Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Where do the jewelry descriptions come from?

Photo used with permission from
So about the stories around my jewelery that you see in my Etsy shop - I'm laying asleep in my bed, it's five in the morning, and the music comes on my wakeup ipod. Lovely music, and I float along and realize there are all these thoughts roiling in my brain. I listen to them, and pretty soon I realize they're for you!

I wake up and fix coffee, if it's a really good day, it's Kona from Hawaii, and I zombie footstep over to my computer and sit down, and write. What a pleasure. After a few sips I read it over and realize it's a bit of a gift, from spirit, to me, to you.

I love the receiving end of my artwork. I never know what exactly it'll be - seems to be some combination of what I want to share with what spirit wants to give, all good. Very good. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gold, Silver, and Copper, As I Know Them - A Meditation

In my signature necklaces I like to include gold, silver, and copper, and here is the story of why....

Photo used with permission from
In the early days of when I started to meditate (some 30 years ago) I had a vision in which I encountered a most beautiful being. The "agenda" I had posed, which is a common approach when seeking answers or "advice" in meditation, was that I invited my guide to come and introduce him or herself to me. In my mind I imagined that perhaps I'd finally get to see "my spiritual teacher," or "higher self," and develop a relationship with one who could advise me on matters close to my heart and confusing in the material world. Little did I know that meditation, the language of the spirit, does not always work as easily as that.

As I sat in the quiet of my study, I began to see a shape materialize, the shape that became an awesomely exquisite woman with dark skin, piercing green eyes, beautiful long black hair, and seemingly perfect in every way. She stood and stared at me, not moving, saying nothing, then turned her back on me and slowly disappeared. It was as if she melted away as she left. Her beauty was enviable. But she was not smiling, not even a little bit. She looked sad, and I felt incredibly powerful energies emanating from her. I felt very drawn to her, but also confused, as the meeting did not go as I'd imagined.

I had wanted to talk with her, to ask her things, to feel some kind of love, some sign of her affection and wisdom. But this appearance wasn't at all what I had wanted to experience. It was unsettling to say the least, and would become even more so....

At the time, I was attending small public sessions presented by a channeler (I forget her name, it's in my journals but there are 30 years of them and I'll get quite sidetracked if I look it up). She conducted her sessions in my favorite new age bookstore on Tuesday evenings, to audiences of about 20 or 30 attendees. These were people from all walks of life, who simply had questions and were curious to find out if we could get helpful information from "esoterical" sources. Many of the sessions were conducted such that attendees would each get a turn to ask a question, and the channeler would "go within" to seek answers.

When my turn came, I asked if the woman in my meditation was "my guide," and the channeler said to me, "She is not of the light." She closed her eyes, listened hard, shook her head gently, and said, "You must seek her again."

This, needless to say, was not the reply I had expected or wished for, and it put me off of meditation for several weeks as I didn't want to have encounters with ANY entities not of the light. I was scared to go back into meditation to converse with this entity, not knowing what she wanted from me or what evil she might do to my psyche. But after a few weeks I decided the not knowing was worse than the risk (had no patience with letting the fear hold me back), so I set about doing another meditation to call upon this entity and find out more. The result was surprising, and meaningful, in an archetypal way that I found I could apply to many questions in my life.

Finally, my courage up, I went into my study, and floated into the familiar trancelike mindset, first requesting the protection of my Creator, and asking for teaching of the highest quality (which is a recommended first step for any meditation, along with closure at the end). Then, slowly the beautiful woman reappeared, looking exactly the same as before. I found myself pointing at her and suddenly saw, streaming from my right hand, a bright flow of light, first golden, then silver, then copper. It streamed from me to her, and she absorbed it, smiled, and slowly disappeared as the emanations dwindled from my fingers.

As with many meditations, the meaning becomes more clear as time passes, and often with some research involved. With this one it took me a while, but eventually I came across some information that brought the meaning to life. The information was that in some cultures/beliefs, gold represents wealth, silver represents purity, and copper represents transformation (this somehow felt "right" to me). So what I understood from this meditation was that she had been lacking in these elements/qualities, and I had the power to bestow them on her (surprise). Once they were given to her she became whole (enlightened).

I understood that wealth doesn't necessarily mean "money" as we know it. I understood it more as fulfillment in this particular meditation. I had called her to teach, and she now had a purpose, which could fulfill her. I understood silver's representation of purity as a symbol of the agreement between us, that all of our exchanges would be pure, devoid of any harmful intention, meant for the good of the whole. And the last element that I had given her, copper, represented transformation, the magical thing that comes about through understanding and knowledge.

