Mālama Molokai Wellness Sign

The story of how a business sign came to be and how it was built for our favorite wellness center.
Mario Esposito, Victoria Esposito 5 min read
Mālama Molokai Wellness Sign
Photo by Adam Jang / Unsplash
The list of all other work/gifts handmade are here.

Molokai is an island where the application of family (Ohana) values stands out more evidently than the rest of the archipelagos. A sense of community is very palpable on our island, and at every opportunity we find, we extend a branch of love to feed the good vicious cycle of life.

Last year we started taking lessons from Alan, the most mellow and patient Tai Chi instructor you can find in many nautical miles. We bonded, and at some point, we noticed that newcomers had a hard time finding the spot where the class takes place.

So one evening, we made a sign of letting people know where peace of mind and balance meet the community.

After a few months, we noticed that when the parking lot that sits in front of the Mālama Wellness Center is full, newcomers don't find their door and walk away. We are makers, so we looked at one another and said, "let's fix that."

Technically, the wife looked at me and said, "what are you going to do about that, hon?!" Me being a husband in danger of extinction, not because of a few left but because, at any moment, I could be doing something wrong, I stepped up.

I ran the idea by Genevieve and Kalā, that run the center, and after a brief exchange, they said, "we trust you, do whatever you think will look good".

I got back home, and I started sketching ideas, as I usually do, on my iPad while eating a mango on my swing chair. Yes, basically everything that you are not supposed to do at the same time when you need a steady hand...

I was going to build this when I realized they said, "do what you think it's nice". Maaaaan, you don't say that to a creative mind. You never know what you'll get 🙊

So I changed my mind about what I was going to do. We have several Kiawe trees on the land. I found a fat branch that inspired me. Cut it and took in my DIY spot to start polishing it and explore if my intuition was going to pop through that piece.

Once I made the base straight enough for it to stand and shine (well... later on) I "saw it"

My trusty co-creator start doing the thing she loves the most sharpening knifes, axes, literally anything that can harm tsk tsk

after debarking, the next step was to start shaving the natural curves and thorax-like spots with a grainder and several sanding disks!

While she was sanding away, I started experimenting with how we were going to carve regions of such a hefty log with so many uneven facets.

We work very well together on those types of projects. Naturally, there's a lot of dorkiness because we believe that good karma and positive energy have to be injected into everything you gift. If you start swearing and being upset about anything challenging, you better not make any handmade gift.

me: Honey, I gotta a problem!! she: that looks like a YOU problem. I am good hon.

After several attempts, we figure out how to carve a yoga posture in a visible spot at a distance.

After the major part of the carving was done, it was time to finish the details and make the silhouette pop by pouring colored epoxy.

After that, I start giving it a pass of good oil to see how the yellow shell of a typical kiave would react so that I would know which part is better than others for lasering.

In the meanwhile, wonder wife was mixing the epoxy with a color selection that took more time to set on the color that picked the name of a baby!

Now it was time to place in the right spots the critical figure that reflects all we know about the mission of Molokai Wellness. It started looking real cute!

I torched the bottom so that bugs and wetness would have a less easy life in damaging the base.

I started penciling the images and trying different angles to make sure that the standing sign would be at an angle, and at different angles, you would get more curious to see more of it.

I wanted the symbols that encompass their mission not to be overshadowed by the name of the business. So I took a smaller branch of a tree, polished it (painfully!), and squared it so I could carve over it.

After a good pass of teak oil, a few kisses and touches, and a broken drill bit (!), It was time to put it all together.

that's it. Tomorrow, we deliver it, and this page is the story of how we did it.


UPDATE 1: the delivery went as well as we could have hoped


They put it in place and sent us a picture a few days ago!

me after getting the picture LOL
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