Thursday, April 7, 2011


Haiku My Heart
April 8, 2011

See many more photos and Haiku at Rebecca's recuerda mi corazon blog.

Woven sinew web

Catching our dreams in mid air

Let the good times roll

I haven’t been making Dream Catchers for very long. I certainly have seen them around, but didn’t watch someone, ask questions, take an interest and come up with any ideas for making them myself until 2005.

Many gift shops sell Dream Catchers. Many I have seen are made in China. Just like anything else, Native American folk art is copied, mass produced and sold in tourist traps and vended by hawkers at fairs and functions throughout the land. Some indigenous people feel violated when their traditions are copied.

When I make a Dream Catcher, I don’t want to buy brass or metal hoops at WalMart. I don’t want to use fake feathers or synthetic leather in the decoration of it. I won’t use plastic beads. I will tell you that I do use  a synthetic waxed sinew in the webbing, but the rest of the materials come from nature.

My idea is that life is a cycle. I even named my blog after this concept. I totally believe in the circle of life, what goes around comes around and the roundness of the Sun, Moon and Stars, but life, as it is lived, is anything but symmetrical. It’s full if ups and downs, happiness, sadness and yin and yang. That makes me believe that a circle is not perfectly round, but it does come back to itself at some point.

So, I use wood that is bent or twisted and form a shape that mimics life. No two are exactly alike and they are not a perfect circle. I find wood for my hoops in the woods, along the side of a road or a path and from recycled crafts in second hand stores.

Bringing the enclosure back unto itself makes it for me. I weave between the enclosure and what the finished product comes out as is similar to an individuals life. It is what it is.

The decorations I use are influenced by Native American folk art. Leather straps, feathers, glass, stone and wood beads. Everything as natural as I can find for the most part.

The haiku hits on the meaning of the Dream Catcher. To catch the bad, evil or harmful spirits that come to you in your dreams in the webbing, similar to how a spider catches a wandering insect. The small hole in the center allows the passage of the good, friendly or peaceful spirits to the holder, but is guarded by the stone or bead selected as the guardian and sits at the edge of this center hole on all that I make.

There is a lot of personal spirituality involved for me. It need not mean anything to whoever buys or recieves my piece of art. If the recipient wants to know or has a need to know, I will tell them, explaining what, why and wherefor I used this or that.

I have had a Dream Catcher in the room where I sleep for over 25 years. Occasionally, I still have a bad dream. That’s when I take mine down off the ceiling and shake it out. I brush aside the cobweds of real spiders that have festooned themselves on my web. I might place it in another spot.

The haiku suggests a good night's sleep as well as a happy ending if the Dream Catcher is put to good use.

For more information about how, why and what I do, please e-mail. I will be happy to explain further or custom design one for you.



Jeannie said...

I do love your dream catchers. Yours in particular. All I have seen around are the fake decor ones and they are just so kitschy.

Marilyn & Jeff said...

Your haiku and your words are beautiful; I appreciate the explanation about your dream catchers, I know of them of course and have often thought that I would like one. I like the idea that the good can flow through them. Your dream catcher in your photo is true beauty, I can see the love and thoughts that you have put into it.

Sue said...

"There is a lot of personal spirituality involved for me. It need not mean anything to whoever buys or recieves my piece of art." This is really interesting; years ago my husband bought a carved Maori pendant for me, it's the only item of jewellery I own that feels different. There's always a sense that the person who carved it was meditating on it or something, and put something of themself in it. It doesn't look wildly different, but definitely feels different, when I wear it I find myself absentmindedly stroking it. It's soothing. I'm grateful for the person who carved it and who cared that it would end up where it was needed.

Grammy said...

You did a wonderful job with both your dream catcher and haiku. You just reminded me with this post to find and unpack mine.
I have always wanted a medicine bag made just for me. Or another healing object. I also have some sand paintings done by a famous native artist from Arizona. My Uncle and Aunt gifted them to me. Along with the frame he built just for the painting. I love more than any thing gifts made by hand and given with the heart.

I will put the art card in the mail to your friend asap. I finished it faster than I sent it. lol.
Many blessings sent your way.

Mel said...

It's that meaning in the making, the feel of the creation, gifted forward that does it for me.
I wanna know the story behind things. But I'm kinda nosy like that. LOL

Of course it's gorgeous. 25 years worth of doing it's 'job' simply adds to the beauty.

I've been wondering where you've been off to--figured the snowmelt claimed you and the call of the spring season had drawn you outdoors. (certainly has snagged me--even if a sweatshirt or two is required.) :-)

Margaret Pangert said...

Your Dream Catcher is amazing! If not a perfect circle, then perfect symmetry. And the smaller circles within create a sense of infinity. Mine has feathers attached at the base. I hung it from the lamp by my bed. Still those nightmares! Needs to be higher? Your haiku is truly charming, and I see how the Dream Catcher could "let the good times roll!" I will look into ordering one.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

So very lovely and lovingly made. Truly a work of art! Visiting here has been such a pleasure! Wishing you well! Cathy

tami said...

Such beauty in your design - I have kept a dream catcher in my room for years also.

I hope you get to ride your motorcycle again soon!

deb did it said...

catching dreams at rest
your hands weave beautiful art
go forth and prosper

Stephanie said...

Thank you for sharing things are dear to is so special.

rebecca said...

i am so blessed knowing you.
you have this circle of love and light radiating from your heart strings....
always walking in peace.
calling everyone to find their center, to lay down their differences, to honor this earth.

thank you for your web of protection.
the work of your hands, heart, being, circling my every dream.

you know the depth to which i speak.

Ramesh Sood said...

Found these very interesting..lovely haikus..thanks..

Meri said...

Joey, Joey, Joey -- I didn't know this about you. You grow ever more fascinating!

Unknown said...

I guess I never knew what they were before now. Very cool :)

Lea said...

so lovely, these word and web circles... making sure that our dream life thrives... thank you!

Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

Oh, how WONDERFUL to see the total explanation behind the dream catcher as far as your process goes. I've always loved the whole concept behind what a dream catcher is. It's really about keeping positive energy out there.
And, so true that life is full of imperfections. And, so true about China knocking off everything!It doesn't even feel right that all the religious articles made are made in China.
I shudder...
Great post Joe!

gma said...

Love the natural materials and true intent in your dream catcher.

foxysue said...

I always leave your haiku until last because I like to take in your fascinating story telling ~

I'm finding my way to the centre of your dreamcatcher, so I may enter your dreams and dust them with ever renewing cycle spring!

Love Sue x (Ms foxy)

mig said...

I always think there's something simple and kindly about the idea of the dream catcher.
I love them as an idea and I love the rougher, more natural ones I've seen and particularly I love how yours are made and inspired.

Noelle Clearwater said...

Dear Joe,
The dreamcatcher is a thing of beauty. I like very much that the circle is not symmetrical for as you mentioned, life is never a perfect circle is it. I love the steady and faithful guardian spirit stone that sits at the center of the web. I didn't know about that part of it before and it gives me a great deal of pleasure to have that information. It seems a very healing tradition, this catching of dreams and filtering out that which might harm from that which will encourage and offer peace. Here is a poem by Linda Pastan that I had in my box the other day on dreams. I thought you might like it.

What We Want

What we want
is never simple.
We move among the things
we thought we wanted:
a face, a room, an open book
and these things bear our names--
now they want us.
But what we want appears
in dreams, wearing disguises.
We fall past,
holding out our arms
and in the morning
our arms ache.
We don't remember the dream,
but the dream remembers us.
It is there all day
as an animal is there
under the table,
as the stars are there
even in full sun.

~ Linda Pastan ~