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Crystal Healing Wands


Lovingly hand-crafted

Uncle Vinny's Workshop



 

Making a shaman ceremonial healing wand
 

Wood from the rosemary plant

Art forms are all around us, but I never expected to find materials in the dead shrubs of a garden. An old rosemary plant had to be dug up, and there I noticed unique and fascinating shapes in the wood, the skeleton of the rosemary herb. With a little snipping and cleaning, the wood became the basis for several bejeweled art projects. Here's a look at some of the ways to combine the wood with semi-precious gemstones and quartz crystal.

Twists, nooks and channels

Rosemary wood is rich in nooks, channels, and twists that enable unique combinations with other media, such as gems, wire, and beads. The creative artist can implant other objects in a way that takes advantage of the natural contours of the wood, making it appear the vine actually grew around, or gave birth to the cradled object. I've used bare copper wire, colored wire, jewelry stones, crystals, and polished rock.

My personal interest has been quartz crystals and gemstones. The rosemary wood works nicely as a support for long, unfinished crystals, while crevices and indentations provide natural sockets for the gemstones (Figure 1). Depending how you cut it, you can use the wood for simple handles, wands, frames, or even miniature trees with many branches.
 

Figure 1. Select stones to fit the natural contours of the rosemary wood.

Find and harvest the wood

The rosemary plant, fortunately, grows in almost all climates; zones 4 to 24 in the Sunset Western Gardening book. The best wood comes from plants that have recently died or gone over the hill. These yield thick stems with many twists and branches to work with. Look for plants with stems at least 1/2 inch in thickness. This reduces the chances of breakage, and makes a nice grip for a hand-held object. The wood is relatively hard, so pests and rot are rarely a problem.

If you don't have plants on your own property, look around the neighborhood for brown or dead bushes. Every gardener that I've ever approached has been more than happy to have this strange man dig up and haul away the dead plants in his yard. You'll need a good set of rose clippers, a pair of branch loppers, and maybe a small hand saw to retrieve the wood.

Scraping and shaping

The raw rosemary wood is covered with a loose, flaky bark that is readily removed with a wire brush and sandpaper. This dark outer layer clings deep inside the crevices and crannies, so you'll need to decide if you want to remove most of it with a blade, or leave some in the deeper pockets and seal it with a finish, such as shellac. Leaving the gullies darker is just fine, as it contrasts nicely with the lighter, pine-colored wood. If you plan to imbed stones or gems into the crevices, however, be sure to expose an area of heartwood, so the glue will make a secure anchor into the wood.

You'll need to trim the smaller branches, and smooth off the ends. Handheld rotary tools, such as Dremel, do a good job here, as they have different attachments for cutting, sanding, and polishing the wood. A decent set of hand carving tools is also recommended. Figure 2 shows the appearance of a typical project from raw wood, to debarking, and final stone setting.


Figure 2. Steps in the process of making the wand. Top: Raw wood. Middle: Trimmed and sanded. Bottom: Stones placed and wood finish applied.

The creative process

Next is the fun part, where you figure out what kind of design you are interested in creating. Actually, you might have more success with Michelangelo's method, where you just study the wood piece and let it tell you what lies inside. One specimen, for example, might have a long furrow running the full length of the stick. Maybe a bare copper wire would fit in there, reflecting the flow of life-giving nutrients to the leaves of a tree. Or another might have a string of pockets that would hold matching gemstones. Use your powers of intuition and creative abilities.



Figure 3. Healing wand with imbedded stones.

I'm fortunate to have a decent-sized inventory of different colored rocks, gems, and jewelry, so one of the methods I use is to examine the indentations and see which stones fit snugly into the opening. There's a certain beauty to allowing the stones to find their own correct positioning in the wood, as opposed to extensive carving and drilling to force a fit. For those interested in the metaphysical properties of semi-precious stones, consider selecting those that correspond to the colors of the seven charkas. These make beautiful Native American medicine sticks or Reiki healing wands (Figure 3).

For more on gem stone properties . . . (see Gem Stone chart).


An alternative is to select stones of a specific color or matching palate to create a theme. For example, I created a 'tree' with turquoise chips as the leaves (Figure 4).


Figure 4. Rosemary wood forms the basis of a tree with turquoise leaves.

Finishing

There are many ways to finish the wood. These range from doing nothing, and letting the oils from the owner's hands supply a soft patina, to fully staining, sealing, or shellacking the finished project. Since the objects I enjoy feature native, or primitive designs, I like to keep that theme going by leaving the wood in a mostly unfinished state. I generally add just one coat of linseed or tung oil as a finish. You might choose to apply a stain, a sealer, and varnish to create a more polished look. For wands, a frame or stand allows you to display the creation as a piece or artwork. Try variations using feathers, leather string, and oil painting right on the wood.

Summary

To sum up . . .think outside the box when you plan your artwork. Here I thought I was throwing away garden waste, when I realized that wood from the shrubbery provided a unique medium for creative design. Rosemary wood, with its indentations and sinuous curves, matches nicely with other materials, such as jewelry and stones. So, what will YOU create?


 


Contact

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Uncle Vinny's Workshop
P.O. Box 1523
Folsom, CA 95763

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