A Hand Is a Hand Is a Hand

A Couple of weeks ago I had a post entitled “Behold – The Hand.” I received more comments on that post than any other. Since I had so many comments on “Hands” I thought I would explain a little of how it came about.

As some of you know I dabble in ceramics. On the wheel I do bowls, mugs and plates, but my real love is sculptures. On the wheel I have a pretty good idea of what I’m doing, and it’s pretty routine, but I have not idea what to do with sculptures. Each sculpture has is own challenges and that’s what so exciting about it.

Dancer 1Dancer 3I had started on a series of dancers and when I got the first one done and someone said, “I really like the flow of it, but what is she holding, a piece of cardboard?”

I hoped it looked like a scarf. But as I’ve already told you, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Some one else observed, “Her boobs are too low.” Since I didn’t have a live model to work from I excused that observations.

I didn’t throw that one out, but went to work doing it again. This is the result of the second attempt. So you say, “What does this have to do with your post about hands?” I’m getting to that.

Dancer 4

While I was doing it I was looking at my hands as they worked with the clay and I was very grateful that they worked so well. Even if their manipulation of the clay isn’t everything I would like it to be, that’s not my hands’ fault. I have known people with their hands so gnarled with arthritis they can’t hold a pencil.

Dancer 5aDancer 5bI started working on something a little different. Still with idea of a dancer, but different and this is what I came up with.

Then It seemed to me that in gratitude for all my hands have done for me, the least I could do is somehow pay tribute to my hands.

Hand 1Hand 3That is when I made this sculpture. I didn’t really try to reproduce a copy of one of my old, wrinkled hands. Wrinkles are awfully hard to reproduce in clay as I learned in trying to do the dancers scarfs and skirts.

There are some who are so good they can produce every wrinkle.

In a class where I was the model one student reproduced every wrinkle in my old face so accurately I wanted to hit him over the head with the head he had made of me. Not until it was high fired of course and hard as a stone.

Then he had the unmitigated kindness to give it to me. I immediately put it for sale in the annual Christmas pot sale at Windward Community College. I like to think that the reason it sold so quickly the first day was because I’m so good-looking, but I know it is really because of his talent to show my every wrinkle.

Damn, I wish I could do that. Well, given another 5 or 10 years I may get to be that good with the clay.

May everything your hand finds to do come with ease if not always with fun.


Paul is the author of The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.

The Telephone Killer is now available as an audiobook from Amazon.

Another new novel of mine, Murder Sets Sail, will be coming soon from Second Wind Publishing. This novel is not a mystery. You know from the beginning who the murderers are and who they intend to murder. Adventure aboard a sailboat from Honolulu to Hong Kong.

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Filed under Art

8 responses to “A Hand Is a Hand Is a Hand

  1. Great post, Paul. I love the last line – a blessing, really. I could tell the scarf was a scarf right off. Your hands are very lifelike in plaster and graceful in life.

  2. You obviously have lots of talent along with a great artist’s eye. Never stop creating!

    • Paul J. Stam

      I don’t know about the talent or artist eye, but one thing I do know is that in both the writing and working with clay the fun is in the creating. Thanks again – pjs –

  3. I guess the critiques come with the territory when you create something. The two lines I get the most when people see my etchings are, “What’s ‘that’ doing ‘there’? and “That must take a lot of work.” You might just not tell them she’s holding a scarf and see what they come up with. I’m mostly content with whatever interpretation people wish to put on my art, or anyone’s art, for that matter because I have endured one too many art history classes where an expert explains why a long dead artist created something.

    • Paul J. Stam

      Micky, when they come up with a piece of cardboard for what I hoped would look like a scarf I guess I had better “recreate” or try again.
      I’ve had the great good fortune of never having taken an art history class so that puts me in the enviable position of not knowing anything about art ;-} . Have a great day, Micky, and thanks for commenting.

  4. Graceful sculpture of words and clay.

  5. Paul J. Stam

    Thank you, Sheila. – Especial thank you for the idea of gracefully sculptured words. – Blessings and aloha – pjs –

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