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Make a Red Gourd Shakere
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Make a “Snake” with Cowrie Shells Gourd Shekere

  1. Put an Image on the Gourd

  2. Drill the Cowrie Shell Beads

  3. Knot on Shell Beads (Noise makers)

  4. Cut Bottom Hole Add Knots, Perform Winter Solstice Rituals

  5. Add Feathers

  6. It Flies


A Foraged Foxtail
 : Add Feathers :

You need your feather supplies. I have a golden pheasant skin, a blue chatter (or something) skin and a couple of bags of died saddle hackles from a fly tying kit I've had sitting around since I was about 12. I also had a supply of beads - I supplemented them with a quick trip to Michaels.
pheasant skin and feathers
I tied a bead onto each loose pair of threads. I had 5 pair in the top ring from knotting the half hitches around. I slid a bead over the pair and knotted behind it (a simple half hitch) and then at the end of the pair, knotted another half hitch to act as an anchor for the feathers. I started a loop knot with heavy thread at the knot, then re-inforced it with a series of half hitches. You make a twist loop in your hand, slip it over the end of the string and behind the knot and tighten it down. I alternated saddle hackles in bright dyed colors with the primary and secondary flight feathers of the little brown and blue songbird from the fly tying kit. You can see the wax paper bag of died saddle hackles and a fly tying thread bobbin in this picture.
cowrie shell net - started, on gourd
I used some kids beads lying around the house and some black and white beads called “ancient beads” - they came in 3 shapes, long tube, ball and another that is two squat cones put together on the flat side.
adding more shells to the net
Sometimes it is hard to work with the short ends of threads to make the knot that holds the feathers. You could string another bead here if you left more length, which would slide down over the feather end. When it gets difficult you gotta hold your mouth just right. Ikey helps. Don't forget to talk to the ancestors. My little auntie knows how to string the steps together.
two rows of shells, top ring completed.
two rows of shells, top ring completed.

The middle row of feathers had 11 pairs of twine to hang from. I alternated the primaries/secondaries of the blue and brown songbird, the primaries and secondaries of the pheasant, and its iridescent green, red and gold feathers, including once the gold and black barred neck feathers.

For the bottom row of feathers the four loose pairs already had the black and white beads and a stopper knot. I had a mardi gras mask with long black rooster tail feathers, some died iridescent purple, some a very dark irridescent green. I used bundles of 3. They started with some foil tinsel bits which may still hang on.

Speaking of feathers, here is the cool grey barred rooster skin I got for the mallets. It is really soft, but the skin is very stiff.
grey barred rooster skin with fork

 : Links/Sponsors :

Make a Shakere is sponsored by Fertility Futures, a firm focused on helping make families possible. Many would be parents are unable to realize their dreams of a family with children due to fertility issues. Fertility Futures brings medical specialists and counselors to bear on these difficult problems, helping couples with a range of solutions from fertility therapy through the use of surrogates to carry a child through pregancy for a family. In order to support this service, Fertility Futures also solicits egg donors for its ova donation program. People who face challenges in becoming parents, or healthy women who are willing to become egg donors should consider visiting Fertility Futures.

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