In the Talismans exhibit, there are four gourd rattles for shamanic journey work. This Saturday I am bringing some rattles from my collection to the gallery to show you. Rattles are an ancient healing instrument used to clear energy in a space or around a person’s body. The sound inside the gourd imitates the sound of rain, a cleansing element. Other materials are sometimes used in making rattles, like rawhide and turtle shells. Traditionally they are associated with the season winter, and the direction north.

Grandfather Rattle, oil painted gourd & wood with fabric and beads by Kathleen O'Brien

Grandfather Rattle, oil painted gourd & wood with fabric and beads by Kathleen O’Brien

I have been making rattles and teaching how to make them for about 30 years. Click here to see a photo of my first rattle, the Dawn Rattle. It has peyote stitch beadwork on the whole length of the wood handle. One reason I love making them is that it is a great platform for doing various kinds of bead techniques.

Grandfather Rattle, detail, oil painted gourd & wood with fabric and beads by Kathleen O'Brien

Grandfather Rattle, detail, oil painted gourd & wood with fabric and beads by Kathleen O’Brien

On the Grandfather Rattle lazy stitch is used.

2 Red Rattles, oil painted gourd & wood with fabric and beads by Kathleen O'Brien

2 Red Rattles, oil painted gourd & wood with fabric and beads by Kathleen O’Brien

The Red Rattle on the left has silk velvet with embroidery beadwork. The one on the right has peyote stitch beadwork. I hope you can see these in person, it’s hard to see in these photos! When I was at the gallery, I took new photos:

Red Rattle 2, oil painted gourd & wood with fabric and beads by Kathleen O'Brien

Red Rattle 2, oil painted gourd & wood with fabric and beads by Kathleen O’Brien

Red Rattle 1, oil painted gourd  with fabric and beads by Kathleen O'Brien

Red Rattle 1, oil painted gourd with fabric and beads by Kathleen O’Brien

Swan Rattle, oil painted gourd with fabric and beads by Kathleen O'Brien

Swan Rattle, oil painted gourd with fabric and beads by Kathleen O’Brien

The Swan Rattle is an entire gourd with peyote stitch beadwork. Each rattle is unique, not only visually, but in the sound they create. Some are high pitched, some lower. I always feel better after playing a rattle. Let’s experiment to see how you feel paying one.

The gallery just asked me to extend the exhibit until April 25.

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