I have always been fascinated by and in awe of hands.
They can hurt or heal, create or destroy- they are capable of so many things. I have long collected photos of hands, and I will often find myself looking at people’s hands when in meetings or standing in line at the grocery store. There are so many stories in people’s hands… I am especially intrigued by the less than “perfect” hands. The ones with little scars that tell a story, the ones with a little dirt underneath the fingernails letting me know they aren’t afraid of a little hard work, the ones that have wrinkles that make me wonder what they created in their lifetime.
“I’m looking at my hand right now as we talk. It’s got a lot of wrinkles ‘cause I’m 81 years old. But it’s linked to hands like this back through the ages. This hand was shaped by when it was a fin in the mother seas, where life was born. This hand is directly linked to hands that learned to reach and grasp and climb and push up on dry land and weave reeds into baskets. It has a fantastic history. Every particle and every atom in this hand goes back to the first — what Thomas Berry calls ‘the primal flaring forth,’ the beginning of space-time. We’re part of that story.”
Having created a lot lately with my hands, first crocheting scarves and other presents for Christmas and now getting back to beading I am reminded how satisfying it is. To have a skill- as a result of a story… I remember learning from my grandmother and great aunt how to crochet, sitting for hours in the basement chaining away the length of the basement several times over.
“To have the skill of knitting, to have the skill of crocheting, of felting, makes it possible for us not only to make something but it makes us skilled in general. The use of the hands is vital for the human being, for having flexibility, dexterity. In a way the entire human being is in the in the hands. Our destiny is written in the hand. And what do we do in our modern world with our hands? You know we move the mouse, we drive and so on. We feel plastic most of the time. The hands are relegated to very little that’s actually bringing dexterity to our times. So we have come ever more estranged from nature and from also what other human beings are doing. The whole social element comes into play as well because if I make something then I think ‘Hmmm, how was that yarn made?’
There is a pride that is created from holding something in your hands that you have created. But recently I have even been feeling that same sense of pride and excitement from watching others create. I have been enjoying immensely a series called Craft In America. (You can watch the videos here.) It is beyond beautiful and feeds my soul on so many levels. And this little video came to my attention yesterday where they interview Renate Hiller- A World Through The Hands.
It seems that I have been reminded at every turn of the value, the gift of creating, of craft, of story, of sharing our own gifts.