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Classic Craft: God’s Eye

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(image above via: @artsacessvic)

If you attended summer camp at any point in the last 50 years, chances are you learned to make a god’s eye. Whether you used twigs, dowels, or popsicle sticks, the classic craft was the right blend of simple yet time consuming – perfect for keeping kids occupied and giving counselors a breather. Kids this summer are just as likely to be weaving a god’s eye as you were at their age. There’s definitely something to be said for a craft with such staying power!

Time travel isn’t the only magic that’s been attributed to god’s eyes. The objects were first made in Mexico during the 15th century by the Huichol people who used them for prayer and protection. Though today the craft’s wooden cross is sometimes associated with Christianity, the Huichol focused their worship on nature and the earth. The four points represented the elements and the hole left at the center of the weaving served as a portal to the spirit world (Sol Mexico News). Often the charms were made when a child was born and added to each year to help ensure a life of health and happiness. In a mysterious world full of uncertainty, they provided knowledge and understanding.

(images via Laura a Love Land blog)

In the late 1960’s, god’s eyes were adopted by the counter culture movement on the West Coast. Gigantic versions of the weavings showed up at rallies and gatherings during the Summer of Love such as the Be-In in 1967 pictured below. (Refinery29)

(image credit: Lawrence Ferlinghetti)

Though it’s hard to find any information about the craft first being adopted in summer camps, it fits right in with the era’s other woven wall hanging trends such as macrame. It’s still possible to purchase tutorials from the time, like this book found on Etsy,  ‘The Advanced Creative Ojo Book’.

Though they may be groovy, god’s eyes are also super graphic, which stops them from feeling stuck in the 70s. Crafters and artists have continued to reinvent them in all different sizes, starting small and working up to wall worthy. Below are some examples of our favorites.

Toothpicks and embroidery floss are the tools needed to make the craft charm sized. A bracelet full of these would be so fun! (via Concien cia Concentrica )


These layered beauties from blogger Honestly WTF are used as present toppers but are gift worthy all by themselves.


Aunt Peaches adds pom poms to cover one of the most colorful Christmas trees we’ve ever seen – she calls it granny chic.


Trading pom poms for tassels is another way to up the trendiness! (via Pinterest)


Mixing a variety of sizes and colors makes a show stopping wall collection. (via ClaireabelleMakes)


Hobby Craft blog moves off the wall and into the air allowing for a 360 degree view of a craft that truly looks good from all angles.


Pae White‘s installations aren’t made of god’s eyes but are certainly inspired by them. Her silkscreened versions float like falling leaves. Wouldn’t you love to walk through them?


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