seven :: hands

man you guys are so swell. thanks for all the new look love [and for being glad i stayed. i'm going to get teary eyed so that's all i'm going to say]...

so - today we continue with shari and my documentary project. shari picked the word this week : HANDS

SHARI'S response

my hand

i chose the words hands because they have been frustrating me lately. i have so many ideas in my head but my hands are unable to create what i envision. they irritate me when i try to draw. they drove me crazy when i took a ceramics class.

at the same time, i love my hands and receive so much happiness from them. i use them all of the time. if you have a conversation with me, you will notice that i constantly talk with my hands. i gesture, i motion, i wave them wildly. i can type, write, knit, play guitar, and bake with them. i can hold tom's hand. i can pet my cats and feel so many wonderful textures with my fingertips. i can't imagine my life
without them. i love everything handmade.


many years ago i became interested in sign language and took five classes in signed english. this is a bit different from ASL because you are taught to sign every word in a grammatically correct sentence. i think sign language is beautiful, expressive, creative and fun. i am a little out of practice but sometimes i sign along to songs on the radio. i can sign "these are days" by the ten thousand maniacs.

jnana mudra

recently, i have been drawn to the practice of mudras in yoga. thinking about where this interest came from, i realized it is so similar to sign language. this is a picture of me with my hand in jnana mudra. jnana means wisdom or knowledge. this is one of the mudras that we regularly practice in my yoga class. i think they are so beautiful too and i feel more graceful and at peace when i practice them.

my hands are not perfect but they are a great gift. they teach me patience, they remind me to slow down, they remind me to persevere, and they allow me to express myself.

a special thanks to t for taking these photos.


when shari chose the word hands i immediately thought of how much i depend on my hands. how many times a day do i need them - as tools themselves - to open something, to pry, to gesture when i'm speaking [i do talk with my hands]. they also function as the mediary between me and something [pencil to paper, fingers on a keyboard typing, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear, petting one of the furry creatures].

making things is such a tactile experience. i want to feel the paper, i want to tug on the string for tension, i want to touch the t-shirt before i print on it, i need to hold the fabric as it moves thru a sewing machine. i really started thinking about how much i take my hands - and the sense of touch for granted. you know how you sometimes think about what it might be like to be blind, or to be deaf? i very rarely think about what it might be like to loose the use of an arm or hand. i can't help but think of my friend and mentor katherine sherwood who had to learn how to paint with her left hand after a cerebral hemorrhage.

seven :: hands :: 1

i also really thought about how i decorate my hands. when i was younger i put a ring on practically every finger. [my grandma has a friend that still does this - we call her the ring lady. when i was a kid she showed me all her drawers and drawers of jewelery and my eyes opened up like saucers]. i couldn't get enough. i piled them on. as i've gotten older i don't want to wear quite as many jewels. and i now have a wedding band on my left hand [and i hate it competing with another ring - so it's always on it's own]. i now just change the ring on my right hand daily. it usually matches what i'm wearing. i like mixing up plastic and funny rings with more delicate and finer jewelry [gorgeous pearl ring set above created by abigail ].

it was funny that shari mentioned hands right after i had been making my students draw contour studies of their hands. i have them do both blind and looking contour - and i also make them draw with their wrong hands. i talk alot about not lifting your pencil/pen/etc. about showing the search for the line [and how that process can be beautiful] , about varying the line, about how hands are great subjects because you can alter their orientation and gesture. sometimes it's good for the teacher to do what their students are doing. so i took this word as a sign i was supposed to contour study my hands ::

seven :: hands :: 3

my right hand drawing my left

seven :: hands :: 2

my left hand drawing my right [i'm right handed - and that's another thing - how does having a dominant hand effect you???]. i like the squirrely nature of these lines... the unfamiliarity of using my left hand really makes it onto the page no?

so what are your hands doing today??


julie said…
oh probably my favourite part of my body...a great subject.

love sharis hand map and thoughts and...hands..beautiful long fingers...which look like models posing...great line up :)

and lisa, your drawings are beautiful!!!! Amazing how much control you have over your left hand! What a great exercise for class...and i love the ring pictures...

have a great inspired me to to spring clean up my blog..:)
shari said…
lisa, hi!

when thinking about the word i too thought of how much we take our hands for granted. love your drawings. it is very interesting to think of how much we exercise one hand as opposed to the other. loved your thoughts on this word so much! xox shari
poppy said…
so many great thoughts! i take my hands so much for granted, i haven't really thought about them lately. was good to.

oh and LOVE the new clean look and the fancy schmancy tabs goin on!

: )
wendy said…
I love both your thoughts on some of your ideas overlap and the ideas swirl around each other.
I love my hands and I take them so for granted.
shari I especially love your hand map, and lisa your sketches and ring photos are so much fun.
I love this project.
risa said…
have i told you guys how much i love, love, love this project? lisa, i am the same way as you with rings. i only wear my wedding ring on my left hand and then one ring on my right hand which changes daily. and shari your hand map is fabulous. thank you both for helping me remember to appreciate my hands. :)
maditi said…
your hands and hand-thoughts are beautiful - either scanned, photographed or drawn!!!
dandelion said…
What an amazing look at hands! I am looking at mine right now and feeling the need to draw them!
bugheart said…
i have always
had big
very non-girly hands
with short fingers
{not long and
like my sister}...
probably from
cracking my
a lot
{like shari :)}...
but i learned
to love them
and sometimes
i feel like
they are
their own
with i mind
of their own
and i don't trust
them yet
to create what
they want
to create.
like my brain
my hands.
love your thought
today both
of you!
amisha said…
what a great topic lisa + shari... i so look forward to each installation of this project, the inspiration and insights from both of you in these wonderful unexpected ways.
i have been doing too much taking my hands for granted... noticing them when something is wrong (they're not cooperating!)... but since reading this i have been trying to pay more attention. the speed with which i am typing this, the way they know the motions of knitting so well, the wonderful tactile knowledge that is stored in each fingertip.
so interesting too to think about decoration and how different you two are in that respect. and hands for communication-- talking with your hands-- sign language-- very fascinating thoughts. and such lovely images of both of your hands (lisa-- the lefty drawing is amazing!)
thank you both for this weekly treat :) hugs, amisha
cruststation said…
I am fascinated by Shari's photocopy of her hand, the ideas around the image almost make this look scientific (like something out of CSI). I really love how we can see the different interpretations between both of you and how ideas are conveyed. I like the idea of hands reminding us to persevere, they also remind me how we use hands to carry out daily tasks/work and, from there we can inference a person's occupation by their hands.

Lisa, how wonderful that you were teaching your students to make contour studies of their hands at the time-I love coincidences. I also like continous line drawings, they are wonderful! (your sketches are great) Thank you both for helping me take more notice of my hands today.
gracia said…
Hands... sign language... small scars... rings on fingers... love it, you two!
My 'hands', eyes and the small cogs of my brain, are finally catching up on a whole heap of blog posts, this one included. If only I could hold onto time a little longer with my hands... I'm not ready for March!
blair said…
I, like in Shari's comment, am thinking about how we take our hands for granted. Not till I have a cramp, a hangnail, dry skin, or whatever do I really stop to consider. Although Ian has lots of questions about thumbs lately, for some reason, so we've been discussing things like opposing thumbs, pincher grip, and other fun things. Great post! (Lisa, your sketches are wonderful!!)
vanessa said…
Oh my goodness. I guess the first thing I felt reading this was fear for the lose of my nifty, ever so handy limbs....Each finger, I adore...Yes, how easy to take them for granted... I adore that they love clay and paint, and writing tools...They flail as I speak, they knead dough, they slice avocados....They play with the ringlets in my loves hair, a man with locks so divine.......They are what make me...I would find devastation in such loss....Yes, hands. When my aunt died I kept dreaming of her running from me...When I finally caught up to her one night, in a dream...She took my hands, and held her hands close to mine, and said, "You have to let me soar free....I am happy now (suicide) and I am free.. Please leave me alone. Just know, you always carry a piece of me with you because we have the same hands..." And then she ran off. I have never dreamt about her again. Today is the 3rd anniversary of her death to the day...
jenifer74 said…
my father & my sister in law both know sign language. i love that quite a few of my friends used sign language with their babies too -- i'm fascinated by the communication between the momma's and their babes. i also love watching folks 'speak' in sign language - so gestural, so in the moment, graceful...

i'm glad you didn't leave all together too!

also, i thought my blog list was long of what i try to keep up with - holy cow lady! yours is amazing!!
lisa s said…
thank you all SO MUCH for sharing your thoughts w/ us on our word. it's really great to read and continue the conversation with you all

hi julie.... thank you for your words... your new blog look is fantastic btw!

shari dear... feeling is mutual. i just love how we continue to cross pollinate....

jan! thanks dear!!

wenders - so glad you like this project too! did you look at your hands all day?

risa - you are so kind... how FUNNY that you are the same w/ rings! i love it!

maditi... xo

dandelion - oh i hope you post some of your drawings!

gwen... my hands aren't girly either. :) and i crack my knuckles all the time. i love the idea of them being a seperate entity.

amisha... lovely lovely thoughts. thank you for coming and participating with us!

babelfish.... yes CSI :) hee hee. i too like coincidences... so glad you like my drawings...

gracia.... ah yes... holding time. hands can't do that

blair - it's funny that you mention hang nails b/c i have those all the time - and i meant to mention that and just forgot. ah ian... my type of guy!

vanessa.... wow. just wow

jennifer... i too love sign language. when i was a kid my parents took me to this event where the audience was full of people signing. i couldn't get over how they could talk to one another across a room! yes... i read a lot of blogs - but they are all worth it!
Annika Sandin said…
Hi Lisa, sorry have not been here for ages. Mainly because I'm out travelling again. It is hard to find time to check other bloggs out and also a bit expensive in the long run as I have to go to internetcafes. However, thought I should drop a line. Like your top photo with your hand and what you use it for :)
Hope all is well!
Cheers Annika
louise said…
Excellent choice of words guys. I love the hand map, the signing, all the many rings, and especially the drawings. Can't wait to see what you both come up with next week.
Anonymous said…
aha! you have a blog! :-)

looking at your left/right hands drawing the other got me to thinking about me having been lefthanded until i was 8 or so... i apparently 'switched' myself.

my folks ran my second grade teacher up/down the flagpole, and she swore i did it all on my own... i still do some things with my left, and switch hit when necessary -- but can't write legibly with it.

wonder how different i'd be if i'd stayed a southpaw...


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