Dreamcatchers to Absorb Negative Thoughts

Dream catchers have a long history in Native American tribes as devices that can capture the negative dreams that come at night. According to legend, the dream catcher would allow positive dreams to slip through the whole in the center and gently flow along the feathers to be caught by the mind of the sleeper below, but the negative dreams would get caught up in the web around the sides. The negative dreams would be stuck in the web until the morning sun came by to burn them up.

Dream catchers are not just used to prevent negative dreams. Creating them can be fun and beneficial to realizing one’s dreams. I love this blog post by Jas Milam, MAAT (Masters in Art and Art Therapy), because it describes the therapeutic value of dream catchers so well! It’s amazing what kinds of revelations can be made through the creation of a simple dream catcher.

So how would you go about making a dream catcher? Well, you will probably need to head over to your local crafts store for the following:

  • A metal hoop (any size you want)
  • Suede or leather string (some stores call it a buckskin thong)
  • A thinner string
  • Feathers and decorative beads (make sure the string you purchased will string through your beads)

Once you have all of those things, start by wrapping the hoop in the suede string in the following pattern. As you continue around your hoop, continue to add small amounts of glue to the side of the suede that will touch the hoop. I found it helpful to leave some string at the top of my dreamcatcher to create a loop so I can hang it easily.

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How to Wrap the Hoop

Once you have a hoop covered in suede string, you can begin creating the web in the center. This is done using a length of thinner string wrapped around the suede covered hoop. Creating the web is simple. You just consistently repeat the same pattern. You loop the string around the outside of the hoop then tuck the string behind the original string. Then repeat this pattern all the way around the hoop. Do this very loosely! You will have a chance to tighten up the web later on.

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How to Begin the Web

This pattern continues on to the inner loops to create a full web pattern. When I was making mine, I made the mistake of pulling the string too tight as I went and I ended up having to undo my web several times before I finally figured out how to create a good web. Don’t get frustrated if you pull too tightly or not enough, you can always try again! If you would like, you can add various beads inside of your web by simply stringing them over your string and continuing the pattern as shown below.

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How to Add Beads to the Web

Once you have completed the web, you can add feathers to the bottom or the sides, wherever you would like. To add fathers, take a section of suede string and fold it into a U-shape. Place the U section of the string next to your hoop, then string the free ends around the hoop and through the U section and pull tight. Now you can add feathers and beads to the free ends to create a beautiful dream catcher.

Creating a dream catcher is a really entertaining process! It may take some time, but it is fun and can be very beneficial.  You might find the process as a metaphor for achieving your dreams: you may have to try several times and alter your methods before you create a dream catcher that you can be proud of. So don’t give up if you have a rough time of it at first. Keep at it until you’re proud of your beautiful creation!

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My Own Dream Catchers

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Piecing Together a Picture of Your Life

Sometimes the act of painting or drawing can be fun, but other times it can be a daunting task. Even I feel like I’m not “good enough” sometimes to draw what I am seeing in my mind, so I’ll get overwhelmed and frustrated. I know I can’t be the only one to doubt my art abilities and wish I could just borrow someone else’s abilities for a day.

Borrowing someone else’s work is the beauty of collage. Creating a collage can be fun and simple. A collage is a collection of words and images that creates a larger picture. This picture can express emotions, goals, personal perceptions, ideals, or tell a story about an event.

I found a blog post on Art Therapy Spot about creating collages that I particularly loved because it emphasizes the importance of free association when creating collages. Using free association really makes the experience fun and helpful.

One of my favorite ways to use collage in an art therapy sense is called a “vision board”. Vision boards are a collage (often on a poster board) that acts as a visual representation of what you envision for your future; including goals, dreams, things you want to work towards, and parts of life that you want to put more emphasis on in the future. Vision boards can represent any time frame. Some people create vision boards for the upcoming year, others create vision boards that represent the future as a whole.

I recently convinced my roommate to join me in creating vision boards and we had a really fun time of it! We had huge stacks of magazines scattered around the apartment, so we finally put them to good use.

Going through the magazines took forever! If you are planning on making collages a regular part of your art therapy routine, I would suggest keeping a collection of pre-cut images and phrases that can be used in a wide variety of ways. This would cut down on the exhausting amount of time spent cutting prior to creating a collage.

I have trouble planning too far into the future, so I chose to create a vision board for the next year. As I was beginning to glue down my images and phrases, there were two questions circling my mind: What do you want to achieve in the next year? Which of these goals is the most important to you?

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My Vision Board for 2014-2015!

The process of creating a vision board was a fun experience, particularly because I was able to do it with my best friend. It was great to think about what I want to make happen in the next year. Creating a vision board allowed me to give myself permission to dream without considering every aspect of my achieving those dreams.

My roommate and I both hung the final products in our rooms as a nice reminder of what we want to accomplish in our lives. As an added bonus, it filled in some very empty space on our walls.