So you know I had to read Sheila Paine's book, Amulets: Sacred Charms of Power and Protection.In it, Paine explains the difference among amulets, charms, and talismans: An amulet is a device, the purpose of which is to protect, but by magical and not physical means--a lump of meteorite worn against gunfire is an amulet, a bullet-proof vest is not. A charm is something believed to bring good luck, health and happiness. In so doing it might also be expected to protect from bad luck, sickness and misery, but protection is not its primary function. A talisman is something thought to be imbued with some magical property. It can both protect, and radiate power, and is often used in ritual. She goes on to explain: A fetish is somewhat different. The origin of the fetish was as a West African amulet but the word now describes an object believed to contain a spirit. What I love most is the idea of protective garments: pieces of clothing altered and embellished to become something more than just something to cover our bodies. I love the idea of a magical shirt to be worn under a jacket to a job interview or a pair of jeans with lucky patches covering the worn spots. Creating a lucky or protective garment could be anything from sewing on buttons salvaged from your grandfather's favorite jacket to embroidering dreams along the hem of your favorite skirt. All of this reminds me of the conversation I had with Robert Dancik, the author of Amulets and Talismans: Simple Techniques for Creating Meaningful Jewelry.
(You can listen to our conversation here, and you can go here to check out the faux bone he talks about. You can see more of Robert's work on his blog.) I dearly love the pin he created from the coat button (you can see it on the page with the podcast), and I want to make garments that have that much meaning to me, things I can wear that envelope me in bits from my past and that surround me with warm fuzziness. Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.
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