Diane Krys: Hands

Most nights I read before I go to sleep even if it’s just a quick flip through one of the many magazines piled by my bed side. Right before I start reading I like to slather my hands with a nice luxurious hand cream. A delicate fragrance wafts as I turn the pages; some TLC for my paws and a little aromatherapy before I drift off  into the land of nod.

The funny thing is my hands don’t look like they get any attention at all. My nails are short and uneven. Working with wooly fibers in the dry Alberta climate takes a toll as well. One look at my sturdy digits it’s clear the gene for long graceful fingers bypassed me completely. I don’t give it much thought but I’ve always considered my hands unattractive.

On that note, I confess to an impulsive decision last fall.  In the final few days before my trip and presentation at The Nova Scotia Fiber Art Festival, excitement and nerves got the best of me and I decided my  hands just wouldn’t do. Before you could say “fake nails”, I was sitting in front of an esthetician getting some “work” done. My nails were lengthened and sculpted  into the polished look of my dreams.   I see many who wear gel nails naturally and gracefully but I couldn’t get used to them.  In fact, my hands felt  completely impaired.  I handled everything differently from a pen to a piece of wool. I knew I couldn’t do any serious work with them: I could barely tie a shoelace. Unfortunately(or fortunately for most) they’re chemically fixed so they don’t come off at whim. I must say I’ve never thought more about my hands than those  weeks  when me and my fake nails were bonded together traveling through Nova Scotia.

I realized the irony in showing and celebrating my hand made work yet somehow feeling the very hands that made it weren’t up to par.  I thought about how much my life revolves around my hands;  how they allow me to express my inner world through all the things I make.  They bring my creativity to life and let my soul breathe fresh air. I see my father’s hands in mine. We have the same odd curvature and taper in each of our little fingers. My mother always told me it was the first thing she noticed when I was born.

Oddly enough, this small, silly pursuit of perfection served to enlighten; fakery finds authenticity. I found love for a perceived personal imperfection.  I fully appreciate my hands just the way they are. I missed them so when they were under the beauty parlor spell. It’s my practice and my joy to work with them everyday.

When I massage my hands an night, I work in moisture and work out  kinks from hours spent holding a hook or manipulating fibers.  It’s a ritual; a transition to sleep and an homage to what brings me joy. I ease my mind out of a busy day with an inspiring magazine or a good novel and I lay my hands and heart to rest in a fragrant field: gratitude, rest and a promise for tomorrow to give my best to make it beautiful with what I have.

Organic Formations#1, Diane Krys, 2013

29 thoughts on “Diane Krys: Hands

  1. I worked in a nursing home awhile back, and one of the activities we did was to trace each resident’s hands onto paper and cut them out to decorate their bulletin board. While we traced and cut, we talked about the many things that these men and women had done throughout the years with their hands. Holding babies, washing clothes, cooking meals, making airplane parts, wiping tears. Our lives are in our hands….who would want unscathed hands? They’d be like unwrinkled faces that had never laughed. Celebrate your hands and the many creations that exist because of them!!

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  2. Jill, Isn’t it lovely to see something of our parents in our hands. I agree beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I also think my epiphany about my hands was about redefining beauty. I believe being grateful for what we ask of them is so important. Glad to read your comments. Thanks for stopping in.

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  3. Dianne, thank you for this lovely post. Lately I look and my hands and see age and wrinkly skin but then the rest of me is looking a bit wrinkly as well! Most of all though, I see my mother’s hands, hers were always a bit red and rough and so are mine, especially during the garden season. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, I am grateful my hands still do what I ask them to.

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  4. Thanks Shirley. I completely agree, we must pamper ourselves more. I’m frugal with some things but I do like to splurge a bit on nice hand cream. There’s so many independent makers of really nice products now.I hope your hands heal soon…you’ve got beautiful rugs to work on!

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  5. Oh Diane what a delightful blog you wrote on hands. I wish that I had taken notice of your Hands at the Fibre Arts Festival. Like everyone else there we were more interested in your colourful glorious work. What a coincident that I should be reading how you luxuriated in bed with fragrance wafting around you from no doubt expensive hand cream.,whilst reading in bed. When there I lay trying to read,my fingers wrapped in band aids due to dryness, no aromatic delights in the old hand cream I was using LOL This cold climate will do this to our skin, we gals must pamper ourselves more ??

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  6. Catherine, what a moving and beautiful video! I’ve watched it a couple of times, I hope others check it out. Thank you so much for providing the link. I bet those farmer’s hands have great stories too. We had a lot of farmers in the family. They’re gone now but suddenly I wish we had photos of their hands.

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  7. Meryl, I know how you feel. But if I think about it, in hand modeling the hand is simply a prop. Now you’ve given me food for thought… I appreciate your comments.

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  8. Hi Helen Brown, Well, you missed your one and only chance to see my enhanced hands! Thanks to Deanne’s generosity I was able share my work with you. It’s really gratifying to know you and others are playing with the technique and doing your own thing. Thank you so much for sharing that. I’m happy we met too!

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  9. Hi Joan, I think having working hands is something to be proud of, whatever work they do. They are beautiful in their own way.
    I don’t recall a Lorraine Krys in our family. When we moved to Edmonton in the early 70’s we were the only Krys clan in the phone book. At that time there was another unrelated group from the Two Hills area. It’s been a few generations now so the name is more common.

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  10. Paula,
    I think we all look for ways to help them along. They are an extension of our mind and heart. I always appreciate your comments, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

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  11. I love hands. They have such personality. I remember meeting a farmer (a woman) years ago. She wasn’t particularly tall, had a British accent, she was thin and stood straight. I remember shaking her hand when I left and being in awe. Her hands were like a man’s hand, large and strong. They didn’t seem to fit that woman. I couldn’t help mentioning it. Wow. She smiled, she was a working woman, one that got up early every morning and milked cows. She was a farmer.
    Here’s a link to a video I made a couple years ago that promotes artist and artisan on the sunrise trail:

    It’s my ode to hands.

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  12. Lovely post Diane. I too have felt embarrassed by my hands for many years, and have always joked I could never be a hand model. Your post has given me food for thought. Thank you.

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  13. Hi Diane – I certainly remember you well but sadly did not notice your “enhanced hands” . Our hands symbolize so much especially to those of us who love to create with our hands. You inspired me to knit a milkweed pod on the hooking I started last fall and that in turn has inspired others in our group to experiment with that technique as well. What a pleasure to have met you! Thanks, Helen

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  14. Beautifully said. i too have blunt heavily veined hands and have never worn rings or even had a manicure but they are a worker’s hands so I don’t mind. