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See how thin strips of wood are transformed into high fashion, including this dress

See how thin strips of wood are transformed into high fashion, including this dress
A woman models a lightweight dress crafted from thin strips of koa, a wood native to Hawaii. (Jared Muscat)

Fashioned into everything from clothing to furniture, Hawaii’s exotic, native woods are showing their rich patterns and their versatility during a free exhibit in Honolulu.

Designers from across the state and beyond are showcasing their creations at Hawaii's Woodshow, which runs through Sunday.

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While there will be plenty of unusual and interesting designs on display, possibly the most eye-popping is the wooden dress designed and made by a Santa Barbara craftsman.

Paul Schürch created the elegant dress using thin layers of koa wood. The dress won an award this year at the Veneer Tech Craftsmen’s Challenge.

“I have been exploring the possibilities of making contemporary wooden-wear high fashion for several years, and this dress represents my latest design,” Schürch told the judges. “We are changing the nature of wood by using modern tools, with an innovative pressing process that makes the veneer supple, durable and suitable for clothing.”

Exhibitors at the Honolulu show are required to use wood from Hawaiian tree species that have grown to maturity before being harvested. Attendees will be treated to rich examples of creative uses of woods such as kamani, kiawe, macadamia nut, mango and Norfolk pine.

Entry categories include furniture, musical instruments and sculpture. The “People’s Choice Award” will be based solely on votes cast by members of the public.

Hawaii’s Woodshow will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily in the main gallery of the Honolulu Museum of Art School. The school is located at 1111 Victoria St. in Honolulu, roughly 2.5 miles from the Waikiki resorts.

The show is sponsored by the Hawaii Forest Industry Assn. The nonprofit organization promotes sustainable forestry in the islands.

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