From our fence to yours in Kauai

Biljana Cvetkovich loves nature, and loves to incorporate it in her work. Biljana fulfills her curiosity about other cultures through music, reading and travelling. Living in her beautiful Kauai, where one can experience immense beauty on a daily basis, makes her heart sing.

Double rainbow, with the sun that is always present and helps to make these jewels in our sky 

Fifty years ago, I left my beloved Yugoslavia. My plan was to stay in the USA for a year, learn English, make a few bucks, and return home. As you all know, things don’t always work out as we plan. My heart got in the way of my intentions: I fell in love with a young Yugoslavian man in the USA, who had arrived there two years before me. You know what they say – “the rest was history”.

We are still together, and I’m still in the USA.

Hibiscus, the Hawaiian state flower

Seven years ago, we came to Kauai, the oldest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, on a vacation. On the way to a hotel in a park close to the airport, we saw a sign written on a reddish stone: “One Island, Many Peoples, All Kauaians”. We knew then that this was the place for us. A year later, we became part of this little ‘united nations’, and never felt more welcomed, or more at home.

Rooster, an island bird in Kauai present from beaches to mountains and everywhere in between – they remind me of my childhood

When we moved to our home, I thought I would give our wooden fence some personality – the plants that grew next to it were too small to cover it. In our home in California, I had made many mosaic pieces using ceramic tiles. The same tiles were not available here in Kauai, so I decided to use what was available – broken pottery and beach treasures. I wanted to give them a second life, and to make something to represent my appreciation to the Hawaiian people in Kauai for accepting us so warmly. This started an arts practice that I continue to today. My pieces are inspired by what I see, find and love around me. 

Aloha, the sign that hangs by our front door – made from driftwood and embellished with trinkets and glass

I make all my pieces for the outdoors. Before I hang one up, I paint a section of fence – a tradition now – and display them there.

Sunrise shells, found in deep water by our reefs and made into precious jewellery

I was not born here, but Kauai adopted me. I have found another place I can call home. My heart is bursting with happiness and aloha.

Green sea-turtles that make our beaches their places of rest

May you all find your own place and peace!

Aloha, mahalo nui loa” for reading this.

© Biljana Cvetkovich, 2020