Making Kapa Cloth Art

Students in Brighid Willson’s art classes tried something new this month as they explored Hawaiian Kapa Cloth art. They were able to pursue this art project thanks to funding arranged by the AAPI Heritage Month Planning Committee and the Parent Association. 

In its traditional form, kapa cloth is made by beating bark down to its fibers, fermenting those fibers and then beating, stretching and shaping them into a seamless cloth. The cloth is then painted using various geometric and natural designs. 

Students created a variation on this art form by gluing layers of mulberry paper together to create a textured surface similar to the kapa cloth. They sketched designs, transferred them to the “cloth” and then painted them. 

Brighid taught the students about how the cloth used to be worn as clothing and was used for other purposes after it wore down so the material was never wasted. 


Located in College Park, MD, Friends Community School is a progressive Quaker K-8 day school, founded on the belief that every child is a valued member of our community. We offer a challenging curriculum imbued with strong values of equality, integrity, community, environmental stewardship, simplicity and peaceful conflict resolution, rooted in our Quaker heritage.
Friends Community School
5901 Westchester Park Drive
College Park, Maryland 20740