Moanililia Miller is the founder and visionary for Fiber Designs Hawai'i. Jewelry making is very intimate and personal for her because she connects with her customer and their authentic being in order to inspire and create something of significance. Most of her inspiration comes from her cultural roots and her connection to where she lives in Hawai'i. Her passions seeps through as she loves to integrate her home into her art. Her art, her jewelry, her home decor all come with a story. Everything she creates has a narrative, some kind of symbolism or a significance that may only ever exist in her mind, but presents itself as pure beauty. She has honed her skill over the years and has defined the basis of how and why she chooses to express herself through fiber arts.
In December of 2019, I attended a fundraiser for the first beneficiary charity for Optimist Made, The Happy Kids Foundation. The fundraiser was hosted at a beautiful house in Hermosa Beach and on the ground floor of the home, there was a silent auction. In my haste to want to support Happy Kids in any way possible, I b-lined for the auction to peruse the items with my close friend and Optimist Made muse, Laura. It was not long before we both realized we were interested in the same items. I thought we would be able to devise a 'divide and conquer' strategy for acquiring items until we reached this amazing Macra-weave Wall Hanging (similar to the one pictured above). In one gaze at the wall hanging and then at each other, it was clear that the competitive spirit was alive and we were two friends at war for art. In the end, neither of us won the bid, but I won a relationship with the artist's sister, Christine. To my delight, I learned that Christine was the same woman who I had heard so much about and had been selflessly dedicating her time over the years to Happy Kids AND she was at the event! The connection was made and it was in short order that I was smitten with the work of Moani, founder and designer for Fiber Designs, as well as her fierce determination and reliable follow-through. And in the words of her sister (Christine), she says, "Moani is one of the most talented, creative, beautiful humans in the world, seriously. Her gentle loving soul shines thru in all that she does but especially through her art." And we at Optimist Made could not agree with her more!