Wednesday, 15 January 2014

To Catch a Dream...The Crafty Way

Doing something crafty shouldn't really be called a 'challenge'.  It is in fact a past time I thoroughly enjoy and isn't that half the battle when it comes to setting yourself a goal - that it's something you ultimately want to achieve?

Ever since I was a small child I have been fascinated by the Native American Culture, reading everything I can on the history and legends of the different tribes and surrounding myself with emblems and tokens to represent my findings.  When I was ten and still at junior school I wrote my first 'proper' report for my English class on the Native Americans but my friends and classmates wrote about football, horse riding and the like.

One particular tradition I love is the Dream Catcher and so I chose this spiritual tool as one of my crafty resolutions.

The earliest dream catchers, called Sacred Hoops, were always crafted by parents to protect their young from nightmares so I'm sure my own children will be happy with my creations.

The legends say, as you sleep all dreams from the spirit world pass though the dream catcher.  Only the good dreams can pass through and any bad dreams get caught in the webbing and are destroyed by the early morning light.  The Lakota legends however, say that it's the good dreams that stay in the web and the bad ones that disappear through the centre.

Whichever legend you choose to believe the dream catcher tradition was held in high esteem.  The hoop being a symbol of strength and unity.

In my own mind I believe that these simple tools help us to pay attention to our dreams and become aware of our own hidden talents.  I often get my best storyline ideas just as I'm drifting off to sleep!

As with many of the oldest forms of arts and crafts, many native crafters are retiring and so these skills may one day be lost to us.  Many of the dream catchers available today are mass-produced in sweatshops.

If any Ojibway crafter's are reading this, then they may very well cringe at my attempt to make a dream catcher, but for me, it was a labour of love and I poured my own heart in to this knowing they would hang above my own children's beds and keep a legend alive for another generation.

Here's what I did -

1.  I didn't have any traditional Fresh Red Willow (Dogwood), so I used a small twig I found in my garden, I curved this into a hoop and secured it with tape (if you don't want to use twigs, you can buy crafting hoops from Hobbycraft which would work just as well).  I then attached the hanging loop to it by tying a piece of gold ribbon to the hoop.

2.  Once I had my hoop and hanging hook in place I wound some yellow/gold ribbon around the twig.  You don't have to do this if you would prefer to keep it in it's most natural form.

3.  When the hoop was totally covered I tied a small knot to keep the ribbon in place. 

4.  I used gardening twine for my webbing as this was the right colour/texture for how I wanted my finished dream catcher to look, but you can use anything you have to hand. 

The traditional web can be a bit tricky so I cheated (I will be practising with the traditional method as I make more for family gifts this year).  For this project I simply wound the twine back and forth across the hoop and pulled it taut so it held in place.  Before I began winding the twine I did thread some small golden beads to add dimension.  You can add anything you like to your dream catcher, in any colour you fancy.  Many crafting shops sells beads with a pre-drilled hole in the middle, perfect for this project.

5.  To finish off I attached feathers to three pieces of twine in varying lengths and attached them to the bottom (opposite side of the hoop from the hanging hook).  I then threaded three more beads before tying the twine to the hoop.

There you have it.  A homemade Dream Catcher.  Perfect crafty challenge to make on a rainy afternoon and maybe you could give it as a gift for a new baby or cherish it yourself. 

Hang it above your bed for a peaceful night's sleep and watch out for all the good dreams that will be coming your way.

If you take part in my Creative Resolution then please let me know how you get on.  I'd love you to share your own experiences of crafting achievements with us.

Happy Dreaming x

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