Table of Contents - Volume 2, number 4 (December 1997) - 24 pages
Most of the time, people use their hands to weave string figures. But sometimes they also use their elbows, mouth, and toes to help create the design. "Puddle" is a simple figure requiring a leg and two hands. The end result is a three-dimensional pattern that expands and contracts, just like a puddle between rain storms.
Here the puddle is shallow and nearly dry. The rain has not yet come.
After a rain storm the puddle fills with water and expands. To fill the puddle, the maker lifts upward with both hands so that the "square" rises above the leg (a side view, without hands, is shown above).
Just for fun, try inventing new names for this figure! For example, the expanding figure could easily represent Bread Dough Rising in a Square Pan (massage the strings on your thigh to simulate kneading), or a Waste Basket Filling Up with Trash (toss in a large paper wad). Since the expanded figure has "handles," names like Shopping Bag and Purse work well too!
The native name for this figure is Po, meaning "night" or "darkness." The seven diamonds represent stars. Long ago, nearly every Hawaiian knew how to make it. In Polynesian mythology Po represents chaos: "In the beginning there was nothing but Po, a void without light, heat, sound, form, or motion...".
This figure, also known throughout the Hawaiian Islands, is a continuation of "Night."
To make the star "twinkle," the maker shifts his index fingers from side to side, first to the right...
...then to the left.
This figure introduces a novel technique for adding extra diamonds to a simple diamond figure. The technique involves repeating the "navaho" move more than once. Each extra navaho adds a pair of diamonds to the figure. Here, two extra navahos (a triple navaho) are used to add four diamonds to a three-diamond pattern, giving seven diamonds.
This classic Inuit (Eskimo) figure is a variation of Swan, which appeared in the March issue.
Throughout Polynesia the legendary exploits of the demigod Maui are preserved in numerous tales. The stories describe how this impish trickster fished up islands from the sea, raised the sky, snared the sun, and secured fire for man. The central diamond of this figure represents his navel, which symbolizes the center of the universe.
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