The human hand is not only the symbol of the intelligent artificer, "the hand of the master," the sign and epitome of the lord and ruler; it is the instrument of the will alike for good and evil deeds. The idea of it as the active participator in every act embodies itself in all vocabularies. The imperial mandate, the lordly manumission, the skilled manufacturer, the handy tool, the unhandy workman, the left-handed stroke, the handless drudge, with other equally familiar terms, all refer to the same ever-ready exponent of the will; so that we scarcely recognise the term as metaphorical when we speak of the "willing hand." – Sir Daniel Wilson, 1891As you will notice from the quotes I share in this blog, many come from the golden age of the hand, when it was widely recognized as the source of human intellect and of human culture. Since then machines have been called into play to take production more or less out of human hands. We may take some satisfaction in things being made cheaply, quickly and with little effort. We pay the price in that what the hands gave, their lack of engagement can take away from us.
My wife spent three days this last week making a mosaic under the instruction of mosaic artist Fran Carlin. It was a class with the Eureka Springs School of the Arts, and she came home with a piece that had challenged her confidence (as all good works must) and delivered upon completion, a sense of pride that was clearly greater than if it had been made without effort. The mechanism of human creativity is that. The making of an object challenges the intellect, and rewards the soul by elevating the character of its maker. But we put children in schools where they learn stuff that will be quickly forgotten. By putting their hands to work, we would put their humanity to work as well. What they then learn would never be forgotten.
Yesterday I turned a couple mini-crematory urns as shown. I made the turned crosses to test the technique and I intend also to make a box with fleur-de-lis if I can do it, and another with a turned heart.
Make, fix and create..