So when I first met her she was incomplete, and after our first exchange she was restored, and so our relationship could begin on those terms. She was not going to settle for teaching a pupil who would give up their authority, in the sense that I had to engage and become part of the learning, and she was not going to settle for a pupil who would come to rely on her without bringing their own knowledge to bear. Perhaps my higher self indeed - she knew me better than any other could. And I was the only one who could give her what she needed - fulfillment, the intention for the best for all (the good of the whole), and understanding and knowledge - the culmination of the meditation. So we were now ready to move to the next level. The other revelation/understanding I took from this meditation was that not everyone who is "bad" is inherently evil, they may be only "lacking," and when we can fill that void, the place where something is "missing," we can restore them to their inherent potential for good.

As I thought about the people on this planet who hurt others, I could see the value in understanding that what we sometimes perceive as "evil," can also be understood as "something missing"; a void, and if we can figure out how to fill that void (admittedly sometimes a verrrry tall order), we can bring about restoration, which is not to say these people are "healed," because learning, application, and refinement must take place with their commitment and participation, before they can be perceived as "healed." They are simply brought back to a place where the "healing" can take place.

Just food for thought, and a bit of insight as to why I include silver, gold, and copper into my signature necklaces - for wealth, purity, and transformation, three of the essential elements which to me, represent qualities which can take us to higher levels.

Signature Necklace Detail (sold)

I'll have more signature necklaces available in which I incorporate silver, gold, and copper, soon at Dreamkeeper Creations, stay in touch : )

Signature Necklace Large View (sold)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Who needs sleep anyway?

Fairy Godmother with Wand

Last night I stayed up til 4 a.m. enchanted by the beads again (uh oh). My latest order of charms arrived yesterday afternoon from Treasure Island Jewelry, and as I checked it over that night, I fell in love with every one of them - I bet you will too! Beautiful sterling silver flowers (dogwood, hibiscus, sunflower) and pixie people (elf, female winged sprite, fairy godmother) and some of my favorite animals (sweetest little duck you ever saw - think Easter all year 'round when you wear the pendant I'll make with this little treasure). The purple box I keep them in is bursting at the seams. Can't wait to spend some time making more pendants.

Winged Sprite

Spent time poring through the Shipwreck Beads catalog in search of sparklies for my sister's Christmas order for 12 of her closest women friends - lucky them, lucky me! I've read about every page of this catalog - all compleeetely delicious.

I'm finding that it's really fun and inspiring to do commissioned work (will set this up in my Etsy shop soon, so you can convo me and let me know what you'd like). The way we went about it was that she gave me a couple of sentences about each of her friends, with suggestions for color, what their main interests are, plus a few personality traits. Then we just let spirit take over. Looking for just the right charm and just the right focal bead is such fun! Fusion Beads is another fabulous resource for sparklies! Eventually I'll hook up with artists who make beads by hand - and then you'll see some really exquisite stuff. Here's where you can find some great information on how silver charms are made and what goes into getting set up. These links give you an idea of the work that goes on behind the scenes for your special pieces of jewelry. The hardest thing for me is choosing - I want one of each!

When Pigs Take Flight

All the charms shown here can be found at the wholesale supply company Treasure Island Jewelry
I so meant to take a nap today, but don't want to miss a minute, so I'm kind of floating through the day - likely you'll find me snoozing on the couch after dinner.

I feel such urgency to get the rest of the photos up on Etsy so you can really see what I've been doing for you, but this week I learned something important about starting a small business. I chose the name for my business a while back, and when I went to the bank to set up a business account I learned that if the name of the business doesn't include my last name (who can spell or remember that?!) I have to file an application for a "fictitious name," and the app has to go all the way down to Harrisburg and back. It may take as long as three weeks. So the app has been sent, plus had to put a notice in the newspaper, so everyone knows that my real name (Jen Berghage) is associated with my "fictitious" name (Dreamkeeper Creations). Once I get the notarized copy back from Harrisburg I'll run to the bank and set up my account so the Paypal button will work on Etsy. Can't wait! Stay tuned : )

Update - October 2010 - Paypal's set up in my Etsy shop, yay!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

How I Discovered I Love Working With Beads - Past Life Regression

I lived in beautiful California for many years in my 20s and 30s, where the mindset is freeflowing and progressive. While there I spent time exploring many new age concepts, which included various kinds of meditation, hypnotherapy, past life regression, alternative healing, etc.

According to Michael Newton, Ph.D., past life therapy is a wonderful tool we can use to tap into forgotten skills and talents (like beadworking) as well as to initialize emotional and physical healing. It's also a great way to find out about the history of the relationships you have with people in your life and to help you understand how to make good decisions about these relationships.

