I recently stumbled upon early drawings that Martin Pierce did when commissioned to create a series of Hawaiian door and cabinet pulls for a residence in Kailua-Kona. In this post I will focus on how he developed the Double Headed and Single headed bird knobs.
When commissioned the scope of design for the cabinet pulls was to create 2 types of knob one 6”W x 2”H for the drawer fronts and the other 2”W x 2”H for the cabinet doors in a style loosely described as “nature based Hawaiian”. There were no other parameters which left the creative field open for birds, fish, people and plants as design starting points. Martin decided to proceed in 2 directions with a plant theme and a bird-animal theme, the former resulting in the orchid collection and the latter with 2 bird head knobs. For the bird knobs Martin turned to surfing the web looking for examples of Polynesian folk art and what he came away with was an image of highly stylized geometrically detailed work. With these thoughts he focused on the heavy beaked Takahe bird found in New Zealand, the most southern point of geographic area that makes up the Polynesian islands. This ground living bird has a rather thick head and thick beak and using this as the end of the drawer pull he designed geometric semi circles spreading out from the eye to depict swells of feathers that also look like breaking waves.
With the cabinet knob the beak and eye remain the focal point of the design but here a spiraling sea shell is used to form the birds tail.