Crystal Cruz entered a bead dream catcher in the San Diego County Fair’s Decorative Arts and Crafts competition, and the Winchester resident not only won first place in the “Other Than Listed” class of the Beading division but also received a donated award from the San Diego Bead Society.
“That was really nice,” Cruz said.
Her winning dream catcher hoop is 19 inches in diameter and includes in the design rose quartz, cherry quartz, rhodochrosite, buffalo horn, Japanese glass beads, Chinese crystals and emu feathers. No plastic was used in the dream catcher.
Cruz made the dream catcher in April, taking only seven hours to complete the project.
“I’m really fast at making them,” she said.
“I’ve got it down now to seven,” she said.
Cruz taught herself the art of making dream catchers approximately 25 years ago.
“Nobody taught me how to do it. It’s my own spin on it,” she said.
Cruz is part Choctaw but does not have Kumeyaay, Luiseno or Cupa ancestry. She participates in the pow-wows of the Southern California tribes.
“It’s helped people heal, and it’s helped me heal,” Cruz said of dream catchers. “It has been like a gift from the people.”
Cruz was raised in Escondido and San Marcos and moved from Escondido to Winchester about six months ago. She entered the county fair’s Decorative Arts and Crafts competition four years ago, but she did not win an award.
“It wasn’t the right category,” she said. “I found the right category this time.”
Her 2013 dream catcher was submitted in the Natural Materials category of the Miscellaneous Crafts division. Cruz said she will make and sell dream catchers upon request.
“When the sun comes in and hits it in the window, it brings the energy in,” she said.