Artists working to erect the dreamcatcher
on October 31, 2007. From left: Cheryl
Wainwright, James Wainwright, Lou
Tiraterra Sr, and Dennis Day.
By Linda Martin
I met Dennis Day five years ago. He sat in River Park with Lou Tiraterra Sr. discussing the plans he had for building the largest dreamcatcher in the world. At the time he’d just finished weaving his first dreamcatcher and planned to erect it in what used to be the community garden across the street from Old Town Park. The rope used was dyed with blackberry juice.
After many trials, failures, and changes, the first dreamcatcher went up and survived for a few weeks until weather and fate destroyed it. Devastated by this loss, Day left town and traveled.
Happy Camp has a way of calling people back, and after many months, Day returned, enthusiastically planning to write a book on the subversion of education. He had no plans to put up another dreamcatcher until Cheryl and Jim Wainwright offered him an opportunity he couldn’t refuse. They wanted a large dreamcatcher on their property at the corner of Davis Street and Indian Creek Road across from Parry’s Market. They promised that for his effort Day could expect a better, more supportive frame to make the new dreamcatcher more likely to survive than the last one.
Day set to work in March 2006 with about $600 worth of materials. He started the project with 900 feet of rope, which he dyed with kelly green and turquoise linseed oil based paint. He and Cheryl Wainwright collected and prepared the wood used as a frame and border. Before long Day’s work produced a dreamcatcher with a circumference of 105 feet, and diameter of about 33 feet though it varies in spots because of the shape of the wood used in the border. According to Day the design he used for this dreamcatcher is typical of that used by the Ojibwa Tribe which is from the Great Lakes Region.
This frame for the Dreamcatcher
was designed and constructed by
A spider donated by Bonnie
Alvarez and colorful lights
bring the dreamcatcher to life.
Plans for the future include sales of engraved tiles, a decorating event in the springtime, a dream-theme park including construction of surrounding patios and pathways with a central gazebo, and addition of a sculpted eagle with a 7 foot wingspan to the top of the archway. Lou Tiraterra Sr. has already donated a soapstone eagle sculpture which will be placed on an eastern facing patio. All Happy Camp residents will be able to purchase engraved tiles at a discount.
The three feathers hanging from the dreamcatcher at this time were all created and donated by Yreka artist Ralph Starritt. The first dreamcatcher ornament to be hung on the large dreamcatcher was placed there in memory of Janeen Anderson, donated by JavaBob and Vicky Schmalzbach. Others who wish to donate small dreamcatchers to the project are welcome and encouraged to do so.