Saturday, July 20, 2013

Studio Saturday with Erin Siegel

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard.
The following week we choose a random winner.

This week's winner is Erin S. Congratulations, Erin! You have won a hydrangea pendant from Heather Powers of Humble Beads.
  Send Heather an email with your address and she will get your prize out to you soon.
This week we visit the studio of
Erin Siegel of Erin Siegel Jewelry
Next weekend I'm taking my 2 1/2 year old daughter to her first Native American Pow Wow. I hope she enjoys the flute music, drumming, dancing, storytelling and crafts. She's already familiar with dream catchers. Before she was born, I was gifted a beautiful dream catcher handmade by a Native American woman I know. It hangs above her bed now.

As long as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated by the Native American culture. From their deep respect and reverence for nature, to their great spiritual teachings, to their beautiful handcrafts and beadwork. One Native American tradition I have always loved and gravitated towards is the dream catcher.

Today, I’m going to be sharing with you how to make your own dream catcher-inspired pendant to capture the dreams, goals and positivity you want to bring into your life! You will learn the traditional weave to make the web of the dream catcher, then you can embellish your pendant with a variety of beads, feathers and/or charms to represent those dreams, hopes and wishes you want to catch. The finished pendant can be worn on it's own or you can incorporate it into your own beaded jewelry design. The act of making this pendant is a hands-on, creative way to realize your dreams, while making a keepsake with special meaning that you can wear and keep as a reminder of the things that are important to you. But, before I get into showing you how to make your pendant, I want to share with you a little bit about the origins of the dream catcher and a Native American dream catcher legend. I hope you will find this to be fun, informative and inspiring!

Origins of the Dream Catcher:

The Ojibaway or Chippewa were the first to design these decorations to protect their babies against bad dreams that might come along in the night. Both good and bad dreams would be caught by the web, but only good dreams could find their way through the hole and slide down the feather to the baby’s head. The bad dreams, not knowing the way, would get caught in the web and dissipate with the first rays of morning light.

Since the beginning, many Native American tribes have adopted the dream catcher and incorporated it into their heritage. The Lakota are one such group that have done this. The following is their story of the dream catcher:

Legend of the Dream Catcher (Lakota)

Long ago an old spiritual leader was high on a mountain and had a vision. A teacher of wisdom appeared in the form of a spider. The spider picked up the elder’s willow hoop and began to spin a web. She spoke to the elder about the cycles of life. She said, “In each time of life there are many forces, some positive and some negative. If you listen to the positive forces, they will steer you in the right direction. If you listen to the negative forces, they will lead you astray.”

When the spider finished speaking, she gave the elder the web and said. “The web is a perfect circle with a hole in the center. Use the web to help your people reach their goals, making good use of their ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the Great Spirit, the web will catch your good ideas, let them float through the hole and down the feather upon you.” The elder passed on the vision to the people. Now, many hang a dream catcher above their bed to sift their dreams and visions. The good thoughts are captured in the web of life and dropped down to the person, the negative thoughts are caught in the web and perish at daybreak, never to be a part of their lives.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would really like to adopt this concept! Who’s with me? Okay, let’s make some dream catcher pendants to wear to catch those good dreams from the air and let them float down into our hearts!

Materials needed:
 1 metal 25mm ring
(I use handcrafted copper rings by Miss Fickle Media)
1 gemstone 4mm round
3 size 8 seed beads in assorted colors
1 feather charm
2 metal 4mm jump rings
18” of 4ply Irish waxed linen cord (color of your choice)

A kit containing all the materials needed and instructions can be found in my Etsy shop here.

A pair of chain nose pliers (to attach the jump rings)

1. Use the cord to make a 1” fold at one end. Use the folded end to form a lark’s head knot around the copper ring as shown in photo 1.

 2. Using the long end of the cord, form a half-hitch knot around the copper ring and the 1” tail as shown in photo 2.

3. Trim the tail. Pull the cord down so that it sits on the inside of the copper ring as shown in photo3.

4. Bring the cord around the copper ring and through the loop as shown in photo 4. This is called looping. Continue making loops around the ring 5 more times. Add seed beads as desired.

5. Bring the cord around the first loop created in step 4 and through the loop as shown in photo 5.
 6. Continue looping in the same matter adding seed beads as shown in photo 6. Loop around the inner diameter of the ring twice.

7. Use the cord to string one 4mm bead; tie and overhand knot and trim cord as shown in photo 7.

8. Use 1 jump ring to attach a feather charm to the pendant. Use another jump ring to attach a chain or necklace cord to the pendant and enjoy!

How about you?
Do you feel inspired by the dream catcher? or Do you find inspiration in the traditions of another culture other than your own?

Please share and tell me all about it. I want to know!

 Leave a comment answering any of the above questions and you will be entered for a chance to win one of my Dream Catcher Pendant Kits!

Thanks for joining me today!

Erin Siegel is a jewelry designer, beading instructor and co-author of the jewelry book, Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry: 50 Designs Using Leather, Ribbon and Cords. To find out more, visit her blog: Erin Siegel Jewelry.


Unknown said...

I like your instructions. They are clear and easy to follow. It's nice to have some background about the dreamcatcher. I like circles because they represent the unbroken cycle of life. Even though we die we are born again.

baymoondesign said...

I have a great interest in Native American culture. Last summer I had a chance to go out West and see their reservations. It saddens me that they live on some of the least desirable of the land. I read recently that the land where Wounded Knee took place is for sale. Johnny Depp has been talking about buying it and donating it to the Indians. I hope this happens.

Alice said...

As a kid, I grew up with a love for the Native Indian culture. My father has a basement full of arrowheads, flint knives, and pottery, all found in the fields. Many times my sisters and I combed the freshly turned fields and hunted for arrowheads. My dad knew just where to find them by the lay of the land and proximity to water. He was never wrong and has found over 2000 pieces or more since the days of my youth.

Thank you for sharing this tutorial!

mairedodd said...

this is really wonderful, erin - i too have hung authentic dream catchers in the windows just beside my childrens' beds. it is a beautiful story and teaches us much about the choices we make and how they affect our lives. this is a great kit - it makes me so happy to think of how accessible you have made this for people, how they will learn the story and pass it along.

Empty nester at last said...

Having Cherokee in my lineage, I am always drawn to the Native American cultures. Their love of the land, sky, and respect of each other is something we are so missing today.... The bold colors in their designs are to die for...I love your dream catcher. Will have to give it a go. Thanks for sharing!

moonlitfantaseas said...

very good tutorial Erin! I used to make dream catcher earrings years ago! The necklace is really cute!

Rising Designs said...

Fantastic photos , Erin. I will definitely try this with the kids in my 5th grade jewelry club. It's called Frugal Adornments". This tutorial will fit right in! Thanks.

Unknown said...

I love that you posted the history of the Dream Catcher. I've always been drawn to Dream Catchers and have tried my hand at making a few, but I really like this. Instructions are very good. My granddaughter has bad dreams and this will be great for her. Thank you