About Volcano Gallery's Lead Artists
The Past, Present, and Future...Our Story...
Volcano Gallery / Aloha Accents (TM) is a working jewelry & art studio specializing in unique handcrafted creations "Made in Hawaii". Items include a variety of Koa Wood Gifts, Jewelry, Gemstones, and unique wall-art.
Each item for sale is hand-crafted by husband and wife artists Ken and Beate Arnopole, and based in Volcano Village, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Volcano Village is located just 1 mile from the entrance of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Attracted by the spiritual power of the Volcano and remoteness of the area, Ken and Beate moved to Volcano in 1994 and ever since enjoy living on their private acreage being surrounded by a beautiful tropical rainforest. Both welcomed the change to take life at a slower pace, to spend as much time with each other as possible, and to work towards their dream to become full-time artists. This was quite a change from their previous hectic corporate life ( Ken as an Industrial Designer and Engineer, and Bea as a Graphic Artist and Software Programmer) but a welcome challenge and adventure. Married in 1986 their time in Volcano has been nothing short of unpredictable but being artists at heart "adaptability" is one of their many talents.
Living in the artist community of Volcano..
With a new life in Volcano Ken and Bea started working on their goal to aquire the tools, knowledge, practice, and a loyal customer base to enable them to become full-time artists. . On the road to this goal, they worked in a variety of areas: A micro-size Pizza Company (Rainbow Moon Pizza), baked delicious cakes, croissants, bagels, and sweet treats for the local Volcano Farmers Market, and operating vacation rentals as Volcano became more popular with tourist that wanted to stay in the area. Their endeavours included being the hosts of a tiny Volcano Cafe for a little while ( Volcano Coffee House) and even a Candy Company ( Aloha Candy Co.) that produced a small quantity of high quality 100% Hawaiian Chocolates and other treats for a limited customer base.
Ken and Beate now create Hawaii inspired beautiful handcrafted Jewelry, Wood Gifts and Home Accents, and enjoy creating new one of a kind pieces of beauty every day.
The art of Lapidary and Gemstones...
Along their road to becoming full-time artists, Ken learned and perfected cutting gemstones and is now a Master Gem Cutter recognized by the International Gemcutter’s Association. He is the only colored gemstone cutter in Hawaii, and also a Professional Certified Gemologist (CG)..
Ken and Bea consider themselves “Makers of Beautiful Things” and feel very privileged of being able to live in perhaps one of the most beautiful places in Hawaii, the upland rainforest of Volcano, which is located right next to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and truly a unique location.
Each new creation starts with a spark of an idea that becomes the desire to turn that idea into a piece of wearable art. Ken and Beate collaborate together to come up with a design that is pleasing to the eye and they both can agree on, and then work together to shape metal into a thing of beauty and transform natures raw elements into something great. First they design.. then they create.. and then it is for you to enjoy. All their creations are intended to bring a little bit of the Hawaiian Aloha into your heart and home.
The Varez - Arnopole Collaboration...
There are unique circumstances that may have led Ken and Beate Arnopole to cross paths with Dietrich Varez First, Beate shares the same roots with Dietrich Varez of both of their families being from Berlin, Germany.
Dietrich was born their in 1938 and experience the war-torn Berlin till his mother married an American and moved to Hawaii at the age of 8, whereas Beate’s father (Heinz Kiekebusch) was born in Berlin in 1934 and also experienced the war torn-Berlin first hand, but his mother (Beate's grandmother) was killed during a bomb attack. Left with no mother and a father that had gone to war and to that date not returned, Beate’s father was left alone with no parent at the age of 10 and later escaped to West Germany before the permanent Wall between East and West was built.
A shared love for The Volcano Rainforest...
But similarities don’t stop there.. Just like Varez, Ken and Beate bought a property in Hawaii “sight unseen” after reading a small ad in a paper that said “ 6 acres for sale in paradise” – “ Owner Financing”… and just like Varez in his early years after buying his 9 acre property the same way with their savings and trying to locate it in the jungle, Ken and Beate stood in the road where their new property was supposed to be and said “.. well.. we own 6 acres here somewhere”... if we can ever find it..
Both couples enjoy living in the rainforest, enjoy their seclusion, being hermids of some kind, and enjoy to just “create” while being surrounded by the peacefulness of the remote rainforest of Volcano . The process of creation in seclusion is more important to them then fame or fortune. Neither likes the lime light of being a famous artist, being places one is expected to show up, or be at a certain place at a certain time when someone else wants you to, or having to do things a certain way because that is a way you should do it. Neither wanted to be influenced by other artists or techniques and each desired and enjoyed developing their own style.
Varez Wearable Art:
Ken and Beate Arnopole always admired Dietrich’s artwork when they first saw it back in 1994 after moving to the Big Island, and envisioned creating special jewelry pieces based on his block prints right away even back then. However at that time gold had sky-rocketed and the right tools and equipment were just to expensive then for them to afford. Then given that most galleries only work on consignment, with their limited resources it just did not seem financially viable to produce the artwork in gold.
So now 20 years later the Varez Wearable Art Jewelry finally was born. Ken and Beate finally accumulated all the tools needed ( there is always another new tool on the wish list, though – one can never have too many tools ..) and together they have perfected the process that allows them today to produce Varez inspired Jewelry in 925 STERLING SILVER, 24K GOLD over STERLING SILVER (Vermeil), and fine Jewelers Copper as unique affordable Wearable Art. Just like Dietrich produces his block prints one at a time, by hand, the jewelry Ken and Beate create are sculpted one at a time by hand. Then each piece is fired with coconut ash, and later polished to bring out the lustrous finish and natural glow and patina of the silver and copper.
After showing Dietrich a sample of one of the first pieces he was delighted what he saw and it was decided that the time was right to produce the envisioned Jewelry with Dietrich's art and to introduce it to the public. Dietrich Varez exclusively licensed his artwork to Ken and Beate Arnopole to produce jewelry, which will include solid bronze, copper, silver, gold, and gold-plated creations. Soon they will also produce special home accents, so sign up on the mailing list, and you will be kept up to date on all the new things as they are created.
It is important to Ken and Bea to create wearable art that is affordable, just like Dietrich always wanted to sell his prints as reasonable as possible. He wanted his prints to be able to be in your Mom’s house and in his mom’s house, not just the rich and famous that will store their expensive artwork away in a vault. Just like the new Bronze and Copper Jewelry is wearable art to be worn, not to be stored away.
Ken and Bea are extremely proud of being able to work with Dietrich Varez and to create jewelry with his artwork. In the process they learned the stories behind each of his prints and now have an even bigger admiration for each block print he created, and are extremely excited to share their creations with the rest of the world.
Like two peas in a pod, this is a collaboration that was meant to be… it just took time to happen, but good things sometimes move slow..specially in Hawaii .. but when they do.. it is amazing.!