the Shaman

What is a Shaman?

Hi everyone, I want to talk a little mysticism today.  So I want to delve into a discussion of what exactly is a shaman.

Webster defines a shaman as a priest or priestess who uses magic for the purpose of curing the sick, divining the hidden, and controlling events.  

I’m pretty sure when you hear the word “shamanism,” you might picture feather headdresses, buffalo hides, medicine wheels and dream-catchers—all images associated with Native American cultures. But contrary to popular opinion, a “shaman” is not an Indian medicine man, and “shamanism” is not a Native American religion. In fact, many Native Americans find the terms “shaman” and “shamanism” offensive. The word “shaman” actually originates among the natives of Siberia, where it describes a specialized type of holy person. The shamans of Siberia interact with deities and spirits not only with prayer, ritual and offerings, but also through direct contact with the spirits themselves.

Wow, I’m glad to research this as I didn’t know that.

I was using the word shaman to indicate a symbol used by a medicine man or healer in the Native American culture.  In fact there are several symbols used in Native American spirituality. but calling them shaman is not correct. 

Kachina

A Kachina is a spirit being in western Pueblo beliefs. Kachinas are believed to reside with the tribe for half of each year. They will allow themselves to be seen by a community if its men properly perform a traditional ritual while wearing kachina masks and other regalia. The spirit-being depicted on the mask is thought to be actually present with or within the performer, temporarily transforming him.  

Kachinas are also depicted in small, heavily ornamented carved-wood dolls, which are traditionally made by the men of a tribe and presented to girls (boys receive bows and arrows). These wooden dolls are used to teach the identities of the kachinas and the symbolism of their regalia. The identity of the spirit is depicted not by the form of the doll’s body, which is usually simple and flat, but primarily by the applied color and elaborate feather, leather, and, occasionally, fabric ornamentation of its mask.

There are many types of kachinas – for instance bean kachina is used for making crops grow.  And buffalo kachina assures that there will be plentiful food in the winter.

A Kachina in my work

Awhile back I made this piece which I love to wear on special occasions.  I am glad to know that it would be considered a Kachina.  I have designated it blue sky kachina.  Wear it and all your days will have blue skys.

First I made the pendant.

Then the necklace

shaman kachina

carnelian and turquoise….

I designed it so you can wear it with or without the pendant

the pendant will slide on the necklace

 

kachina shaman

kachina shaman

I consider this a prototype…  

definitely more kachinas to come


So the rebranding is progressing

new wesite

new shop

stay tuned  for September

and if you want I’ll keep you posted

 

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creating the desert in glass and metal

 

Sketching

Sketching My Jewelry Designs

If you read about my Four Corners series you saw that I designed the template on the computer because I wanted symmetry and precision.  Sometimes organic sketching will do.  I am designing a series of rings that will utilize some awesome turquoise cabs that I got at the gem shows last year.  And I want the design to be more organic so I just sketched some possibilities on graph paper.

sketching

This turquoise is exquisite and the photo taken with my iphone just doesn’t capture them properly.  I will photograph the rings once they are finished.  By the way the orange stone is spiny oyster.  Also exquisitely cut.

The sketch is necessary to make sure that the stone fits the way I want it to on the backplate.  I usually sketch 1:1 but sometimes if there is detail I will blow up the design so that I can sketch details better.

Another big decision coming up is sizing the rings…  I think this time I will make several size ring shanks but not solder the top on til it is purchased so that the client can get the ring they want in the size they need.  I can do that for online sales but not for rings that go to a gallery.  The stones are one of a kind and will go into one of a kind rings.  

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

Using Turquoise in My Art Jewelry

The Meaning of Turquoise

Turquoise is perhaps the oldest stone in man’s history, the talisman of kings, shamans, and warriors. It is a stone of protection, strong and opaque, yet soothing to the touch, healing to the eye, as if carved from an azure heaven and slipped to earth.

The name Turquoise is derived from the French, pierre turquoise, meaning “Turkish stone,” because the trade routes that brought Turquoise to Europe from the mines in central Asia went through Turkey, and Venetian merchants often purchased the stone in Turkish bazaars.

For nearly a thousand years, Native Americans have mined and fashioned Turquoise, using it to guard their burial sites.  Indian priests wore it in ceremonies when calling upon the great spirit of the sky. Many honored Turquoise as the universal stone, believing their minds would become one with the universe when wearing it. Because of its ability to change colors, it was used in prophesy or divining. To the prehistoric Indian, Turquoise, worn on the body or used in ceremonies always signified the god of the sky alive in the earth.1

Turquoise Healing Energy

Turquoise is a strengthening stone, good for exhaustion, depression, or panic attacks. It enhances physical and psychic immune systems, supporting the assimilation of nutrients, alleviating pollution and viral infections. It is anti-inflammatory and detoxifying, reducing excess acidity and benefiting gout, rheumatism, and the stomach.  Turquoise is a most efficient healer, providing solace for the spirit and well-being for the body. It benefits the overall mood and emotion by balancing and inducing a sense of serenity and peace. Holding or wearing Turquoise helps restore depleted vitality and lifts sagging spirits. It relieves stress and brings focus back to the center heart.

Turquoise is the traditional birthstone of those born in December.  Turquoise is one of the zodiac stones for those born under the sign, Sagattarius, between November 22 and December 21, the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter. Sagittarians are optimistic, kind, and adventurous, and their outlook on life is extremely positive.

Turquoise Stones

Turquoise from different mines are very different in appearance.  Today I am going to talk about 2 types – Royston and Kingman because I was lucky to acquire some wonderful cabochons last year at the gem and jewelry shows in Tucson.  I’m in the process of making some rings this week.  (I need to use up my stash before I can buy new stones!!!)

Royston Turquoise

turquoise

Royston is a turquoise mine located within the Royston District near Tonopah, Nevada. The Royston District consists of several mines including Royston, Royal Blue, Oscar Wehrend and Bunker Hill. While Royston is considered an active mine, it is a very small operation. Royston turquoise is known for its beautiful deep green to rich light blue colors. Royston stones are often two-tone, displaying both dark and light green and sometimes blue. Royston has a heavy matrix ranging from dark brown to gold in color. This matrix makes for beautiful combinations with the color variations of the stone. Today, the Royston district is still producing turquoise of high quality, but in limited amounts.

Kingman Turquoise

turquoise

SONY DSC

Copper mining in the Mineral Park Mining District around Kingman has produced a large supply of turquoise through the years. The Kingman mine re-opened in September 2004 after being closed since the 1970’s. About 95% of Kingman is stabilized which makes it very affordable. The remaining 5% of the Kingman turquoise stays in its natural state. High-grade Kingman turquoise is medium to dark blue color and frequently flecked with pyrite and sometimes quarts. In its high-grade form it has always been considered among the top quality turquoise. The best Kingman being produced today is deep blue with black matrix with some being spider web.

I’ll post pictures of the rings as soon as they are done.

creating the desert in glass and metal


  1. https://www.crystalvaults.com/crystal-encyclopedia/turquoise

 

 

Turquoise

Turquoise enhancer

the Turquoise Cab

I have been shopping at the Tucson Gem and Jewelry shows now for years.  My stash of beads and stuff is huge.  I have a personality flaw though.  I tend to keep things until I feel I have the perfect design for it.  And as you can imagine I never feel I have the perfect design.  So I told myself I could buy new gemstones this year only if I started to use the ones I already have.  So I am on a creating mission.

This turquoise cab is faceted.  I don’t think you can really see that in the above photo, but it is an exquisite stone.  I bought 2 of them about 5 years ago.  I thought they would become earrings, but they are just a little too big for me for earrings.  Instead it was set into this petroglyph fetish pendant.  Actually it is an enhancer as it can be removed and worn on any necklace or chain.

the Necklace

I purchased some wonderful turquoise beads this past March when I attended the BeadFest gathering in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  So I felt this enhancer needed a special necklace.

Turquoise Necklace

I think the carnelian beads add just the right pop of color.

Here it is all together….

Turquoise necklace

Here is the back of the enhancer so you can see it just slips on the silver tube bead in the necklace.

You can see my hallmark too… plus a nifty little snake embellishment

turquoise enhancer back

And here it is on me…

turquoise necklace on model

Of course I made a bracelet to match and later will make some earrings.

Turquoise is the symbol of friendship. It also brings peace to the home. This stone is a very personal and meaningful stone to one who wears it. Turquoise takes on the characteristics of the owner. Turquoise carries great wisdom of basic truth within it.

creating the desert in glass and metal