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A life long learner, Bernice Akamine began to pursue a career in art later in life than many artists. Akamine chose to raise a family and then return to school; during her studies at the University of Hawaiʻi she rediscovered art; deciding that doing what one loves is most important, she changed her major and was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts in glass, 1994; a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture and glass, 1999; and continued her studies at the Hawaiian Ohana for Education in the Arts, in 2010. Akamine has been taking Hawaiian cultural classes and workshops throughout her life, and is recognized for her work with waiho'olu'u, Hawaiian natural dyes. Akamine's grandmother, Kaha Halela'au, was a kahuna lapaʻau, a traditional Hawaiian healer descended from generations of healers, and her mother, Audrey Elliott was a lauhala weaver.

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