Saturday, 5 December 2015

Hands that do dishes...

The Hand Album

This afternoon, whilst sitting on a sunny wall eating my lunch I looked down at my hands. At first I was cross with myself for not having washed them, and once again a bit more manganese entered my blood stream (I often smudge in paint with my fingers when painting). As the inward tut-tutting subsided, I then began to study the lines. I turned my right hand edgeways, where, since I was 8, I have had a splinter. It's been entombed in a mass of skin at the base of my little finger since I rubbed my hands along an old wooden flap-desk in Miss Brullhard's class at Rose Green Junior School and has over the years made a home for itself in an underground bubble. It's a tiny little thing, but evidently there. However, this week I could see that rather suddenly it has decided to tunnel its way out and with a helping left hand that splinter of wood saw the Spanish sun for the first time. It's been embedded in there for 23 years.
My hand in 2010

Alex's hands out of their pounch

I love hands. To me there is something slightly obscene about them, providing a window that looks straight onto the soul. Just think of all the things they've touched. You can tell a lot from someone's hands. The texture, the lines, the muscle. Mine are very dry, scarred from both too much gardening without gloves and over picking scabs at times when I have been anxious. The joints bend where they shouldn't, there's a callus from writing and painting and freckles on the top from spending so much time outside. There's soot under my nails from scrubbing the fireplace. Yes, you can tell a lot.

Mum's hands

Matthew's and Dad's hands. Matthew's are big and thin, Dad's, chunky

I am fascinated by the lines. I have hand prints from all of my lovers, my best friends and my parents. I collect them, although haven't taken any since 2010. To me there are so deeply personal. I remember taking them so that I'd have a souvenir if I were to ever loose that person. Morbid I know, but that's just the kind of girl I am. It all started when I worked at Plymouth City Museum. I was studying some geological micro mounts and I found a fingerprint left in the wax on which the micro gem was perched. It had been there since 1799, left by Comte Louis de Bournon who had ended up in England after fleeing the French revolution. At the time I was deeply moved and felt instantly closer to a ghost and the absurdity that is time.  Time... just us casting shadows in space.

Henry's hands - which didn't come out very well sadly

Katie's hands in their pounch

My hand prints are kept in a yellow book which I later started to use for my Bare Necessities Project, which I will one day, when I am old lady, have time to actually paint. It was always meant to be a project about time -  looking back, looking forward - a comparison of diets over the years and what makes me - me. On reflection, it is quite a special book this one. It's full of the souls and food that nourished me. This book, in a way, has become my identity, my own digital print.

Bare Necessities Project - packaging album number 1 (there are 3 for the year)

Alex's hands

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