Spirit Shakers

Handmade Ceramic Figures

Melodius Magic

It’s hard to explain the appeal of these animated figures, which are filled with a mysterious (and melodious) substance. But they have a way of becoming just what you need them to be: a charming palm rattle, a calming influence when your mind is racing, or a source of good spirits when you need a lift.

The creator is Jon
Baring-Gould, who makes these ceramic shakers by hand. Each one has a distinctly expressive face. With just a few deft impressions and cuts in the clay, Jon creates a personality for each palm-sized shaker.

An artist and educator, Jon has been making spirit shakers for about a decade. He was inspired by a spirit shaker made from a gourd that he received as a gift from a witch many years ago. If you’re feeling contemplative, want to make some tickling music, or want to encourage some happy thoughts, why not let Jon’s spirit shakers move you? They also make a great gift for someone who could use a bit of cheer or to celebrate any happy occasion.
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Jon

    Spirit Shakers are based on ancient traditions from around the world. Each one is individually handmade and unique. May they bring joy to all who hold them.

    I've been making Spirit Shakers for over ten years now and I'm very excited to be sharing them with you all today. The best part about the shakers is watching people interact with them. Young children are drawn to them, adults smile when looking at their different faces, and older men and woman pick them up in order to give them a shake. Young, old, or in between people love Spirit Shakers, as I am sure you will too.

  • dianne
    6/7/2011 12:47 PM

    Hi Jon,

    I am very intrigued by these shakers. Could you please a moment and explain the meanings behind the names...Shaman and the rest of the shakers?

    Thanks so much.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    6/7/2011 1:42 PM

    @dianne : Great question, I can't wait to hear Jon's answer too!

  • Jon
    Jon – Special Guest
    6/7/2011 2:31 PM

    A Shaman is the name given to the God's of the indigenous tribes of Alaska. I spent ten years in Alaska and am pretty familiar with native art. The Shaman face resembles carvings from these Native Alaskan artists.

    When I created the meditating one I was trying to make a shaker with a calm relaxing face. I wanted one of the shakers to be at peace. The happy one is just that, happy. When you have a big smile on your face your eyes slightly close and tend to curve downwards. The big eyes remind me of baby seals. There is something special about those BIG eyes looking back at you.

  • Jessica
    11/7/2011 12:11 PM

    @Jon Baring-Gould: I love the look of all of them.

    Do you have a favorite Spirit Shaker?

  • Jon
    Jon – Special Guest
    11/7/2011 6:09 PM

    @Jessica Denney: My favorite Shaker are the one with big eyes. They remind me of seal eyes, so black with lots of depth in them. It feels as if they are looking right back at me. My second favorite Shaker are the mediating ones. They make me feel so peaceful while I look at one of them.

  • alyssa
    6/8/2011 2:47 PM

    I was so excited to see these on here! I bought one a few years ago in Atlanta. I was thrilled to learn how they were made and came up with.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    6/10/2011 5:55 PM

    @alyssa: Now you know the rest of the story!

  • Di
    6/10/2011 12:42 PM

    Trying to hear the "melodious sound" these spirit shakers make - ?

    [One reason grommet videos are a great tool is you can kind of interact with the product in a way you can't on paper or a still photograph! - but felt this video fell short of it's potential in that I ouldn't hear the shaker on the video with the talking over it.]

    Can you post a sample shaker sound? Would be much appreciated!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    6/10/2011 1:09 PM

    @Di: Thank you for that feedback. Here is an audio file of the sound that the Spirit Shakers make: audio file.

  • Di
    6/13/2011 10:22 PM

    @Katherine Klinger:

    I really appreciate your reply - but I can't find the audio?

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    6/13/2011 11:00 PM

    @Di: I was worried that it may not work for everyone. It is right within my comment. Are you seeing any messages that a plug-in needs your permission to run?

  • Di
    6/14/2011 11:00 PM

    @Katherine Klinger:

    Thanks again for taking the time respond! I see a line _________ below your comment, but nothing asking for plug-in permission. [

    Sorry, I feel clueless..

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    6/15/2011 12:05 AM

    @Di: That makes two of us! I am going to elevate this to someone more technical than I am. Hopefully we can get it to work.

  • Di
    6/15/2011 3:38 PM

    @Katherine Klinger:

    Thanks once again. Since this mystified me, I right-clicked below your comment and read the source codes; looked like it should be an .m4a file you were attaching? So I went to a computer that has Winamp installed -- still couldn't hear anything.

    Well, you can't say we're not trying..

  • Jessica
    11/7/2011 12:06 PM

    @Katherine Klinger: Thank you for posting the audio file of what a Spirit Shaker sounds like.

  • Elizabeth Payne
    Elizabeth Payne
    4/15/2012 3:31 PM

    @ John Barin-Gould: Do you have a website?

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    4/16/2012 5:33 PM

    @Elizabeth Payne: Thanks for asking. John currently does not have a website; only offers the Spirit Shakers through companies like us.

  •  Lynne Waterman
    Lynne Waterman
    7/18/2012 4:43 PM

    I just ordered, & receive a 'shaman' .....he is adorable! I keep him next to my chair, @ give him a shake when I feel the need. He is very soothing! Oh, by the way, his name is Miko! Thanks so much!

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    7/20/2012 12:15 PM

    @ Lynne Waterman: Thanks for stopping by to share how Miko is being a wonderful companion for you. We all could have more Mikos in our lives ;0)

  •  Jon Baring-Gould
    Jon Baring-Gould
    7/23/2012 11:27 PM


    I am so happy that you like your shaker. After making these little beings for over ten years it still fills me with joy to hear that people continue to connect to them! I hope that Miko and you are able to spend many years together, and that your little Shaman always brings you joy.

  •  Dee
    8/8/2012 12:10 PM

    Jon: Found one of your spirit shakers in one of our local stores the other day. Cute little thing but it's different than what is shown on this site. The eyes have little dots above them for eye lashes. I live in California. Thanks for the smiles :-)

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    8/9/2012 10:22 AM

    @ Dee: Glad the smile is contagious & makes you smile too. We'll pass on your delightful comment & check with Jon about the shakers with the "eyelashes".

  •  StarThrower50
    9/12/2012 1:43 PM

    The only reference I've seen here to size is "palm-size". That can cover a lot of territory. I have a feeling these spirit shakers are larger than I might expect, if they weigh 8 ounces. Can you state their approximate height and width? Also, the sound brought to mind rain sticks, which serve similar meditative purposes. Namaste -- joy & light... Nancy

  • Miriam C Delgado
    Miriam C Delgado
    10/12/2012 7:07 AM

    Black, liquid eyes full of soul looking into mine out of a little straw-packed box. You have to wonder if somehow he's alive. I just had to name him "Sweetie".

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.