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Updated 25 July 2016

Dream catcher – a larger version.
Photo: Janusz Sobolewski
The making of dream catchers is a long tradition of Native Americans. There are probably also similar traditions in other parts of the world. 

What is for sure is that circular objects always have had a special position as a symbol powerful visual symbol in almost every culture. Circular shapes can be said to represent objects like the sun, moon, and the stars, which travel across the sky each day. The circle is also often seen as a symbol of the power of the sun, as a symbol of unity, of closure and control, but also openness, endlessness etc.

One should of course be careful when looking at objects with similar visual appearance, from different cultures. They might have something in common, but there might also be no such connection at all. The cultural meaning might be very different.

As far as the dream catcher is concerned: one might imagine that the night air is filled with dreams, which can be both good and bad. When a dream catcher is hung over or near your bed ia catches the dreams as they flow by. The dream catcher was believed to protect a sleeping individual from bad dreams, while at the same time letting positive dreams come through. All the positive dreams and thoughts would be able to pass through the center of the dream catcher, and then down the feathers to a sleeping person below. Negative dreams and thoughts, on the other hand, will get caught in the web, and disappear as soon as the first rays of the sun strike them. This is an idea that one might "believe" in, without having to give the objects any religious or transcendental significance. 

Sami drum, Bindal, Norway
Digitalt museum, CC-BY-SA
A dream catcher and similar artefacts can be made using a hoop of willow or another tree that is suitable. The hoop is then decorated with bits and pieces of everyday life, (feathers, arrow heads, beads, etc).

The idea is not to make this according to a step by step guide, but tutorials like this might still be a way to pick up some techniques:

Making a larger version. Comments in Norwegian, but you'll get the idea.
We also have at this in class:

 More about the process: