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
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.
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.
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 ::
my right hand drawing my left
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??