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iolani palace

iolani palace is the only royal residence in the US. like many palaces, the quality of the building materials and the level of craftsmanship are overwhelming, but this place has a really charming, bright, open layout that enhances the details beautifully. it's the perfect place throw a party, which makes it even more of a shame to know that it was also used as a prison.

during the overthrow of hawaii's government, the last reigning monarch- queen lili'uokalani- was imprisoned in an upper bedroom of the palace. she spent the time composing music, writing her memoirs, and quilting. the quilt is on display in the room where she served time, and it's kind of shocking to see that it isn't a traditional hawaiian quilt. it's a crazy quilt, which was very fashionable at the time.

hawaii has a long history of quilt making, and a very definitive graphic style. there are hawaiian quilts on almost every bed in the palace. why did she choose to make a crazy quilt? perhaps she could only get her hands on scraps of fabric. maybe she wanted to show off her talent for embroidery. but it's also possible that she wanted to drive home the fact that she was "civilized" and in touch with modern victorian trends. crazy quilts were often used as a sort of diary or record of events and the center square has her birth, death, and coronation dates. it also predominantly states that the quilt was started and worked on while she was imprisoned- an embroidered protest to her being forcibly removed from the monarchy. a very civilized way to remind future generations that she didn't willfully give up control of her kingdom.

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