Last year when her mom was not feeling so well, Arlene Folk decided to make her happy by decorating a 12-foot diameter dreamcatcher and using colourful lights to give it a festive spark.
“Mama has Christmas lights every year in her yard. And yes it really cheered her up. And now we’re making smaller ones, like a four-foot size so other people can enjoy them.”
The master dreamweaver got help from her brother Earl John to set up the hoop from a trampoline frame. An example of the resulting decoration can be seen at Confectionary 881 in Mannville.
Folk says this year, their creative enterprise Askiy Dreamweavers is playing catch up, as everyone seems to want the Indigenous themed decoration.
Folk explains in the Ojibwe tradition, a dreamcatcher was made by a parent, with the webbing used to catch the child’s bad dreams, and allow the good dreams to flow down the feathers to the sleeping child. She adds in the morning, when the first sunlight comes up, the bad dreams are burnt off.
She makes her dreamcatchers with seven points signifying seven values or teachings.
“Love, respect, courage, humility, wisdom, truth and honesty.”
She adds that you can make a dreamcatcher with more points or teachings and this will give a tighter web.
Folk says while she can make a 12-foot diameter dreamcatcher in about 20 hours, she jokes she can make them in any size.
“I could make one so tiny, that you would need a magnifying glass to see the web.”
She says making a minute one is faster as she uses a needle.
She has found that bringing Indigenous culture together with Christmas is therapeutic.
“Oh it’s so healing. It’s my happy place. I am a Residential School survivor and I am also a Polio survivor. So this is not work to me. It’s absolutely the best time I’m having.”
Askiy Dreamweavers can be contacted on their Facebook page.