SIDNEY — It all started three years ago with a hula hoop — and now a dream catcher hangs from a bridge along South Wilkinson Avenue, protecting the citizens in Sidney from negative energy and allowing good things to enter the city.
Amanda Keysor, a Sidney resident, has long been an artist and has made dream catchers since she was a child. She learned the craft from her late grandparents, who were both of Native American heritage. She has a collection of dream catchers she’s collected over the years, whether they be hand-made by her or received as gifts from friends and family. Turning a hula hoop she found shortly after moving to Sidney over three years ago into a dream catcher became a way for her to embrace and share her heritage.
“It’s part of my family legacy. My grandma made them, my grandpa taught me how to make them. It’s part of my heritage,” Keysor said.
Dream catchers are traditionally made from a willow hoop with a woven net, or web and are sometimes decorated with feathers or beads and are often hung over a cradle as protection. Keysor crafted her dream catcher entirely out of repurposed materials such as shoelaces, beads, buttons, colorful plastic wires, and sea shells, all of which have been collected by her, friends and family over the years. Four stars of varying sizes also decorate it, which were hand-painted by her three sons, Jayden, 9, Emmannuel, 3, and Malik, 2. Everything she has collected has come from Sidney, from as far east as New Jersey, and as far south as Florida.
“I feel like everything can be reused,” Keysor said. “It’s made up of things people have left behind, and in a way, many people are contributing to it.”
One of her biggest supporters throughout the process of making the dream catcher was her cousin, Cody Bradford. Bradford would collect tabs from cans and other items for the dream catcher on any and all trips he made, and would urge her to keep working on it.
“He’s always supported me with this. He’s like my right hand man,” Keysor said.
Keysor had originally planned on hanging the dream catcher somewhere in or around her house. That plan changed as state-wide shut downs and stay-at-home orders were issued over the month of March; on March 31, Bradford suggested that they should hang the dream catcher from the bridge.
“It was so crazy walking through there, wondering how it would stay there, with the wind,” Keysor said. “Right now in this time, there’s so much stress, and with everything going on, I wanted to share it with everyone. Dream catchers have helped me over the years, and I thought it could help other people.”
When the stay at home orders are lifted and life starts to return to normal, Keysor hopes to take a trip to Tennessee so her sons can meet their grandparents who live there. Currently, she is collecting materials to make at least two more dream catchers using hula hoops, to hang throughout Sidney.
“I just want to be there and to show people, keep the faith, keep pushing foward,” Keysor said.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.