Kapa Story

The Lydgate family has deep roots in Hawaii and we designed our logo to reflect that. Beyond the typical sun, surf, hula girls and the pineapples clichés that typify Hawaii branding, we went straight to the roots of Hawaiian design to the ancient art of Kapa, or bark cloth made from the wauke plant (paper mulberry).

Sabra Kauka is a Hawaiian kumu (teacher and practitioner) who specializes in hula, weaving, lei making, feather work, and making kapa cloth. In this video, Sabra, who taught both lei making and oli (Hawaiian ceremonial chants) to our farm owner, Will Lydgate, when he was a young boy in school, worked with our team to understand the art of Kapa. She shared with us the traditional methods for making kapa cloth, the traditional bark cloth, as well as ‘ohe kapala, the bamboo stamps that create the patterns and symbols to tell the stories.

Join our team as we learn alongside Sabra this ancient art and watch the process of creation.

The Story Behind Our Symbols

This form of Hawaiian printing inspired our main logo and the artwork on our bars. Each symbol we chose tells a unique story about our farm, from the open cacao pod to the kalo leaf representing community and caring for the land, the waves that represent wai, the waters that nourish our lands in Wailua, to the right facing triangles that represent generations and growth.

Inspired by the story of our farm and informed by wahi pana (the stories of place names) our kumu (Hawaiian cultural practitioner) and special friend Sabra Kauka helped our designer Cassie Ballard create printed symbols that represent our values and history. Below are each of the designs that were created, along with their meaning and kauna (hidden meaning).

Cacao:

A cacao pod cut in half, this symbol represents both chocolate and thriving agriculture. They also represent physical represent wellbeing as cacao has been used as a daily health tonic by humans for thousands of years, and emotional wellbeing as cacao contains many compounds that produce happiness and contentment. Additionally cacao represents prosperity as the beans were used as a currency of trade in ancient mesoamerica and in some parts of tropical america cacao is still slang for money.

Wai:

Wai is the hawaiian word for fresh water, it is also a giver of life. And because where there is wai there can be thriving agriculture and trade, water is another powerful representation of the true wealth of Kauai which has vast freshwater resources. Lydgate Farms is located on the east side of Kauai in a place called Olohena. Here fresh water springs from Kauai’s deep aquifers springs forth from the ground, and the farm has several natural springs and rivers.

Kalo:

This is a leaf of the kalo or taro plant. Kalo was a staple food of the original Hawaiians and a part of daily life and group meals. Because of this Kalo represents both community and a respect for the native culture. Kalo is also known as Haloa the mythical older sibling of the hawaiian people, deepening it’s symbolic importance to those of Hawaiian heritage. By the use of this symbol Lydgate Farms sets an intention to use the success of the farm to nurture the people and culture of the island of Kauai.

Generations:

These are symbols that stand for five generations, for Emily and Will Lydgate who own Lydgate Farms. The motion of the arrows also stands for progress and positive movement forward.

Crest:

This is for the Lydgate family crest which represents the traditional heritage of the family. It also represents the elements of arts and letters that the family brings with it and the contributions it has made to Kauai such as the creation of the Kauai Historical Society, the preservation of the Heiau (hawaiian temples) in Wailua, and the founding of the Lihue Public Library to name a few.

We took all of these design elements and had our friend Patrick Horimoto make beautifully carved Ohe Kapala (bamboo stamps) out of them. Sabra took ink made from the soot of the kukui nut and printed her representation of the farm onto a piece of kapa cloth that is currently displayed on our farm.

In this piece we see the bedrock of kalo with wai and generations, the wai running through the land to create the abundance of cacao.