Dale Zarrella Completes Another Statue

The blessing of the finished statue

The blessing of the finished statue of St. Marianne Cope

Dale Zarrella’s sculpture of Saint Marianne Cope received a traditional Hawaiian blessing and a blessing by the priest from the local Catholic Church on June 14, 2015.

Mother Marianne came to the leper colony on Molokai as Father (now Saint) Damien was dying. She cared for Damien until his death, then assumed his ministry to the residents of Kalaupapa. Her ministry was particularly directed at women and girls. Saint Marianne was canonized in 2012.

The model for the young girl beside Mother Marianne was Dale Zarrella’s granddaughter. She and her younger brother are in front of Dale in the photo above.


The life sized statue was cared out the trunk of a monkey pod tree.

The statue was carved from this monkey pod tree

The statue was carved from this monkey pod tree

Dale began the work by making a half sized statue from clay. This was then cast in plaster. He then used giant calipers to translate the major dimensions of the half sized study into the full sized statue.

Half size plaster study of Mother Marianne and child

Half size plaster study of Mother Marianne and child

The first rough cuts are done with a chain saw. The last touches are with 2000 grit sandpaper.

First cuts

First cuts

Dale Zarrella – the Eye of an Artist

Dale Zarrella’s next project is a statue of Mother (now Saint) Marianne of Molokai. Mother Marianne arrived at Kalaupapa (the leper colony) on Molokai in 1888 after Father Damien contracted leprosy. She tended the dying Father Damien then took over his work for the remainder of her long life. The statue of Marianne will join Dale’s life-size statue of Saint Damien in the Father Damien Museum in Honolulu.

On the left is the Monkey Pod tree trunk that will become Dale's next statute. The image on the right  shows Dale's plaster study for Marianne superimposed over the tree trunk. The half-size plaster study is enlarged here to give an idea of what will emerge from the wood.

On the left is the Monkey Pod tree trunk that will become Dale’s next statue. The image on the right shows Dale’s plaster study for Saint Marianne superimposed over the tree trunk. The half-size plaster study is enlarged here to give an idea of what will emerge from the wood.

Click here, here, here, and here, to see other examples of Dale’s work.

Dale Zarrella discovers mermaid in tree trunk

Mermaid 1Maui artist and Maui Vista neighbor, Dale Zarrella, finished his Damien sculpture last winter. (Click here to learn more about Zarrella’s life-size koa wood sculpture of Father/Saint Damien.)

After carving a green sea turtle out of a koa remnant from the Damien statue, Zarella decided to turn his hand to something a little larger…

This five thousand pound stump from an old monkey pod tree sat in his outdoor studio at the north end of Charley Young Beach when we arrived in early April.

The outline emerges

The outline emerges

By the middle of the month, the outlines of Zarrella’s latest work began to emerge. This is the chainsaw and power tool stage. Progressively finer carving tools – and ultimately – 2000 grit sandpaper are used later.

By the end of April the mermaid’s form was readily apparent. In addition, large sea turtles began to appear below her body and tail.

This large sculpture is the latest in a series of Mermaids Zarrella has carved. Two of his life-sized mermaids can be seen in the lobby of the Makena Golf and Beach Resort. Click here to learn about Zarrella’s artist tour that takes place every Wednesday evening at the resort.

Mermaid 2Notice the void in the stump above the mermaid’s left arm and hand. The three rocks holding down papers on the scaffold were lodged in the crevice and the tree grew around them. They must have been placed there a long time ago!

Stay tuned for more.

Art, Culture and Chocolate – An Evening with Dale Zarrella

Every Wednesday evening Maui artist (and Maui Vista neighbor) Dale Zarrella gives a free guided tour of his sculptures at the Makena Beach and Golf Resort (formerly the Maui Prince Hotel). Not only do you get art and entertainment, Zarrella brings home-made chocolates shaped like little turtles. You can’t go wrong. Check with the resort to confirm dates and times.

