I don't know about you, but for me, this past summer was a forest fire. Between a series of health issues, some major shifts in my work life, and a difficult break up, it seemed as though my life was engulfed in flames. But the thing about forest fires is that they clear out all of the scraggly underbrush and make way for new growth. So, as I made my way through the upheaval that seemed to be permeating my life, I promised myself that this was the beginning of a new and wonderful era of my life and decided to give myself a gift that would symbolize all of the wonderful things that lay ahead for me. I wasn’t exactly sure what this gift would be until I stumbled across a little shop on Etsy called Barton Hollow. As soon as I saw Kim Barton’s magical creations, I knew that one of her dreamcatchers would be the perfect way to add beauty and powerfully positive energy to my home and my life!

Being the incredibly nitpicky Virgo that I am, I had a very specific idea of what I wanted my dreamcatcher to look like, so I was excited to see that Kim offered the option to request a custom-made design. From our first interactions, I knew I was in good hands. Kim was not only responsive to my requests, but I could also feel that she wholeheartedly supported my vision for the dreamcatcher as well as everything I had hoped it would symbolize for me. We shared sketches and images back and forth until we had determined all of the details, and then Kim set to work to create my one-of-a-kind creation.

When it arrived at my home a matter of weeks later, I was absolutely blown away by its ethereal beauty. As I hung it on the wall above my bed, I knew that I was already completely in love with this delicate piece of art, and now, months later, it still fills my heart with joy every time I look at it.

I reached out to Kim to see if she'd be willing to share a little bit about her creative process and the woman behind the shop, and to my great pleasure, she said, “Yes!” Check out the interview below to learn more about Kim Barton, her unique creations, and what she’s been dreaming about lately…

Interview with Kim Barton on Barton Hollow

First off, I have to tell you that your dreamcatchers are some of the most beautiful creations I have ever seen! How did you first decide to create dreamcatchers?

Thank you so much! For starters, my family has deep, deep Native American roots so I was no stranger to dreamcatchers and other such talismans growing up; additionally, I have a serious passion for creating and building anything and everything. While planning my wedding I had the idea to create custom dreamcatchers for each of my bridesmaids as gifts and even bought some materials. Alas, my backyard wedding was about as DIY they come, so I came to my senses and realized that I had quite enough on my plate with other projects. When the wedding and honeymoon passed, I found that I had a lot of time on my hands, having freed it all up for planning, as well as a basement full of decor and supplies. Because I was so attached, I halfheartedly tried to sell the 3 ½ foot tall Manzanita Branches I used to create my centerpieces before I started searching for ways to re-purpose them. Eventually, I came across the dreamcatcher materials I previously purchased and once it clicked, the ideas started flowing like water. I made my first few dreamcatchers as gifts, very unsure of how they would be received considering their departure from traditional dreamcatchers. To my delight, everyone loved them, which only helped to feed my inspiration, and here we are!

The aesthetic of your dreamcatchers is very earthy and whimsical. Where do you find inspiration for your designs and what does your creative process look like?

Haha! I suppose I'm easily pegged because "earthy" and "whimsical" are the exact words that I used to describe my wedding, when asked! I am a true nature lover so my #1 source of inspiration is always Mother Earth - primarily rivers, trees, and, of course, birds. In the beginning I had a tragically dull day-job so I spent a very good chunk of my time daydreaming about my next pieces and sketching on whatever I could get my hands on (which was usually my left hand).

When I begin the process to create a new dreamcatcher, I start by laying out all of my materials and I let them do the talking. Due in part to the onslaught of ideas it evokes (but mostly because I am outrageously indecisive), I could spend days on end pairing hoops to branches and leather to feathers. By the time I finish touching and playing around with everything I usually have a fully formed vision rolling around in my head.

I am a perfectionist so the most challenging part of my process comes toward the end. I spend almost too much time making little tweaks and re-positioning things here and there.

One of the things that I love about your dreamcatchers is that you work with a reiki master, Angela B., who attunes the energy of the crystals that you adorn the dreamcatchers with. How did you meet and come to start working with Angie?

Angela is actually my Aunt so working with her came as natural to me as being born! She has always been a spiritual inspiration in my life. Aunt Angie, as I call her J, has been a Rockhound since 1962, but she started working with Mineral Energies in earnest about 20 years ago, around the time of her First Degree Reiki attunement. She received her Master/Teacher attunement in 1998. Her work with the crystals and stones that I attach to each dreamcatcher has been as joyful and fulfilling to her as it has to me! She loves learning the intentions of my various customers and feeling all of the vibrations and energies that come with tapping into each crystal. It has been a truly wonderful experience for both of us to be able to spread love and positive energy all over the country this way.

You also offer the option of having Angie set the crystal to a specific intention for your customers. I asked to have mine set for a very special intention that I am currently holding for my life and I was wondering what intentions you are holding for your life right now?

Thank you so much for asking this! Being a creative is a relatively new experience for me and my newly found success has not been without difficulty. My constant search for creativity has forced me to confront certain habits and ways of thinking that block or hold me back. I feel very lucky to have encountered some conflict this year that lead me to some answers for which I hadn't even realized I was searching. The intentions that I hold for my life right now are all about happiness and releasing EXPECTATIONS. I realized that a major source of unhappiness in my life stemmed from the expectations I held for others and what I thought they should be doing with their lives and the decisions they make. In turn, this caused me to constantly worry and stress about what I thought others expected of me. Letting go of expectations entirely has been very hard work and the results, I've found, are endless and so empowering! The absence of my constant need to seek acceptance from others is teaching me to trust myself and be more decisive, confident, fearless in my creativity, and authentic. The space once occupied by my expectations for others has been filled with perspective, understanding, calm, appreciation, pride and inspiration. The only expectation I hold for myself now is happiness!

Let’s talk dreams. What are some of your biggest dreams for your life that you hope to see become realities?

It is funny you should ask this because I am currently living my dreams! I spent the last 8 years working in various professional positions in the medical industry. It took me just a little too long to realize that it was a major source of unhappiness in my life (40 hours a week!) and not the path on which I wanted to continue. I am happy to report that my success with Barton Hollow allowed me to leave my day this October. I feel so lucky to have finally found what makes me complete - working and creating for myself! 

If you'd like to order one of Kim's beautiful creations, be sure to stop into Barton Hollow on Etsy!