This Thanksgiving week At Cione Recreation Center we celebrated Indigenous Peoples in the Americas artistic traditions by making dreamcatchers. Although unclear, it’s speculated that dreamcatchers originated from the Ojibwe tribe of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas. Ojibwe and Lakota tribes used dreamcatchers as a way to boost good dreams for whomever hung one over their bed. The intricate weaving was designed to catch the bad dreams and let the good dreams fall through the middle, down to the sleeper.

Traditionally, a dreamcatcher is formed into a ring using pliable bark, which is then held together by some fiber. I modified this design and used paper plates instead. I prepared the plates ahead of class by cutting out a circle in the center. Using a hole puncher I made two different sets of dreamcatcher rings. Each had a specific amount of holes with a number pattern. Students had to weave through the holes following the numbers to create a star shape in their dream catcher.

This was definitely a challenging project. I was so happy to see the students rise up to it and try their best! Since this group is such a wide age range I also gave all of the students the option of making whatever design they wanted to. However, a majority of the students tried to follow the layouts I gave them. Students who completed their weaving added embellishments with beads and feathers.

I was delighted that the mom of one of the students arrived early and decided to stay and help her child finish their dreamcatcher. That student’s enthusiasm for the project increased greatly when her mom joined in. Her mom was excited about the craft and happy to enjoy the moment of making art with her child. It is so important for families to do these kinds of activities together. Whether that is making art, music, playing a sport or any activity that involves learning a new skill. These moments help to strengthen the bonds between children and their guardians.

Of course, we ended with a photo shoot to celebrate the student’s beautiful creations!

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