Speaking of charms, here is the round up of amulets I promised on Monday. Above is the finished anti-toxic capitalism amulet I had started back here. The day I wrote that post, I took the dogs for a walk in the 707, Gabriola's huge, raggedly wild park. We walked, and I thought about how I might go about making such an amulet. I was sure that the materials it would be made out of needed to be as far removed from the world of commerce as possible. I looked down at my feet, and there was a crow feather! It was perfect, and became the guide to all the other elements.
I bound a tuft of Gracie's long tail hair that I found on the carpet to the crow feather with the last bit of Treenway silk I had leftover from the "Wheel of Life" Codex piece. Manufactured, true, but locally spun and dyed, and I even knew the person who had dyed it.
I then decided to go with Jean-Pierre's suggestion that I make kind of a rattle, and found a nice, still joined scallop shell on one of my beach walks. I had some ancient indian corn seeds, so they went inside the shell to make a (somewhat) fearsome sound when the shell was shaken. I wrapped handmade hemp twine from Nepal around the shell to hold it together, after first laying a loop of red cord across one half of the shell so that it could be hung, and so I could attach the crow feather.
Turned out that because of the shape of the shell, the stiff twine wanted to slide off. First I tried securing it at the centre with some more red cord, but that only partially worked. There needed to be a way of fastening the twine at the edges. First I thought of balsam fir gum, which is sticky and would smell like the forest. I went out to my back yard, and saw that the balsams my mom had recently pruned were dripping gum from their wounds. Seredipity! I used my finger to rub sticky gum over the threads, and that worked.
However, I thought that the stickiness would gather dust and fluff and lose its holding power, so to seal it permanently I got out a beeswax candle made with the comb of honeybees I used to keep when I lived in the Kootenays, about fifteen years ago. Powerful stuff! I lit the candle and dripped the meltings around the edge of the shell.
All that was needed now was to attach the shell to the feather. I took a short piece of copper wire found in my garden and wrapped it securely around the quill end of the feather and the tag ends of the red loop that went through the shell.. Ta-da!
A long, but thoroughly enjoyable process wherein I worked intuitively, being open to what the universe presented me with, and responded to the needs of the piece at every stage of the process. In a way, it was like the amulet made itself!
Found, Stitched and Dyed.
Northwest Coastal button blankets) and a small Japanese turtle charm - the turtle signifying both Turtle Island, the First Nations term for North America, and longevity.