When I was a kid I use to hold my grandmas hand and admire the way her skin felt. I would press in her veins and feel the bumps of her tendons. It seemed soothing to me. I remember once laying next to my grandpa and rubbing his hands until he fell asleep. I felt useful being able to help him feel relaxed. Hands interest me. They do so much for us. They are so incredible!
I've realized something recently while flipping through my Instagram. Most of the people I follow, that I don't actually know, I follow because they post videos and pictures of the things they make. They share the spoons they've carved or the food they've baked or the candle they've poured or the house they've fixed or the dress they've sewn. I'm interested in the work they do with their hands.
These are screenshots of the beautiful people I follow.
If you are looking for inspiration check out their accounts, they are bound to encourage something creative in you.
I watched a man laying bricks last week and caught myself smiling big. I felt so joyful watching him build slowly, brick by brick. Thoughtfully and carefully he worked, slathering on the mortar and placing the brick and starting over again.
In college I had a friend who went to school to learn sign language. When I watched her I would cry. It was beautiful to see the way she communicated and expressed with her hands.
A connection has hit me, this attraction I have to watching people cook, or lay bricks or make goods, it's not necessarily just the end product I'm interested in, it's the process. The process of getting their hands in the work, of using their hands to make something. That something is an expression, a communication.
Cooking for someone is an expression of love. Building something is an expression of the heart. Signing something is an expression of language. Hands express. They are tools we have to share ourselves and I fear they are tools we have forgotten to love.
It seems so easy now to drop in a K-Cup and press "ON" for your morning coffee vs. boiling water, grinding beans, and hand pouring your brew.
It is easier to buy a new dress than to mend the old.
Is faster to buy a new table than it is to build it.
I fear that ease has disconnected us from these tools that express so much. Ease has made these tools less important and because we don't value the work our hands can do, we have lost touch (pun intended) with the value of the work it takes to live our lives. What if our hands are a tool we can use to connect us to our lives, to the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the houses we live in? Maybe our hands are the tools that can take what is inside our hearts and minds, and make them reality.
What are your thoughts on doing things by hand? What do you do by hand? Do you feel disconnected from the work it takes to live your life, the work that is done by hand? Do you value it? Clearly I'm curious... let's have a conversation in the comments below