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Catching your dreams.

Four friends are helping children across the island sleep peacefully throughout the night by creating a colourful collection of catchers ancient Native American Indian tribes believed helped keep bad dreams away.

The Dreamcatcher Factory has been launched by entrepreneurial friends Shaima Mohamed, 26, Nadia Ebrahim, 25, Razan Salman, 25 and Dalia Bucheery, 21, who remain mesmerised by the beauty and symbolism of the handmade, feathered and beaded hoops from their childhood days.

They found comfort in having dream-catchers hung above their beds at night when they were growing up and decided to share their passion by making and selling them to spread positivity and love.

Shaima, who graduated from Bahrain Polytechnic in marketing, said: "Growing up, we all had ones. When I was eight, my mum gave me a dream-catcher and I loved it. It helped me sleep at night and was beautiful to look at.

"When Razan, Nadia, Dalia and I heard that our university needed participants for its AIESEC International Cultural Market we thought about making dream-catchers. I had already made one myself after a lot of research and it took seven hours to perfect, so I showed the girls how I did it and the rest is history!

"Teaching the girls was especially fun as we practiced and made them in university which I'm sure annoyed a lot of our tutors.

"We were surprised how few people knew about dream-catchers although some had come across them from movies like Twilight.

"A dream-catcher may be something small to some, but it could possibly have a big impact on a little child who is afraid to go to bed."

After launching the products via social media five years ago, demand for the tiny structures gradually increased.

Dream-catchers are associated with Native American culture but are often believed to have originated from the Ojibwa Chippewa tribe and Lakota nations. The Ojibwa word for dream-catcher means spider, referring to the web woven to loosely cover a hoop.

According to the ancient story, a mystical and maternal Spider Woman served as the spiritual protector for the tribe, especially for babies and children. As the tribe continued to grow and spread out across the land, the Spider Woman found it difficult to continue to protect and watch over all the members of the tribe as they travelled farther away. Stories suggest that is why she created the dream-catcher, to watch over her people wherever they were.

The sacred hoops were traditionally used as talismans to protect sleeping people, usually children, from bad dreams and nightmares. The idea was that when hung above the bed in a place where the morning sunlight could hit it, the dream-catcher attracted and caught all sorts of dreams and thoughts into its webs.

Good dreams are said to pass through and gently slide down the feathers to comfort the sleeper below. Bad dreams, however, are caught up in its protective net and destroyed, burned up in the light of day.

The shape of the dream catcher represents the circle of life and how forces like the sun and moon travel each day and night across the sky. There is some debate about the meaning of the beads that often decorate the catcher. Some people believe that the beads symbolise a spider while others believe that the beads are the good dreams that could not pass through the web and are then immortalised into the form of sacred charms.

Dream catchers are often handmade with a willow wood woven with a loose web of yarn and decorated with beads and feathers hanging below the hoop in different shapes and colours.

The girls have created them in various sizes from mini crescents to large lacy hoops. Dalia, who is studying logistics at the Bahrain Polytechnic, said: "We customise the catcher based on size, colour and design to make them unique and different."

Each dream-catcher can take anything between an hour-and-a-half to six hours to make.

Shaima said: "The more complex the design, the more time it takes to complete. The materials we use include ribbons, lace, embroidery, yarn, wool, feathers and a variety of beads."

The talented team has made more than 800 dream-catchers so far and have participated in fairs across the kingdom.

Now bulk orders are coming in too as they make ideal decorative pieces and giveaway presents.

The dream-catchers cost between BD1 to BD9 and recently there has been a demand for larger ones measuring around 30 inches in hoop size.

For details, find them on Facebook or Instagram @dreamcatcherfactory.

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Date:Jan 17, 2018
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