Fiji’s rich craft heritage gives me yet one more thing to love about the country. A small footed kava bowl, carved from a single piece of wood and sometimes inlaid with shell, makes a fine gift or souvenir. But having already acquired more than one on previous trips, we limited our purchases this time to magimagi, a weaving made from coconut husk; and tapa cloth, (also known as masi), a unique stiff fabric made from mulberry bark and decorated with geometric or zoomorphic designs.
I also tried my hand at making some crafts of my own. At Nanuku, we spent a meditative hour or two sanding down coconut shells for kava cups with Silio, a master Fijian craftsman who leads workshops on traditional carving and weaving. His deep knowledge of traditional techniques gave him the opportunity to travel the world as an ambassador for Fijian crafts. Chatting with Silio about travel while getting pointers on my kava cup-sanding was a highlight of my stay.