books Na Mea Hawaii, anything that is in the comprehensive portfolio on her Web site can be ordered.

She also does graphic design, and that side of her business focuses on logos, business stationery, invitations and newsletters.

With a master’s in visual arts administration from New York University, Musick’s career path has included working in membership, fundraising and design at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the New York Public Library. While she lived in New York, she took advanced jewelry-making classes, and she eventually began creating designs with Hawaiian themes.

“That was a sign that I was starting to miss home,” Musick says.

She returned to Hawaii in 2005, and in addition to her jewelry and graphic design business, the Pacific Heights resident works full time as communications director for Hawaii Arts Alliance and participates in Maoli Arts Month.

She says she appreciates the help and support of all of her friends, family and customers.

“It takes a leap of faith to be a creative person,” she admits.

For more information, call Native Books Na Mea Hawaii at 596-8885 or log onto

E-mail this story | Print this page | Comments (0) | Archive | RSS Comments (0) |

Most Recent Comment(s):

Posting a comment on requires a free registration.



Auto Login

Forgot Password

Times Supermarket




Tiare Asia and Alex Bing
were spotted at the Sugar Ray's Bar Lounge