Zarrella has four major works on display at the resort – two in the lobby and two in the restaurant downstairs. The two sculptures in the lobby are from Zarrella’s mermaid series: Mermaid Dream and Ka’ikehohonu (also known as 110 Turtles). Mermaid Dream began as a 3,000 pound Rain Shower tree root from which Zarrella removed 2,000 pounds of wood to reveal the mermaid. See Zarrella’s website (http://dalezarrella.com/) for a series of pictures on the making of this, and other, works.

Mermaid Dream

Ka’ikehohonu – 110 Turtles

Maui catching the sun (photo from Dale Zarrella website)

A life size bronze of the demi-god Maui holding the net by which he captured the sun can be found in the downstairs restaurant is. The net, we’re told, was woven from the hair of his sister Pele, the goddess of fire. I guess that must be why the net didn’t catch fire. (Click here for the story of Maui slowing the sun.)

The final piece of Zarrella’s work shows the bust and face of a woman emerging from a tree. The upside down stump turns the roots of the tree into wild hair blowing upward by the wind.

During the talk, Zarrella said the wood for this piece was found on Oprah’s Hana ranch while he was horse backing riding with some paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy)  friends of his.

See our other posts on Dale Zarrella:

Maui Artist Dale Zarrella at Work

Dale Zarrella’s Damien Taking Shape

Dale Zarrella and Helper Carve a Vision in Sand



Dale Zarrella’s Damien taking shape

We’ve written about Maui artist Dale Zarrella in this blog before. (See Maui Artist Dale Zarrella at Work, Frank Lloyd Wright and the King Kamehameha Golf Club, and Dale Zarrella and Helper Create a Vision in Sand.) His koa wood sculpture of Father (now Saint) Damien is entering the polishing phase. Saint Damien, “the Apostle of the Lepers” was canonized in 2009 for his work in the 19th century caring for those quarantined in the leper colony on the peninsula of Kaluapapa on the Island of Moloka’i.

If you look closely at the picture below, Damien has his hand on the shoulder of a young child. Next to Damien’s shoes you can see the child’s toes sticking out beneath the robes that hide his leprosy ravaged body.

Zarrella often works with large blocks of monkeypod but chose the the harder koa wood for Damien because “he was a tough old bird.”

Dale Zarrella’s Saint Damien – September 2012

As we’ve noted before, Zarrella works outdoors overlooking the sea at the north end of Charley Young Beach. He began this piece with a plaster study, about one-quarter life size. A bronze cast from the study now resides in the Vatican Museum in Rome. This life sized sculpture is destined for the Damien Museum in Honolulu.

Dale Zarrella and Helper Carve a Vision in Sand

Dale Zarrella and Helper

Sometimes artists play at their work. From our other posts (and maybe other sources) you know that Dale Zarrella is an accomplished sculptor on Maui. (See Maui Artist Dale Zarrella at Work and Frank Lloyd Wright and the King Kamehameha Golf Club.) We can’t call it a timeless work of art, but in this photo Zarrella and his granddaughter have created something wonderful out of the shifting sands of Charley Young Beach.

This female turtle has laid a clutch of eggs. Like her more sentient sisters she will soon disappear beneath the waves – never to know her young.

You can never tell what you’ll find when you cross the road from Maui Vista and explore Charley Young Beach. We do it every day we’re here.

Frank Lloyd Wright and the King Kamehameha Golf Club

As you approach the building on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains, the silhouette of the King Kamehameha Golf Club clubhouse might remind you of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Marin County (California) Courthouse. However, if you thought the clubhouse is a derivative of the Marin County design, you’d be mistaken. The clubhouse has an interesting history that long predates the Marin County building.

The 75,000 sq ft clubhouse evolved from unrealized plans for a 7,000 sq ft luxury home for a couple in Forth Worth Texas in 1949. Two years later, Wright enlarged and adapted the design for another client, this time in Mexico for a site on the cliffs above Acapulco. Again, the house was never built. In 1957, he once more adapted the design for none other than Marilyn Monroe and her third and final husband Arthur Miller. Because of this, the clubhouse is sometimes called the “the Marilyn Monroe house.” The next year, before the house could be built, Monroe’s marriage to Miller ended in divorce. Wright died in 1959 and never saw the building except on paper and in his fertile mind.

