Emily Herb

Emily at the opening of the Sandhill Crane Festival show at The Artworks in Fairbanks, Alaska, August 2009. Photo by Fred Dean.

Emily was born in the Midwest, but has lived in diverse areas such as Utah, Alaska, Arizona, Seattle and Hawai‘i. Her work has always been inspired by the natural world, and by birds in particular. Since moving to Hawai‘i in 1998, her work has focused mainly on birds and plants found in the Islands.

She currently makes her home in Volcano Village, with her husband, Dalyn and is a member of the Volcano Village Artists Hui. (Hui is the Hawaiian word for organization or association.) Just a few miles from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village is located in the native rain forest at 3800' elevation. This forest is home to several native bird species that are still fairly common, including the ‘apapane, whose varied songs can be heard throughout the day from the pottery studio.

Hawai‘i is home to many unique species, found nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, many of the bird and plant species that evolved here, have become extinct over the last several hundred years, and many more are endangered. However, as more people become aware of the plight of native Hawaiian species, more efforts are being made by individuals, environmental groups and scientists, to save those species that are still left. Examples of these are the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project and the Kaua‘i Forest Bird Project.

There is now a new threat to Hawai‘i's forests and birds. A fungus called Ceratocystis Fimbriata has been identified on Hawai‘i Island, and has caused the death of hundreds of thousands of ‘Ōhi‘a trees in our native forests. The ‘Ōhi‘a tree is one of the most abundant and important trees in out native ecosystem, and the spread of this fungus is potentially an ecological disaster for Hawai‘i. To learn more about this threat, visit the University of Hawai‘i Rapid ʻŌhiaʻ Death website.

On Hawai‘i Island, the once forested slopes of Mauna Kea are being restored to increase habitat for the rare and endangered Palila. Check out the website of the Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project, and their Facebook page.

Educational outreach is an important aspect of conservation efforts, and the Hawai‘i Nei Art Contest is a wonderful example of how art, science and education can be combined. They also have a great Facebook page.

More information on the native birds of Hawai‘i’s can also be found at wildlife biologist and photographer Jack Jeffrey's website. One of Jack's ‘apapane photos appears on this website's front page.

Emily would like to thank the many wonderful teachers she has studied with over the years, including Dean Schwarz at South Bear School in Decorah, Iowa, Marguerite Wildenhain at Pond Farm near Guerneville California, Paulus Berensohn of Penland, North Carolina, Don Bendel of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ and John Leach of Muchelney Pottery in England. She has also studied dance with and is grateful to Betty Gavin-Singer of Studio North, A Centre for Dance in Fairbanks, Alaska, (now in Sharon Springs, NY), Betsy Fisher who now teaches at the University of Hawai‘i in Manoa, John Wilson at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ, Joan Skinner the founder of the Skinner Releasing movement technique and Robert Davidson of the Robert Davidson Dance Company both in Seattle, Washington. She is currently a member of Hālau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu under the direction of Kumu Hula Ab Valencia at Kīlauea, Hawai‘i.

To view Emily's resume, click here to download.

Although most of Emily’s current work is inspired by Hawaiian birds and plants, she still makes pottery inspired by the cranes of the world. These majestic birds are seen by many as symbols of peace and international goodwill, due to collaborative efforts between many countries in protecting the 15 species of cranes, world wide. For more information cranes and their conservation, visit the website of the International Crane Foundation. For information about Whooping Cranes, visit the Operation Migration website, the team that leads young whooping cranes on their first migration south from Wisconsin to Florida, flying with the cranes in ultralight air crafts.

Emily’s work can be found at the following galleries and events on the Big Island
of Hawai‘i: