Nana (my great, great grandmother) helped me make my first dreamcatcher to chase away the night terrors before I started school. Sleeping alone was a struggle for me at that point in time and no one believed me when I told them there were monsters hiding in every nook and cranny of my room. One day, Nana sat me down at the kitchen table with a paper plate, a pair of scissors, some yarn, and plastic beads. I watched her cut out the center of the plate and punch some holes in it. Then, she told me to make a web with the yarn and put the beads wherever I liked.
“Dreamcatchers,” she said, “keep the evil spirits away and trap nightmares until they’re destroyed by the morning sun.” I’d never heard of or seen a dreamcatcher before that I could remember, so I just crisscrossed the yarn “web” every which way making what sort of appears to be a star. When I was finished, she took a piece of yarn and tied the dreamcatcher to the lacey metal frame of my bed where it still hangs today. The monsters didn’t bother me anymore after that.
Fast forward to fall of 2011 when Papa (my great, great grandfather) died right after I moved 1,000 miles away from home for college. I knew the day would come not long after I left. Throughout high school, I had watched him slowly losing his battle to COPD. But even though death is inevitable, it still leaves us feeling empty, lost and utterly unprepared.
That’s when I picked up dream weaving again. Busy hands made a happy heart, I thought. The first dreamcatcher I made on my own was for Nana, the woman who introduced me to the art. I bent wire clothes hangers into two hoops and a big heart decorated with white and royal blue thread. Even though Papa was gone, I wanted her to remember she would never, ever be alone. Next, I made dreamcatcher gravemarkers for my late loved ones and glued seashells from my visit to Massachusetts to a hoop so I could bring a piece of my first home back with me. And from there, my creative hobby only grew.
Soon, my apartment walls were covered with dreamcatchers I had made and friends started requesting I make some for them. In 2014, I launched an online store called The American Dreams to sell my one-of-a-kind creations and craft custom orders for folks around the world. To this day, dream weaving brings me joy that I love sharing with others.
Above, you will find a gallery of my dream weaving journey beginning with Nana’s paper plate. If I’ve made a dreamcatcher for you that isn’t pictured below, snap a picture and send it to me in an email as I would love to add it here to share with the world.