When I encountered Dr. Newton's material I decided the only way to really know if what he was talking about was true was to try it. So I started by doing meditations and regressions guided by several different practitioners, some with academic backgrounds, some degreed health professionals, like Marion Winisky RN, MA. And I learned a lot from others who have great information and materials available commercially, like Dick Sutphen and Sonia Choquette. Check out Sutphen's Web site and some of Sonia's information.

So back to how I discovered my hidden love for beadwork. I explored several different past life regressions over a period of several years, and one of these was, as these events usually are, surprising in many ways. I saw myself walking over a rainbow, this being a common method that guided meditation uses to get the mind to go within, and when I got to the other side of the rainbow I found myself in a beautiful wooded area, interspersed with large meadows. It was fall, and the sun was glistening through the yellow and orange leaves. I bent over to look at my feet, and found myself touching the soft tanned hide of the knee-high boots I was wearing (examining the shoes you're wearing is common method to "ground yourself" within a regression). On this hide were bead designs, with a lot of green and blue and white. I can still remember the tactile feeling of the soft hide and the texture of the beads as I ran my hand over them. The boots were comfortable and beautiful as well as functional in that environment.

As I stood up I became aware that I was a Shoshone female, with long black hair that grew past my waist. I was what would today be considered overweight, but in those days and in that culture, a plump woman was considered very attractive for childbearing.

I had on a fringed dress of soft tanned hide, and I don't remember much detail about the dress. After touching the boots I was wearing, I stood up straight and looked around. I noticed the trees glistening in the fall sunshine, their leaves shimmering in the wind. Then a sound came to my ears, the sound of others. I became aware that the women were working together and children were playing together, watched over by the elders. Much of the work was done by those who were neither very young nor very old, but strong and capable and well trained according to their interests.

I remember the feeling of my heart being flooded with love, a love greater than any I had imagined in my current life. It was the love of the whole community, where I had a place of honor. I was known as the one who took care of many children and my specialty was doing beadwork. The items I made were sought after over a wide region, not only in my own community.

What I understood during this regression was that during that lifetime, one of the things I had chosen to learn for my soul agenda was to live such that I would have a full understanding of the concept of giving.

At this point in the regression I understood what giving in a communal culture meant. I had a place of belonging, I held the respect of my community, I felt loved. And I loved, through my work and the care of the children, so I had an outlet for the love I wanted to share.

I was about to be married to a man I loved, and carried this sweet knowledge in my heart, looking forward to the time that this would come about.

As many regressions do, I learned during this one that there is more to know about giving than we imagine, and it surprised me. What happened is that I walked down the wooded path under the dappled sunlight towards a clear creek, the sounds of the water sharing their own kind of music, peaceful to my soul. But as I neared the creek, a warrior on a horse approached me very fast. He grabbed me around the waist and tried to pull me up with him on the horse. I struggled, and he slit my throat with a long, fat, sharp knife.

His arm loosened from around my waist and I slid down to the ground, limp, with the life flowing from my body though my mind was still very much alive.

In those moments I knew his thoughts, that if he couldn't have me, then no one could, and my own thoughts, that he could not hurt me for I was of spirit, and spirit is energy that is always alive.

In those moments the thought ran through my mind, "I release you I release you for you can do me no harm." And that was the end of that life as I knew it.

I had no fear during the regression, since we are somewhat emotionally unattached as we experience them, kind of like watching a movie.

Past life regression can teach us a lot about many things, and what I find with each one is that there is usually a gift that we can apply that has the potential to change our lives for the better, and also those around us.

What I understood after this regression was over is that when we think that we are controlled by another, we find out that we are, in the end, free to continue living, and the finality that we associate with death is only an illusion. My reaction upon my death in that regression was based in the cultural certainty and simplicity of love, spirit, life, sustenance, continuity, and cycles of that lifetime. The gift of the regression was the knowing that we are truly free if only we choose to be, and this can affect others in a good way because it supports cosmic law.

So in learning about giving I found myself giving all that I thought I had, including my life, only to find that because the cycles of life are circular and infinite, the life experience only continues and cannot be truly stopped by anyone or anything for any reason.

Cool concept.