Of course there is a huge difference between a large house and a 75,000 sq ft clubhouse, so much of the design is actually by Taliesan Architects who inherited the original concept and drawings from Wright. Nonetheless, the much expanded building includes many elements by the master himself – including a lovely staircase, expansive art glass, and an amazing elevator door. The overall design concept was preserved by putting two thirds of the expansion underground.

Seen from the entry on the Mauka side (literally the “mountain side” or “toward the mountains”) all resemplance to the Marin County Courthouse falls away.

Outside the front entrance is a 7 foot bronze statue, The Conch Blower, by Maui artist Dale Zarrella. Legend has it that the Pu (shell) of Waikapu could only be blown by warriors of particular merit. They say the shell’s call could be heard in Hana, 50 miles away. Those warriors must have had some powerful lungs!

Additional works of art by Dale Zarrella and other Maui artists can be seen inside the clubhouse, elsewhere on the grounds, and by visiting the golf club’s website (see link below).

Oh yes – you can golf too. While King Kamehameha Golf Club is Maui’s only private 18-hole course, you can buy a “guest for the day” pass and enjoy a round of golf in a spectacular setting.

To learn more about the King Kamehameha Golf Club – the Frank Lloyd Wright design, the club’s art collection and golfing opportunities – visit their website at http://www.kamehamehagolf.com/ To see our other posts about Dale Zarella, click here or, for a little wimsy, here.

Mele Ukulele!

Mele Ukulele, at 1750 Kaahumanu Ave, Wailuku, is a joy. The walls are lined with ukuleles from affordable to professional show-stopping hand-crafted beauties. The shop is well marked but small and easy to miss. Just remember that as you drive uphill toward Wailuku on Kaahumanu, it’s on your right (almost next door to Stillwell’s) just before you go under the only overpass in Maui.

If you’re lucky, there will be some old timers (or young prodogies) testing some of their favorite instruments. Even if you never expect to buy a ukulele, if you’re in the area, stop by and savor the beauty of fine craftsmanship. As you can see from our photo, there are friendly welcoming people there. You won’t regret it.

To learn more about Mele Ukulele, check out their website at www.meleukulele.com

Free slack key guitar festival on Maui

Every June, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahalui hosts a free concert of slack key guitar. This year (2012) it’s on June 24. The event starts at 1:00 and goes until 7:00 in the evening. As the day goes on the performers get better and better. At the beginning you might hear school groups. Later there are talented young people perhaps performing with their teacher/mentor. By late afternoon/evening there are terrific professionals playing the finest classics of Hawaiian slack key.

Bring your lawn chair (there are 4 in our condo) and hang out. Limited beverages and snacks are available for sale but you can also bring a picnic basket (use our cooler!) and enjoy your own at no cost.

If you’re on the island at the right time, this is a MUST SEE.

There are lots more events and activities at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Check out their website for additional information at http://www.mauiarts.org/

Maui artist Dale Zarrella at work

Those of us who live or stay at Maui Vista are fortunate to have the wonderful sculptor and painter Dale Zarrella as a nearby neighbor. You can often see him at work perched above the rocks at the north end of Charley Young Beach. In this photo he is working on the nearly completed koa wood sculpture of Saint Damien of Molokai.

This life size statue is destined for the Damien Museum in Honolulu. A bronze made from Zarrella’s quarter size study for the piece (the smaller white statue to the left of Zarrella) was dedicated at the Vatican Museum in April 2012.

Father Damien – now Saint Damien – was cannonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 9, 2009 for his work in the 19th century caring for the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of those quarantined in the leper colony on the peninsula of Kaluapapa on the Island of Moloka’i. Called “the Apostle of the Lepers” by the Catholic Encyclopedia, Father Damien eventually contracted leprosy (now a treatable condition called Hansen’s disease) and, after 16 years ministering to the sick and dying, he too succumbed to its ravages.

You can admire other works by Dale Zarrella at his website dalezarrella.com. We also have a nice picture of a lifesize bronze by Zarrella in our post Frank Lloyd Wright and the King Kamehameha Golf Club. For an update on the Damien sculpture, click here. One sculpture by Zarrella you won’t find anywhere else can be seen by clicking here.