Finally, the Amulets

Anti-capitalism rattle
Thanks to everyone for all your good advice about keeping the tendonitis at bay. My hand is slowly getting better. My wrist brace is my new best friend - I got the "ladies slim-fit" Tensor brace and boy, it works a charm!

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!
Whew, that was a long stretch of words. If you are still with me, here are some short snappers. Above, a piece of leather (found free at the library - a local artisan had donated scraps of leather cut into bookmarks) encases a secret prayer. Simply folded over a loop of leather and stitched with waxed linen. Inspired by the piece below:
which comes from this interesting post on Found, Stitched and Dyed.

A couple of weeks ago there was an oil spill in Vancouver's English Bay, just across the Salish Sea from where I live. I made this amulet as a protector of our waters. A prayer is encased in a very simple felt pouch, embellished with miniature abalone buttons (a la 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.
And here they are all in a pile - the square and the triangle are from earlier posts. I would love to see what others have done - please send links to the Comments box. For more inspiration, here's an excellent link from the Pitt Rivers Museum.


  1. Lovely - all of them.

  2. wonderful thoughtful asortment

  3. Such special pieces! Thanks so much for sharing them. I especially feel our waters need protection. The oil spill left me totally incensed at the sloppiness and stupidity. Grr...

  4. thank you for sharing the making, love how amulets & talismans make themselves when needed here's a link to the recent ones-

  5. Anonymous6:28 AM

    Your construction of the amulets reminds me of the writing of haiku. The materials are things you find, or that come to you, so it's about the moment, and they are small. haiku is similar in that it uses imagery that comes from the season, the present time, and they are brief. Maybe you and Jacquie Pearce could do a joint haiku-amulet workshop, writing about the moment and making something in the moment. I am sure the resulting amulets would contain great power.


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