Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Ojo de Dios - "Eye of God"

Classical/traditional crafts can be one of the best things for kids to make, it is a source of learning a little bit about history and another culture or even language. One of the popular crafts we would make in art class in the 1980s or even in Girl Scouts during our day camps, was a God's Eye, also known as Ojo de Dios, which in Spanish is "Eye of God". 

We would use our variegated yarn, and single colored yarn to make these wall hangings. Most of the time we would use craft sticks, other times we would make them out of twigs that we found in the woods when we were hiking. 


They are a lot of fun to make. We even exchanged them among ourselves the different designs and of course our family and would give them as birthday and Christmas presents. Little did I really realize the history behind the handicraft.
The Huichol Indians of western Jalisco, Mexico are thought to have originated the artwork. The Ojo de Dios, or God's Eye, is a simple or complex weaving made across two or more sticks which means "the power to see and understand things unknown." When a child is born, the central eye is woven by the father, then one eye is added for every year of the child's life until the child reaches the age of five. Original Huichol Crosses are extremely rare to come by. There are many that are being made for the tourist market, but they do not carry the same traditional and spiritual significance. 
How to make a God's Eye 
The materials that you need include: 
  • 2 sticks about the same length and similar thickness (about 5 inches). Can also use craft sticks, etc.
  • glue
  • Yarn (variegated and solid color yarn) 
Place both sticks on the table and cross them over each other forming an "X". In the center of the bottom stick, place a bit of glue and then place the second stick on top of it, forming a cross. Let it dry. OR if your child is older you do not have to use glue and just cross them over and hold in one hand. 

Gather one end of the yarn you have selected and tie the loose end of the stick as close as possible to the place where the two sticks come together (the center). 

Leave around 7 inches of "tail" hanging from the knot. Hold the sticks (in the cross), in one hand and with the other hand bring the yarn under one stick, around, then over to the next one, under it, around it, and over to the next one, repeating the pattern to the desired size you like.

If you would like to change colors of the yarn, cut your yarn and tie it to the new piece of yarn. Trim the section ends that are hanging and then continue weaving.  

When you are done with your weaving cut the yarn, leaving a tail of around 12 inches. Tie the two together where you can hang your project. 

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