The allure of Amulet bags

frog amulet
This delightful frog amulet bag was featured in the August 1995 issue of Bead&Button magazine.
An amulet bag is a small pouch worn around the neck to hold precious mementos or objects, and have been worn in many cultures throughout history. Typically worn at heart level, these bags can be made out of leather, suede, fabrics, ribbon, or macramé, and are frequently embellished with beads. Others are made entirely out of beads using peyote stitch or other basic stitches. Native American bags often had fringe and showcased tribal designs, but today’s bags can feature a wide variety of beads and techniques, and often depict symbolic or realistic images.

So what do you put in an amulet bag? Basically anything you want that has special meaning to you. Amulets are typically thought to be objects that protect a person from harm, ward off evil spirits, bring luck, attract good fortune, or remind you of a loved one. These objects can be crystals, charms, photos, stones, coins, herbs, or prayers. Some people design their bag around their object so it’s just the right size and shape, and in colors that are special to them.

If you’d like to try designing your own bag, many beading patterns could easily be adapted for an amulet bag. A flat piece of beadwork, like peyote or loomwork could serve as the front panel of a bag. Just attach it to a leather, fabric, or beaded back. These Fairies of the Garden beadwork patches would be a great place to start.

If you’d like to try an all-beaded bag, here is a pattern of a three-sided amulet bag by Stephanie Trice. Be creative and embellish it in a way that makes it unique to you. Then tuck your amulet inside, and be reminded of why it is so special to you every time you wear it.

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