1. Kapa is not woven, it is a felted or beaten fabric that is made from the bark of the paper mulberry tree.
2. To begin the process, men grew the necessary plants they also harvested the bark for the cloth in addition to making wooden implements which women used to beat and later decorate the fabric with.
3. Long before Captain Cook arrived in 1778 and before the introduction of metal to the islands, kapa stamp carving had become a highly specialized craft, shells and sharks' teeth were used to carve tiny designs into bamboo beaters.
4. Kapa beaters, called i'e kuku, were used to beat a design into the cloth on hollowed out anvils, resting on stones, that were made from koa wood, the hollowed out part on the underside of the anvil made the kua board resonant like a drum.
5. The sound of kapa being beaten could be heard from a great distance, the fact that each anvil produced a distinctive sound made its whereabouts and its ownership easily traceable.
6. One woman, who referred to her anvil as her grandchild, woke up one day to find it missing, rather than using her eyes to see who might have taken it, she walked through the countryside while listening to anvil sounds.
7. When she recognized the sound of her very own anvil, she asked to have it back, with anvils that spoke to their owners in that manner, property rights were seldom questioned.
8. It is said that women used kapa beaters to send messages to their neighbors with coded taps that were easily understood, one blow meant "No," two blows meant "Yes."
9. With codes like those, a Hawaiian wireless system was established where light and heavy taps alternated with rests in between, it was possible to broadcast news about a child's birth, a relative's death, or a fish caught for that day's supper.
10. The final beating process imparted a carved, embossed pattern to the thin organza-like felted sheets of cloth, a great number of popular geometric designs included squares, triangles, chevrons, diamonds, and bars and lines that intersected in almost endless combinations.
11. In those early days, kapa making and kapa stamping were done exclusively by women, to begin with, groups of women were employed in beating the inner bark of the mulberry tree with a heavy wooden beater, as the fabric was matted into wide thin sheets, a beige paper-type of cloth was produced.
12. After making use of a carved, four-sided mallet which gave rise to an embossed design on the cloth that was kept wet while it was being worked on, the women allowed it to dry, the raised watermark design is still visible in some specimens of kapa that were produced over 150 years ago.