Here's a little taste of Shoshone beadwork currently displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

What's interesting to me about this regression is that in all the years I lived out West, I had never known that Native American women wore knee-high boots. After the regression I looked in every museum I visited, seeking some kind of substantiation for this, but found none. Then with the advent of the Internet I was able to research, and when I came upon some photos of the knee-high boots that Shoshone women wore, I realized they were very similar to the ones in my regression.The other thing that's interesting about the Native American beadwork is that if you study the different tribes and go way back, you can learn to "read" the beadwork, as the graphic designs represent various cultural beliefs/teachings. The symbols represent often universal concepts and "discoveries" about the frontiers of the mind and so many other things that we are rediscovering today. What's seemingly new is, in actuality, very very old.

The other thing that happened as a result of the regression was that I discovered a huge interest in beadwork. I found that the love and the interest stayed very much alive, and that the skills came very easily to me (carryover skills - yay). They also brought me more joy than anything creative I had yet encountered. I believe it's because they are a part of my spiritual history, which is likely longer than just this time around.

I understand that some of these beliefs are controversial. The only thing I can say about that is that we are all on our own paths, and I know that for each person, their own path is just right for them. I find mine interesting, certainly, full of surprises, and more rewarding than I could have imagined in my wildest dreams.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

I've been treasure hunting for you!

Today was a blast. I spent quite some time out in cyberspace treasure hunting for high quality sterling silver charms to add to the bottom of the pendants I love to create. Wow, there's a lot to choose from out there! I look for beauty first - if the charm's a character (I have a Fairy Godmother and some beautiful angels coming, plus a whole bunch more), I look at the features of their faces to make sure the artist who created them took the time to develop beautiful faces.

There are so many categories to choose from, all the way from sports to religion to nature, with a host of options in-between. It's tough to try to figure out whether you'll relate to the ones I choose. So I figure if they make me laugh, they're in, and if they kick up some sweet nostaligic memories, they're in. Ugly is out. Poor craftsmanship is out. When you buy my jewelry, you're going to get the best I can find, and I'm a stickler for great craftsmanship, lucky you! Lucky me, cause I get to work with these little beauties.

My prayer for when they arrive is "please just let me leave some for the customers," because I tend to enjoy "betta testing" my jewelry to make sure it holds up well, and you never know what's going to match the outfit I've picked out to wear for the day. Really, a girl can have too many sparkly, mysterious, energy filled gorgeous glass bead lucky charm pendants, and that's how the business of Dreamkeeper Creations was born!

Today I also spent many hours getting photos of the earrings and pendants up so the site is at last up and running, yay. Have fun, enjoy!
Desert Jackrabbit Banded Onyx Pendant
Arizona Twilight Teardrop Earrings

You can see I'm into the fall colors right now. With the trees looking their most glorious outside, it's hard to resist those golds and oranges,  with a touch of green to remind us of spring....

I know what I'm doing tomorrow - more photos and items up on Etsy for you!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Dolls Already Here and Many to Come

So if you've purchased any of my jewelry you've also received one of my business cards, and on there it says that I make "one of a kind dolls." You may be wondering about that since you haven't seen any on Etsy - YET....

I have several in the works, and you'll see them soon, and be able to purchase them. They're based on universal themes, for example, I'm making a Sky Doll, and a Green Man Doll, an Angel Doll, and a Rainy Day Doll, a Creation Spirit Doll, a Viking Doll, a Power Doll, and many others. Their bodies are made of gorgeous fabrics, sometimes completely covered with beads, sometimes only partially decorated with beads. I've spent quite a bit of time learning various stitching patterns with beads, and they each have enough fringe to feel really good when you run it through your hands. They're big enough to feel good to hold, but not huge - anywhere between 6 and 15" tall. Look for photos soon, and I'll blog about the history and making of them here. They take more time than my jewelry creations, so they're a little slower in coming, but well worth the wait! The ones I'll have on Etsy will likely run between $150 and $350. They take a lot of time, but they're real charmers : )

I have a couple that run into the thousands - the little mermaid doll (which belongs to my daughter) took about 200 hours to make, and was a labor of love. The beads are sewn on about 10 beads at a time, and then I go back and overloop the thread next to each bead so that it sits tight and stays put. You wouldn't belieeeve how good this doll feels in your hands. She's about 6" tall.

Little Mermaid Doll

Back of Little Mermaid Doll
This little Angel Doll I made for my son's girlfriend, whose father was diagnosed with mesothelioma - he was so sick, and I wanted her to feel the angels were close, not only to him, but to the family as well. He passed away in August and though there's some comfort in the end of his suffering, and loving thoughts of his new journeys, he is very very much missed.

