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Rieger is passionate about creating various forms of art with her love for all things knitted and crocheted
Growing up with a fascination and appreciation for Native American Indian culture, Angela Rieger is using her spare time to create elegant and decorative dreamcatchers.
“I’ve just always loved dreamcatchers and what they symbolise so making them just came naturally,” said Rieger, 36, whose love affair with dreamcatchers and all things Native American Indian started when she was a young girl.
“I have always loved everything that comes with the culture; the patterns they use, their dreamcatchers, what they wore, even their music. I see them as such earthly people with a beautiful connection to animals and all living things,” she said.
Rieger grew up on a farm in Queenstown and remembers dressing up as a Native American Indian at school when she was just five years old.
She now lives in Gonubie with her husband and three dogs. She also has five horses on her husband’s family farm in Cathcart.
“When I was little, my first horse was a skewbald, a (brown and white) Paint horse that looked like the kind the Indians would ride. I remember being painted in stripes and hand prints at a show with my horse when I was 15 too,” said Rieger.
While her childhood Indian dress-up days may be over, Rieger’s love for Native American Indian culture and dreamcatchers has stayed with her in adulthood.
“Making dreamcatchers has just always been something I’ve loved to do, I’ve always been creative; my mom has too so maybe I get it from her,” said Rieger whose home boasts a number of her own dreamcatchers, mosaic designs and art.
“It all started when I handmade dreamcatchers for my wedding décor two years ago. I made a few for friends and family afterwards and this year a friend said I should try to go to a market with them.”
Rieger has since started her Facebook page, Ahyoka - a name of Native American origin meaning ‘She brought Happiness’, and has been selling her pretty pieces of art since March. From crocheted work, made by Rieger’s equally creative mom, to lace, beaded tassels, feathers and macramé knots, her magnificent creations make for the perfect boho home décor feature, but for Rieger they represent much more.
She said that while some believed dreamcatchers to be negative symbols, traditionally they served a protective purpose and acted as filters for bad dreams, particularly in the Ojibwe and Lakota tribes.
Doing her research, Rieger traced the origin and history of the dreamcatcher to a mystical and maternal spider woman who served as the spiritual protector for the children of the Ojibwa tribe. “When the tribe spread too far, the Spider Woman found it difficult to protect and watch over the tribe so she created the first dreamcatcher,” Rieger explained.
“I think what I love most is how the different parts of an authentic dreamcatcher have meanings that are connected to the natural world, like the fact that the shape of a dreamcatcher represents the circle of life and the centre web, similar to a spider’s web, catches the bad dreams during the night.”
Basing her creations off of the traditional and sacred protection charms, Rieger uses lampshades, embroidery looms, lace, string, feathers, beads and more to make her own unique dreamcatchers.
“Sometimes I use patterns from dreamcatchers I’ve seen as inspiration, but most of the time I just find things that I think will work well together from second hand shops or fabric stores and figure it out from there,” said Rieger. “My mind often just runs away with it so I mostly just create them as I go along, there often isn’t a plan or set pattern I stick to so they’re all different.”
Making dreamcatchers is much more of a hobby than a fulltime job for Rieger who currently works part-time in an administrative role, but she dreams of one day having her own boutique.
“I’m really passionate about it and I love making pretty things so the dream is to one day have my own shop specialising in handmade home décor, but for now I just really enjoy making things on weekends or when I get some free time,” she said.
To view Rieger’s work visit the Ahyoka Facebook page...