Saturday, February 6, 2010

hands, hands, ...glorious hands

You might have noticed that my blog has been quiet for awhile. That is because last week i had surgery on my left hand and I have been a bit out of commission! The surgery was part of the repercussions of breaking up a dog fight. I have now learned my lesson that you don't use your hands (especially if you are an artist) to break up a dog fight. I will never do it again, I SWEAR!!!! (u can't imagine how many times people have questioned my actions... but i digress) So suffice to say I have learned my lesson and also have had an intimate education on bone infections (which is why they had to operate). But I am recovering well and my left hand now has a removable brace so I can type, so hence i can blog!!! And I felt an appropriate topic would be hands!!!

Back in October, before the ‘dog’ incident I drew this hand dress on the door of a friend’s studio. I drew it during a melancholy and lonely afternoon. I wasn’t sure what I was going to draw on this empty canvas of a door, but when I started I found myself just drawing these hands holding the dress or ‘me’ together. As I drew the dress the hands changed from being flat to curving around the figure. For me touch and cuddle is so important and I loved the idea of this dress embracing me, holding me. It made me feel better of that afternoon.

Now this is an outside door so in the elements of Boston winters the dress went its way, as all my ephemeral dresses do. And I was fine with that, until the day before my hand surgery. It was Sunday and of course I had a million different places to be and things to do before going into the hospital. I didn’t think I was too anxious about the procedure – I had done my homework and I was glad it was not going to be both hands and I had all these things to think about…. But as I was racing around I passed by my friend’s empty studio door and I found myself pining for the hand dress. Even though I was already late I turned around, found my chalk and recreated my hand dress. There had been an ever so light suggestion of the first dress and so I patiently retraced this dress that had given me such solace during a time of sadness. Now it was giving me a moment of quiet during an anxious time. When I finished the dress & got back in my car I had a new calm about having surgery and an acceptance of not being able to work for awhile. I drove away in awe of the power of the creative drive and how it can be so healing.

Now while I was convalescing I ruminated about hands. I could not use my hands much but I was ACUTELY aware of how much I usually do with my hands, and what amazing instruments they are. Soon after the ‘dog incident’ I had started a series of hands ~ mostly drawings; and as I lying in bed I envisioned how I would continue the series. But as I thought about working with hands I realized that hands have been present in much of my work for decades ~ in my hand painted clothing, in my illustration as well as in the Dress Project. In fact the walls of my installation ‘this comes from within’ was full of hands ~ coming out of pots, off of vines, out of the bathtub, and in my favorite corner there were seven hands reaching up out of this ‘nest’ of life. I have always been a fan of hands - visually they are beautiful and they represent so much. And especially for me ~ they represent the importance of touch ~ that physical connection with another being. Peace

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