Monday, September 10, 2012

Hands - BJP for August Finished

What would I do without my hands? That's a hideous thought, because all day, every day I use my hands... to bead, to stitch, to knit, to quilt, to type, to garden, to cook, to pet the cat. This year's BJP pieces are all about blessings in my life, and my hands vie with my vision for a spot at the top of the list.

First I made a reduced-size copy of my hand. I think it's about 50 %, but don't recall for sure. I cut out the hand, traced around it on my fabric for the basic hand shape, and drew in the lines by looking at my hand.

Looking through my brighter, warmer colored stash of batiks, I was drawn to a light-yellow fabric with rings of pink, lavender and aqua. It seemed right, although I didn't know at the time why.  It definitely influenced my color choices for the beads, and also the patterns I beaded on the hand.

Here's the finished piece, Hands (2.5 x 3.5 inches, standard ATC size). I called the previous pieces in this series ATCs (Artist Trading Cards), but really they are not, because I do not intend to trade them. They are my visual journaling pieces for 2012, one per month, each one about a life-blessing that seems important to me that month.

Back to my hands. I work improvisationally, without a plan. Sometimes, when the piece is finished, I find meaning in decisions that, when made, were strictly intuitive. Such is the case here, especially when I look at the pattern in the palm. It reminds me of a hand-woven basket, maybe one made by an indigenous crafts-person. It makes me think of my hands as baskets, or perhaps begging bowls, outstretched and open, willing to receive from the universe whatever I need. I love thinking about my hands that way.

There's also something child-like, playful, happy about both the pattern and colors. This makes me remember, with huge gratitude, my childhood teachers:
  • my mom, who taught me to sew very early in life, guiding my hands to make neat, little stitches, and later how to embroider and make my own patterns
  • my grandmother, who taught me to use her treadle sewing machine when I was only 6 years old 
  • my fifth grade homeschool teacher, who taught me origami
These three women blessed me and my hands with their wisdom. My hands are a lot like my mom's were. I often think of her when I notice my hands.

Finally, it's interesting that I chose to include a bone hand charm with an eye on it. So often I think of my hands as a way of seeing, another source of vision. A friend of mine in Hungary, made a beautiful, wall piece that told her life story in textural fiber art and beading. It was one of many pieces made by Hungarian artists for a national art show for the blind, who viewed the pieces by touching them. When I closed my eyes and viewed her work with my hands, tracing and touching lightly over the surface with my finger tips, it was a whole different experience, a whole different way of knowing about my friend and her life's story.

I bet most of you readers can identify with the blessing of your hands. Take a moment to join me in giving thanks for them.

Comment Verification Removal

I guess hackers and spammers are getting better and better, because comment verification has become nearly impossible. Akkkkkkk! I've gotten it wrong and lost my whole comment so many times. Very, very frustrating. Therefore, I've decided to see how it goes without it on my blog. Go ahead - comment with abandon and don't give a thought to figuring out the indecipherable gobbledy-goook at the end!