Archives for July 2014

the Shaman


the Shaman and Native American Beliefs

The belief and practice of Shamanism incorporates a range of beliefs, customs, ceremonies and rituals regarding communication with the spiritual world in which their religious leader, the Shaman, enters supernatural realms particularly when the tribe is facing adversity or need to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community including sickness.

The shaman uses appropriate words, objects and rituals to protect men from evil spirits – his role is that of opponent to the bad spirits and of guardian to the ordinary man. The role of the Shaman differs from tribe to tribe as there are some regional and tribal variations to their beliefs in Shamanism. There are, however, several common roles that are shared by every Shaman. A Shaman was a healer, communicator, educator, prophet and mystic:

  • Communicator: The Shaman provided help and advice to members of the tribe
  • Educator: The Shaman was the keeper of myth, tradition and tribal wisdom
  • Healer: The Shaman had Spiritual Healing powers and the ability to treat sickness caused by evil spirits – hence the Westernized name ‘Medicine Man’.
  • Prophet: The Shaman had the ability to perform various forms of prophecy
  • Mystic:  The Shaman possessed the ability to communicate with the spirit world, leave the body and enter the supernatural world to search for answers

A shaman was equipped with a number of objects that helped him to communicate with spirits in other worlds. They used dances, gestures and sounds as the symbolic powers of Shaman to enter the spirit world. A Shaman also wore ceremonial clothes and carried sacred objects such as rattles and drums to incarnate the spirits of nature and amplify their power. The Shaman of some tribes also used masks that were believed to hold spiritual powers and would identify them with the spirits in other worlds and activate their powers.

The belief in spirits and the ability of the Shaman to communicate with spirits was fundamental to Shamanism. The fundamental doctrine is based on the belief that every object in nature is controlled by its own independent spirit, or soul. Spirits inhabit the rivers, lakes, mountains, forests, trees, plants, sky, stars, sun, moon, animals, insects, fish, flowers and birds. Some spirits are good and help men who please them whereas other spirits are bad and liable to wreck havoc and harm on people and on tribes. It is the bad spirits that cause trouble, suffering, sickness, death and disease. If a Shaman had control over the spirits he became extremely powerful.
This bead crochet necklace was inspired by the idea of a Shaman and has images of a Shaman as well as pictographs.  The Shaman appears four times in the rope.
shaman closeup
Here’s how he looks when I was designing the pattern.   Sjaman diagram

Available in my shop if you want to wear your own shaman and control your own independent spirit.

creating the desert in glass and metal

A New Bracelet Prototype

Moody - new bracelet - prototype

New Designs – Creating the Prototype

So how do I go about designing something new?  Sometimes I sketch.  Sometimes I make a prototype.

For this design I was inspired by a bracelet that I saw in a magazine.  It was simply a metal bracelet that wrapped on the arm 4 – 5 times.  I liked the simplicity, but also wanted to incorporate some lampworked beads.  I have been making these spacer beads; flat wound disks that I finished with some clear raised dots.  What makes them really cool is a layer of a highly reactive glass before I add the dots.  You can see the flash of color from the side.
Moody bracelet


I made this prototype out of copper – because it is cheaper than silver.  I wanted to practice the riveting of the beads and figure out the placement.  I decided to add some sterling disks for contrast.  I’m really happy and will now begin to make them in silver with possibly a gold disk.  But I like wearing copper and my skin does not react adversely to copper; so this piece has found a home in my stash.

Oh yeah – why the name “Moody” – because the glass used is called “Moody Blue”

creating the desert in glass and metal



Western Diamondback – My inspiration

The Western Diamondback rattlesnake has dark diamond shaped patterns along it’s back.  It’s a pit viper with a triangular head.  The diamondback lives in Arizona and since it’s summer now they are out and about.  The rattler is made up of keratin, and they add a new rattle every time they shed their skin.  And they can shake that rattle up to 60 times per second.  In these hot days of summer they like to curl up under a bush, so I have to be extra careful walking the dog.  I found a recording of a rattle snake complements of the Desert Museum here in Tucson.  Click here to listen to the snake.

Back in June I wrote about designing a necklace based on a painting of the diamondback.  Well, the necklace is finally finished.  It is the first beaded crochet necklace where I have added one of my lampworked beads as a focal bead.  This bead is done in the Venetian style with 24k gold foil applied to the hot glass and then encased.  I’m very happy with the result.  Also while crocheting the necklace I purposely left out one bead on every other row.  Then when it was finished I went back and stitched in a 2mm black diamond Swarovski crystal.  This crystal really adds some bling.  Perhaps you can spot it among the bronze seed beads.

diamondback with crystal

creating the desert in glass and metal

Lampwork Bead Ring

Lampwork Bead ring

Using my Lampwork Beads in a ring

While I’m waiting for some materials to arrive from Rio Grande to finish a bracelet, I thought I would make a lampwork bead ring today.  I didn’t do much shopping at the Bead and Button show while I was there, but I did stop by fellow lampworker Jari Sheesh’s booth.  I love her beads and her use of silvered glass.  She inspires me to keep playing with this very expensive lampworking glass.  So when I got home I tried my hand at this lovely moody blue glass from Arrow Springs.  Reminds me of Tucson’s perfect blue sky.  I made several small disks and added dots of color, and then I wasn’t really sure what to do with them.  Today I decided they would look just perfect on top of this ring.  I also made some wonderful large hollow beads and will show them to you in another post.

I used a technique on this ring called coining an edge, which I really love.  The band is 1/2 inch wide.  The beads are tube riveted.  A small etched copper disk sits on top.  Will definitely make more – both the beads and the ring!

creating the desert in glass and metal