Owner Julia is an unconventional florist. For most of her professional career, she has been an environmental educator and science communicator in different roles (formal teacher, wilderness instructor, conservation biologist), teaching people how to go deeper with understanding ecosystems and using our senses to discover the natural world. After moving to Hawai`i Island in early 2016, the magical world of flowers began to open to her - their seductive role in pollination, their geometric beauty and their place in understanding Hawai`ian mythology & story (mo`olelo), culture and native ecosystems.
Experimenting with tropical floral creations quickly became a passion, along with the craft of lauhala weaving and dabbling in modern styles of Hawai`ian lei. When Julia moved back to her home state of Connecticut, she continued her lei craft with native New England plants, sharing her creations with friends and family.
After 3 years of informal floral design and teaching high school biology full-time on the side, she realized her passion still lay among the flowers. Thus was born Pua (flower) Le`a (joy/passion) Floral whose namesake pays tribute to its origins in Hawai`i. It's mission is guided by values of aloha spirit, mindfulness in nature and mālama `āina (care of the earth).
Julia is humbled and honored to bring the experience and art of weaving floral crowns (haku lei po`o) to flower lovers in Connecticut and beyond!
Left: Running a booth at a beach clean-up Hapuna State Park, Hawaii Island.
Right: Leading a compost microbiology unit at Kohala High School for AP Biology students
'Ukuli'i ka pua, onaona i ka mau'u
Tiny is the flower, yet it scents all the grasses around it
- Hawai`ian Proverb -
Note on Cultural Appropriation
Pua Le`a acknowledges the origins of lei as a Native Hawai`ian (Kānaka Maoli) craft. Our designs are based on modern interpretations of floral crowns popular in Hawaii today and widely available for sale as a celebration of flowers, not as replicas of traditional designs. We do our best to honor the art of lei by incorporating Hawai`ian language, protocols and lei historical context into our workshops.
Julia offers a heartfelt mahalo and wishes to acknowledge her mentors in Hawai`i
who taught her this craft and the true meaning of aloha.