A Show of Hands

I have had a great time on Twitter connecting with other artists around the world. It’s a lovely way to find people who are practicing their art every day and in every way.

One artist, Karen Koch had a great blog post about showing off our hands. It was really a “challenge” started by a friend/blogger of hers (MaidenJane) that started a thread about all our hands do.

You can read Karen’s blog about her hands here. Below is my photo and my thoughts about my hands.

My well-loved hands that have (among other things) taken me on a personal and satisfying journey through the printmaking process.

Like these other artists, I have found my hands have served me well, but I have to admit to not taking care of them overly well. A born-and-bred “tom-girl” who grew up with three brothers, I had neither the time nor the inclination for beautifully manicured hands.

I have admired other women’s hands. Theirs are beautifully smooth and decked out in funky rings, whereas mine are … shall we say “well worn”? Maybe “well loved” is a better term. Because, although I used to fret about the look of them as I aged, now I can certainly say: I truly love my hands.

Here are many (but not all) of the amazing things my hands have given me in my life:

–      they hold on to the people I love

–      they began me on the path of art as soon as I could hold a pencil and brush

–      they entertained me for hours growing up, playing on my grandma’s piano

–      they can deal a mean deck of cards with my kids

–      they crafted all kinds of beautiful but imperfect objects: dolls, teapots & carvings

–      they have guided me on the fantastical and tactile journey of printmaking by hand

–      they have held my beautiful babies (and the babies of others)

–      they helped dress my grandma in her 90s for our symphony date nights

–      they have planted many, many seeds in many, many gardens

–      they create delicious food for myself and those I love

–      they wander through pages in my journals while I quiet my mind

–      they correspond on hand-written notes to my beautiful 80-year-old pen pal

–      they support me in restorative yoga poses

I could go on, but you get the idea. My hands are intimate and creative and loving. They are first and foremost tactile and curious. I remember once being in a garden store and cracking up my friend when I dug my arms up to my elbows in the bin of planter’s soil just because the feel of it was so yummy!

And, best of all, when I am stuck or frustrated or bored, I put my hands to work. In the beautiful words of Carl Jung: “Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.”

My grandmother's wonderful hands holding my youngest son several weeks after he was born. These two were born almost 100 years apart.

When I was younger, I was fascinated by my grandmother’s hands. They were wrinkled and gnarled with arthritis. But, they were also a force of life for her: when you saw her, the first thing she would do is grab your hands, look you square in the eye and talk right to your heart. Because of her, I learned there is a strong connection between the heart and the hands.

So, this is a tribute to my hands that have supported me so well. But it is also a thank you to all my family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and “tweeps” who continue to touch my heart every day through the wonderful creativity of their hands and their hearts.

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6 responses to “A Show of Hands

  1. Well this is simply beautiful! I love that you talk about the strong connection between hand and heart. Your Grandmother sounds like a force to be reckoned with! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Thanks to you, Jane, for the original inspiring idea! And, yes, my grandmother was one of those people who made a very strong and positive mark on my life and the lives of all who knew her!

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