Little Angel Doll

Back of Little Angel Doll
Here's a preview of my Power Doll (below). Don't be too disappointed, she's for me, so not for sale. It's serendipitous that I would be making her now, as my business gets started, because "in yin and yang terminology, a dragon is yang (male) and complements a yin (female) fenghuang 'Chinese Phoenix'," (Chinese Dragon, Wikipedia). What this means is that there's a connection between my female (receptive) nature and my male (active) nature happening, which is why the business is finally graduating from being just a dream to becoming a reality - kind of exciting. That connection has been a long time coming.

For most of my dolls, I get the molds for their faces from Kimberly Crick, who's very talented. I use ProSculpt Clay to make the faces, which you can get at, and then I carefully paint them with acrylic paint. Just the faces can take from 4 to 8 hours depending on how detailed they are.

This doll's coming along, but is really a work in progress. I have about 23 hours in this one so far, and she's not nearly done. It took about 4 hours just to get the boobs done. In case you haven't noticed, I have a propensity for celebrating everything female : ) This doll's going to be covered with beads, should be fun to work on, and really feel good to hold....updates as progress continues.... She has Tibetan llama fur for her hair - I often spend time in antique stores rescuing furs from those dusty old shelves to give them new life and new love. Sometimes I buy new but I try to buy only fur that is from animals that have had a good life and a natural passing.

And here is my Sprite Doll - a mischievous little elfin creature quite content with her world.
Sprite Doll
Here's another view. She's holding a golden hummingbird (hummingbirds represent joy) and she's very balanced, which you can see in the design of her body/fabrics - though balanced definitely doesn't mean boring! She's quite moveable and I put her wherever strikes our fancy, on a shelf or my art table or wherever seems to please her for the moment : )

Sprite Doll
So now you have some idea of what's coming with my dolls. Don't worry, I'll still keep the magical jewelry coming - that's my solace in the evenings, but weekends are for longer projects - keep checking back!


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dancing with the Future - The Birth of My Etsy Shop

I've fallen in love with beading - am smitten by the color and sparkle of all kinds of beads, the endless variety, the tactile delight of so many different textures - a girl can have too many beads, and it's definitely time for me to share my treasures!

For the past couple of years I've spent countless evenings, weekends, and wee hour mornings in my favorite room at home, pups happily snoozing nearby, and sometimes husband too - while I lose myself in the delightful task of immersion in art.

I love to sort through the beads I've collected, discovering which ones go together best, watching as they come together to create a wearable object filled with a special magic and energy all its own! The necklace above is the one that represents the birth of my little business - the dancing spiral of life twirling it all into creation. The charm is the Eternity Goddess, embodying the spiral of creation as she dances and sways, spreading joy. It's a happy necklace, and I love to wear it, especially when I'm making new ones.

Recently I made a ladybug necklace for my Mom, who adores them. She hasn't seen it yet, hope she likes it - we'll find out soon! [Update - she loved it, yay!]

And for my sister, who loves elephants, I made a happy little guy.

She and Mom also love purple, so I made some different pendants for them to choose from. 

Purple is such an elegant color, full of mystery and rich as grapes at harvest time - I love to work with it. Look for more in my Etsy shop, Dreamkeeper Creations.

I've been working like mad to get it set up, and it's kind of like getting a brand new job - there's so much to learn! Here's a preview of what you'll find there, with much more to come!

Steel Blue Glass Tear Drop Earrings

Earth and Sky Eternity Goddess Necklace
Azure Tear Drop Earrings
Meadow Dancing Lunar Goddess Necklace

There's lots more to come, so check back often!


Friday, October 1, 2010

My Mission

My mission in opening Dreamkeeper Creations on Etsy is to share a bit of the pure joy I experience in making jewelry and other lovely items that celebrate life.

I believe that beauty is our right and our heritage, in all its forms; it heals us and helps to make us strong. I'll quote a lovely Native American poem which I first discovered in The World of the American Indian, published by the National Geographic Society in 1974, because it's close to my heart as I work with the beautiful colors and shapes and textures that so delight ~

In the house of long life,
there I wander.
In the house of happiness,
there I wander.
Beauty behind me,
with it I wander.
Beauty below me,
with it I wander.
Beauty above me,
with it I wander.
Beauty all around me,
with it I wander.
In my old age traveling,
with it I wander.
On the beautiful trail I am,
with it I wander.

And another worth mentioning ~

If the moment is not beautiful, recreate it.
        ~Author unknown

If we stand in the light, and open a door to a dark room, we see that the light shines forth, and the darkness is transformed. 


Witness the birth of a being (me) in the business of art (at last). Beauty rules! Soothes the soul, celebrates life in all its magnificence - share in the wonder. Beauty belongs to us all.

Here we go!