I am an artist, and I have always worked with fabrics, trims, and embellishments.

As a child I lived in the country. I was encouraged to be in touch with nature and, as a result, I became a gatherer of magical bits and pieces of rocks, shells, and dried flowers, which I would incorporate or sew into my early artworks. Since I was little, I was encouraged to be in touch with my mystical side. Even now, each time I create a piece of art, I sing into it, or “enchant” it to help further empower it’s healing gifts. This attention and respect makes both the art and the artist happy.

I remember visiting the Museum of Natural History in New York City when I was very young, and coming home with boxes of mineral specimens which I pored over for hours and treasured. These were my secret possessions. Every stone had a story to tell me. Collecting gems and stones became a lifelong pursuit.

Monte and I now bring back stones and precious gems from our many trips, each of which provides us with lovely memories of where they came from and with associations about what they symbolized. Every room of our home is adorned with marvelous and rare crystals, and we love to gaze at them, as well to as use them in our spiritual practice.

I have been a fashion designer for many years, and I create couture jackets and ensembles for many notable women, including Elizabeth Taylor, Patti LaBelle, Shirley MacLaine, Oprah , Louise Hay and Martha Stewart. I sell my very high-end fashions along with my jewelry at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City, the finest store in the world.

The scraps of fabrics and trims all around me in my studio moved me to begin making Medicine Bags for my crystals and jewelry and tarot cards. I now think of this process as “Spiritual Crafting,” as it is important and natural for me to incorporate my spiritual beliefs into my artwork. The Medicine Bags I make are intended to keep cherished objects safe and sound. Each bag is unique and one-of-a-kind.

Your personal Medicine Bag should reflect your own unique qualities and tastes. Hopefully, it should help to empower your goals and aspirations. A Medicine Bag made with your own hands and vision contains your love more than any commercially made item ever could. Creating a Medicine Bag reinforces a desired goal or experience.

Be sure to gather a range of favorite fabrics, trims, feathers, shells, coins, charms, ideas, and materials to draw from when working on your Medicine Bag. It is a very enjoyable activity to go out and search for good materials. I have been collecting for many years, and so have many boxes full of “sacred stuff” that I have found in thrift shops, flea markets, and that have been gifted to me by friends who know and love what I do.

As you sort through your materials to make your selections, repeat an intention word (love, prosperity, luck, etc)  in your mind, and you will be guided to select appropriately. Set aside anything that you feel complements your theme: a certain color of fabric, a perfect ribbon, a silver bead, a left-over earring.

You will want to choose fabrics and beads in your favorite colors, as well as materials and textures that give you pleasant sensory experiences, such a smooth satin fabric or ribbon or an antique embroidered appliqué. If you prefer not to use real leather, use Micro Suede Cloth or pleather, a synthetic leather fabric.

There is no end to the wonderful array of textiles and materials to choose from. For example, you may want to use feathers. Feathers sometimes appear and come to us unexpectedly, bringing messages from loved ones, angels, spirits, and spirit guides. Some believe these ephemeral messengers carry our prayers over to the Spirit realm when used in ritual and prayer.

Be inspired to use any special embellishments that have a particular attraction, symbolism, and meaning for you. It is fun to treasure hunt!

Feel free to decorate your Medicine Bag in any way you choose. Use your fabric paints and markers to paint images on it that are meaningful. The images should reflect the purpose of the Medicine Bag. You may like to incorporate animals or Celtic symbols, or astrological signs, depending on what and whom the bag is intended. This is all completely up to you.

You can use a sewing machine if available, but all of the patterns in my book “HEALING CRYSTALS: Making Medicine Bags & Using Energy Stones” can be sewn by hand. While you sew, think about the purpose of the particular bag you are creating. That energy and spirit will go into your bag, too, along with your healing crystals, jewelry or tarot cards. The act of sewing is threading the pure essence of you, the creator, and your intention into the bag, giving it a stronger power.

When the bag you make is finished, you will add your specially chosen objects.

I have designed twelve Medicine Bag patterns and ideas to work with in my book, but feel free to experiment, and to make them for different purposes and for gifts. Use the examples and patterns as a guide to inspire your imagination and ignite your connection to your shamanic path.

(C) Amy Zerner 2011

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