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Shilo's Art ~ Dream Spirit and Inspiration Beaded Amulet Bags, leather beaded bags, and rattles

Shamanic Objects don't just represent power, they are power.

I create shamanic objects called Dream Spirit bags and Inspiration Spirit bags. These are beaded bags with the designs of animals, sacred geometry, or whatever is desired, woven together with thread and divine energy. They are empowered to heal.

The Dream Spirit bags take approximately six days each to complete. They are typically 2 5/8 inches tall by 21/4 inches wide, although sizes vary and some are much bigger. The customer chooses the size and whether or not it is to have a closing flap when they place their order. These bags are a work of art as well as a healing tool. People are drawn to their beauty and their healing energy. I use Japanese Delica beads, known for their uniform shape and overall quality. Many of these beads are gold, silver, or copper lined. I use gemstones for the larger beads in the fringe and necklace. All necklace straps are double strung to ensure their strength. Spirit chooses the colors, as well as guides me in the creation of the patterns, and these bags are truly beautiful. They shimmer and shine in the light. The energy woven into the bags comes from Spirit, and I am told what the energy is as the bags take form. Beading is a repetitive process that puts me in trance. While I am in trace, the story of the bag unfolds. It is much like being in a dream - hence the name Dream Spirit bags.

The process for the Inspiration Spirit bags is the same as the Dream Spirit bags, with the exception that instead of a picture on the front of the bag, I use a hand made glass bead or a larger gemstone cabochon. Beading these bags also put me in a trance, where I hear the story of the energy of the bag.

Leather beaded bags are a two step process. I make the leather bag out of deer, buffalo, or elk hide. Then I do the beading that will be sewn to the leather bag. I do these bags to order, as they can be made virtually any size with any beading.

I have recently begun making gourd rattles. I have a number of gourds, and as I clean them, images begin to unfold in my mind of what each gourd would like to be decorated with. Each rattle takes about a week and a half to complete, and as I work, they are also empowered with the energy of the image they carry.

About the Process . . .

I decided from the beginning to make each Dream Spirit bag and each Inspiration Spirit bag as if it were for me. I am very picky about quality, especially if something is hand made. So, when I make a mistake in the pattern, pick up the wrong color bead, or decide I don't like the color I have chosen ten rows from where I first started using it, I pick out my work and fix things until they meet my standards. (I do check in with Spirit to make sure what I see isn't a divine design implementation.)

I also decided that I would use only quality supplies. I found that the more expensive Japanese Delica beads created a tighter, more uniform weave. A number of these bead colors are gold, silver, or copper lined, which seems to enhance the color or make it shimmer. In the necklace and on the fringe, I use gemstones for the bigger beads. I use Swarovski Crystals when an added sparkle is called for. Occasionally, I will use glass beads in the fringe or necklace, to help highlight and draw out a color in the bag itself. On the Inspiration Spirit bags, I usually use a hand made glass bead for the focal bead. Sometimes I am able to find gemstone cabochons that work really well too.

For bracelets, I use silver of gold findings.

I use approximately 4000 Delica beads for a bag that measures 1 3/4 X 2 1/2 inches - and that's not counting the fringe or necklace! The larger Wolf bag uses approximately 5300 Deilca beads, and the larger Tiger, which measures 3 1/8 X 3 1/2 inches, uses approximately 7000 Delica beads. Each bead is held in place by thread only. There is no material involved. Each bead is picked up on the needle and individually woven into the bag. I use the peyote stitch to weave the bags. Each bead has two threads passing through it. Each strand of fringe has two strands of thread; one going down, and one coming back up. On the necklace, I start with two strands of thread, and then I re-string the beads a second time, so that there are four strands of thread in the necklace. It takes approximately two twelve-hour days to bead a 1 3/4 X 2 1/4-inch bag. The necklace and fringe take another two days. It takes me anywhere from one to two days to create a pattern. So, from start to finish, a 1 3/4 X 2 1/4-inch bag may take from four to six twelve-hour days.

With the leather bags, I have a number of different leather choices. I have buffalo hides, elk, deer, and antelope. Lacing is usually done with deer hide. There are different options for the closure, and just the general look and feel. Please email me (click here to do that) so we can have a discussion about your design.

Gourd rattles come in different shapes and sizes. The process for making the rattles is very involved. First, each gourd must be cleaned very carefully on the inside, to remove all of the seeds so that the sound will be clear. Then I wood burn the image on the gourd. Next I add color to the burned image with colored pencils or paint. Then the image is sealed three times with a varnish. Next I turn the handles on a lathe. Then finished handles are sanded and stained. The objects to make sound are added to the gourd and the handles glued in. Finally three more coats of poly-urathane are applied. I currently have rattles prepared, and I am willing to work with people to create for them the image that calls to them. Just email me, to start the conversation.