The inspiration for this craft started with a Styrofoam plate dream catcher that Isabela made in school this year. She hung it on the wall over her bed to ward off any bad dream that dare enter her room. A few weeks ago Olivia woke up with a nightmare. She was screaming and crying and kept asking for Isabela's dream catcher so, in an effort to comfort her and get myself back into my nice warm bed, I gave it to her. The next morning I awoke to the sound of the girls screaming and crying. I walk into their room and see them fighting over the Styrofoam dream catcher ripping it to shreds.
That night both the girls were awake most of the night claiming they were having nightmares and wanted the dream catcher. I decided that if they were certain that that styrofoam dream catcher was keeping their nightmares away I was going to make them each their own real dream catcher.
Dream catchers are an American Indian tradition, from the Ojibway(Chippewa) tribe. Ojibway people would tie sinew strands in a web around a small round, sometimes tear-shaped frame. They would then hang the dream catcher to protect sleeping children from nightmares.
photo from http://www.nativetech.org/dreamcat/dreamcat.html
To make our dream catchers I used metal rings and wrapped them in purple suede lace. I would have used traditional brown or white suede but the girls wanted purple so purple they would be. When I got to the end I put some craft glue on the suede lace and the the metal ring and held it together with a clip until it dried.
Originally, a dream catchers web was created by tying strong deer sinew strands around a circular(tear-shaped) frame. The end result looked like a spider's web. The Ojibwa called dream catchers asabikeshiinh, the inanimate form for the word spider. Since I could not find any deer sinew I used waxed thread. It is really sticky so I think it will do a great job catching all those bad dreams floating around the girls room. The webbing was tricky so I used this tutorial to show me how to do it. Make sure to leave a hole in the center so the good dreams can come through.
I could not find anything directly relating to charms being hung from the center of the webbing to bring luck or such but I put some on there anyway. Cant hurt anything, right? I found some "dream" and butterfly charms. I don't know what they would have meant to the Ojibway but in our house the "dream" charm represents dreams(how original, right? LOL) and the butterflies symbolize good dreams flying in.
The 4 strands hanging down represent the compass directions of North, South, East, and West. Originally the Ojibway used the feathers of sacred birds such as eagles(man's courage) and owls(woman's wisdom) but these feathers are now illegal to obtain so I just used plain white craft feathers and beads.
If you have the resources to get "real" feathers here is a list of different ones and their meanings:
Dove - offer love
Eagle - protection
Goose - draw love
Hawk - Protection
Ostrich - truth
Owl - instill wisdom
Seagull - travel
Swallow - good luck\Wren - safe voyage
Woodpecker - used by a Shaman
When they were done Isabela hung them in her window because she said the moon light helps the good dreams find the dream catcher. So creative.
This craft was featured on One Crafty Place.