Tuesday, August 12, 2008

tool tuesday: hand tools

As artists, we often feel that our tools are part of us and in this week's "tool tuesday" that sentiment has a literal significance. Many thanks to Marlana, doer of many things, for her unique submission this week. Learn more about Marlana on her website, Fortune Workshops, and on her blog. Here is what she had to say about her most precious tools:

My favorite tool is this pair of hands. They work quite well separately but they are at their best together. I got them 57 years ago and I am amazed how much they have changed in size and appearance over time. Right now they are stained, calloused, tanned and warm. In the winter they are pale, soft and cool. In the last 10 years or so they have gradually become covered with veins, wrinkles and “age spots”. They will probably last for another 30 years or so even if they get too worn out for the really heavy work they have been used to for many decades.

Here is a photo of my favorite tools resting on a cashmere sweater. Their main function is touching/ feeling/ sensing and they do not work well in soapy hot water or icy liquids, so I protect them with rubber gloves. I need industrial strength garden gloves when they are used to rip weeds and roots out of the ground or to carry wood and rocks.

Why I love this pair of tools? It would be easy to take them for granted because they are always there for me. Thanks to Kate’s Tool Tuesday submission request, I was inspired to write an ode to these hands. I love them for their ability to create a bridge from my inner world of imagination to the outer world of reality. My hands are never at war with each other. They can think for me when I am confused, self repair with time when burnt, cut, or bruised and I’ve been told they can heal.

There is not enough room here to tell you what I do with these tools. One day, I promise, I’ll write a book about it. They are so incredibly multi-purpose and versatile that I need them for just about every waking minute of the day. Wow, what would my life be like without them? Yes, I could use my feet for some jobs and my voice for others, but they are just so perfectly crafted for my needs that I would be an altogether different person without them. As a child I had nightmares that my hands were swollen like balloons and I couldn’t do a thing with them! However, I will be happy to place my hands in my lap one day when they are retired from active service.

Here are some of the things I make with my favorite tools: bouquets, cakes, clothes, collages, cookies, drawings, gardens, gestures, hairdo’s, headstands, journals, love, movies, paintings, photos, presents, sandwiches, sculptures, suppers and rock walls.


Joanna said...

How beautifully said....it had occurred to me too to
that my hands were my most precious tool but Marlana said it so much more eloquently than I could have!

Gwen Buchanan said...

What would I ever do without my hands... I fear to think...

This is delightful and I so agree with her many uses of these most precious tools!!!

Oh, one more important feature of Hands.... you never have to go looking for them...

notmassproduced said...

you have great hands and they produced fab work :o) Yes pls to the link :o))

Robyn said...

I appreciate my hands more and more the older I get. Carpal tunnel, nicks and cuts, achey bones all make me realize just how important they are.

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

What a ko-inky-dink......I've got the same tools!!

Great submission :o)

Ro Bruhn said...

This is so true, without them, we'd be nothing, in the art world anyway

Jo Horswill said...

Lovely ode to 'hands'.They really do deserve to be honoured.
I once said in an artists bio

"take some time to consider the artists hands that created these garments"

I was talking about some felted garments I was exhibiting...Marlana's lovely words took me back there.

mansuetude said...

this is such an awesome post--I was just rubbing my beagle's back with my foot and he groaned; mad; I said its not as good as my hands, is it. :)

Maybe the ballooning hands means your hands will work in a way that "takes off" into the air, or "balloons" beyond your dreams into the expansive world. We never know. :)

lynne h said...

thank you marlana... a more eloquent ode to hands i cannot imagine. and gwen, a laugh out loud when i read that we never have to go looking for them! thank god! such indispensable tools should never leave our side/s...

Uschi said...

oh, how beautifulla written and described!
Thank you for this read.....
and she's absolutely right.
I always come back to my hands and don't like it to much if something is between my hands and the things I want to touch....ot even gloves!

kate said...

joanna...thanks for visiting! I agree with you, Marlana expressed it perfectly.

gwen...thanks for the chuckle regarding never having to go looking for your hands, although on my really bad days, I could swear that one or both might have gone missing.

notmassproduced...I agree! And you are now officially linked!

robyn...so true. We take them for granted until we start to realize that they may not always function as they had.

wayfaring wanderer...I laughed out loud when I read your comment!

ro bruhn...we so rely on them, more than anything else, other than our minds. I read about a painter who had a stroke or some other serious neurological problem and the full use of his hands was compromised. He considered the path of conceptualizing his work and having others carry it out for him but he really missed the hands-on aspect. As he was very successful in the art world, he was able to create all kinds of accommodations in his studio to keep working.

Jo...those are wise words - "take some time to consider the artist's hands that created these..." By doing that it gives us further insight into a piece and a more tangible connection to it I think.

mansuetude...your comments are always so insightful and poetic! I think your ballooning hand theory has merit. And my dog prefers hands to feet as well! Although she'll take anything that is offered quite happily!

lynne...eloquent is the word!

uschi...I'm the same way. I will even expose my hands to things that are bad for them because I need that touch.