We are huge fans of Lola Pilar Hawai'i and are thrilled to work on a very special collab with her!
Kristen Reyno of Lola Pilar Hawai'i pours so much love into her pieces as she puts her unique spin on the beauty of Hawaiian Quilts. Her photography of Hawaii’s most loved fruits and flowers transports you to a lush island paradise.
We worked with her to create a beautiful frame for all of your baby's photos with two swaddle blankets perfect for those monthly milestone memories: Picture Perfect Pua and Monstera Memories.
We chatted with this sweet and talented artist to get an inside look at her inspiration to start Lola Pilar Hawaii, her creative process, and her plans for the future...
Hi Kristen! Can you please share a little about what inspired you to create contemporary art inspired by Vintage Hawaiian Quilts?
I’ve been a professional photographer for over 15 years. I started my career shooting product photography for a surf company in Huntington Beach, California then moved back home to Hawaii to start my own photography business in 2010. I specialized in weddings, portraits, and freelancing for local Hawaii Magazines. In 2018 I felt I needed more of a creative outlet, so I started Lola Pilar Hawaii. I wanted to photograph the beauty of Hawaii in not just it’s people but a unique way still showcasing Hawaii.
Our brand’s name consisted of a Hawaiian Quilt logo, so I thought why don’t I start photographing local plants found throughout Hawaii and arrange them in designs that are inspired by vintage Hawaiian quilts. My background is in product photography and styling, and I have a love for flowers and bright colors. So I put that all together and started shooting for the pure fun of it.
We named our company “Lola Pilar Hawaii” to honor our Grandmothers.
Lola is “grandma” in the Filipino community and Pilar was my husband‘s grandmother. She made Aloha Shirts in Los Angeles California. My Grandmas also had a love for flowers, one of them made dried flower wreaths for fun and another was a seamstress for Lee Jeans and made quilts in her spare time. They were all strong creative women with an influence on our lives.
Do you have a favorite plant or flower to photograph?
From the beginning of my first collection I have been really drawn to the Bombax flower from a tree in our neighborhood. The little pink Musa Ornata Ornamental Bananas are also something I like to use because they are so fun. Flowers are so unique and vibrant it’s impossible to have a favorite.
What is the most challenging part of creating your art?
The most challenging part about creating my art is actually finding the flora I want to use. Finding the pieces can take days or even weeks. I also have to have in mind the flowers I am using because they can start wilting very quickly. So on the more delicate species I really have to plan my shoot carefully.
How long does it usually take you to create a typical piece?
Creating a piece can take around 3-6 hours depending on the complexity. Often times the flowers don’t cooperate with showing me their best side so I have to coax that out of them. I have learned to get creative with that process.
How do you stay inspired and keep your creative juices flowing, especially during trying times like these?
Hawaii in general is such an inspiring place. There is so much color and great design in nature, being outside and surrounded by it is contagious. I also find myself being attracted to creative people and I think that helps. One of the things that helps me the most with staying creative is finding a right balance between work and play.
What is something that has surprised you since starting Lola Pilar Hawaii?
When I started creating art for Lola Pilar, it was something I was doing as an outlet for myself. It allowed me to show a loud vibrant fun part of myself that I don’t find easy to articulate through words. One of the things that has surprised me are the comments that come from people that it makes them happy.
Your husband John contributes his talents by creating the custom wood frames for your art. Can you please share a little about what makes those frames so special?
My husband owns Hawaii Modern, a business on Oahu specializing in sourcing, restoring, and selling postwar modern furniture and objects. With so much Mid 20th Century Art and design around, it has had an influence on my art. So when it was time to create frames it felt natural to allow him to have creative license. He uses a lot of locally sourced hardwood to build heirloom pieces with clean contemporary lines. It’s fun to have a teammate and partner I can lean on for this.
Can you share a little about the evolution of Lola Pilar Hawaii and new products you've been sharing?
Lola Pilar started out as a modern take on the Hawaiian Quilt, using real plants that I find locally and photograph them in symmetrical designs. Working more and more with plants, I realized I can create patterns and do other things with the plants and let them also flow naturally the way they organically flow in nature.
I have a love for fashion and design and grew up surrounded by it. For a long time now I have dreamt of creating products with my photography but didn’t know how that would manifest itself. Once I started creating flower quilt art, and people were enjoying them, it organically evolved into my dream of incorporating my photography onto accessories.
What's on the horizon for Lola Pilar Hawaii that we can look forward to?
We definitely have some new and exciting things in the works for 2021 but aren’t ready to share just yet. Rest assured we will always be fun, colorful, and hopefully put a smile on your face =)