Temari’s Treasure: Esther Nowell

Temari honors esteemed ceramicist and artist Esther Nowell as this year’s Temari Treasure given her countless contributions to Hawaii’s arts, not only as a technical craftsperson but also as a role model to all artists to continue to keep creating. Esther has been working with clay for more than 80 years and can still be found teaching, painting, sketching and creating on a daily basis.

“In the very young days of Temari,” says Ann Asakura, Temari Hawaii co-founder and executive director, “Esther would be sweltering away with her young buddy Judy Kawabata in the McKinley cafeteria at our annual Trash & Treasure festival. She would sell her handmade ceramics, and is fondly remembered for whacking mounds of clay and shaping them with rice paddles at Hawaii Potter's Guild. At 98, she’s still teaching and continues to inspire us. Esther writes, draws and doodles in her journal every day. She records her thoughts and visions, and constantly feeds herself creatively with her journals.”

Just two years shy of being one of our most treasured centenarians, Esther Nowell is an artist who has supported Temari since our founding years and continues to do so. She is an inspiration to many with her unyielding fire to remain curious, being open to trying new methods and art forms, and believing “there’s always more to learn” in her own words.

Noelani Kimura