January 23, 2018

Weaving good dreams

Originally created by American Indians, dreamcatchers today come in a variety of different sizes and styles. They usually consist of a small wooden hoop covered in a net or web of natural fibres, with meaningful sacred items like feathers and beads attached, hanging down from the bottom of the hoop.

Rena Rufino

Real authentic, traditional dreamcatchers are handmade and crafted only from all natural materials, measuring just a few small inches across in size. The circular shape of the dreamcatcher represents the circle of life, with no beginning and no end. This is significant to many Native Americans because they believe that death is a part of life and that the spirit lives on. The dreamcatcher is woven to resemble a spider’s web, and a single bead represents the spider. Multiple beads represent trapped dreams.
The legend of the dreamcatcher is that it captures the bad spirits and filters them. Protecting us from evil and letting through only the good dreams. It is believed that each carefully woven web will catch bad spirit dreams in the web and disappear by perishing with the first light of the morning sun. The good spirit dreams will find their way to the centre and float down the sacred feather.
Dreamcatchers are also believed to bless the “sleeping ones” with pleasant dreams, good luck, and harmony throughout their lives. It is said that this is how many people remember lessons in our community and get their visions. Also, it is believed that when you get a good night sleep you can remember when the spirit has talked to you. Notably, dreamcatchers were given to new born and/or hung on an infant’s cradle for good dreams.
In Guyana, the significance or even what dreamcatchers look like may not be popularly known, but crafter/artist Rena Rufino wants to change, as this is part of her indigenous heritage.
In an interview with Sunday Times Magazine, the 27-year-old who hails from Shea Village, South Rupununi, Region Nine, said that she attended private craft classes in Paraguay. Additionally, she lived in Mexico and Paraguay with renowned indigenous Guyanese artist/archaeologist, George Simon and family.

A few of her smaller dreamcatchers

“I would visit museums and attend art and craft festivals. I became more interested in art and craft while I was in Paraguay. I attended art and craft festivals every first Sunday of each month and I would observe artists and crafters demonstrating their work. Out of all I saw, I chose to create dreamcatchers because it helps me to be patient and creative and keeps my mind active. Dreamcatchers also have deep meaning,” Rena noted.
She also mentioned that for now dreamcatchers are the only craft she creates. This is so because crafting is something Rena has come to appreciate after seeing her late grandmother and her mother make cotton hammocks.
“I have been creating dreamcatchers for almost two years. Apart from creating dreamcatchers, I am a certified DOULA, which means a trained professional in child birth who provides emotional, physical and educational support to a woman before, during and after delivery,” she pointed out.
For her future plans, Rena hopes to create a network with other crafters and artists. Later this month, she will be meeting with George Simon and team in Georgetown as she begins to build her network. Notably, Rena was one of the organisers for the art and craft festival in Georgetown last September.
For more information, check out Rena Dreamcatchers on Facebook.(Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)