Also known as:
Erica Karawina was best known for her stained-glass work, but also did painting, print making, and sculpture. She was born Jan. 25, 1904 in Wittenberge, Germany and moved to the United States in 1923. She studied with sculptor Frederick W. Allen, head of the Boston Museum School, and with Charles J. Connick, who created the stained-glass windows in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and Chicago's First Presbyterian Church.
She met her husband, Sidney C. Hsiao, while he was studying at Harvard University, and they were married in 1938. In 1941 the couple were in China when World War II broke out and forced to stay there for the duration. Hsiao taught in a school near the Tibet border, and Karawina focused on painting, learning to incorporate Asian influences into her art.
After the war they moved to New England and then to Honolulu in 1949, where Hsiao became chairman of the University of Hawai'i's zoology department.
Working from her Manoa home, Karawina created dozens of stained-glass murals and developed what she called a "faceted glass works" using rough-hewn glass resulting from hammering and chiseling pieces that were then placed in a frame and embedded in epoxy.
Some of her most notable works include the four large faceted-glass mosaic murals around the crown of the Kalanimoku Hale State Office Building (DAGS), the enormous ceiling skylight in Ka'ahumanu Hale (Circuit Court Building), and the front of The Honolulu Advertiser's News Building. Her stained-glass windows adorn the Ma Church, the Church of Epiphany in Kaimuki, the Lili'uokalani Protestant Church, and many others.
Her wood cuts and lithographs done in the 1930s were frequently displayed in galleries including the Library of Congress and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.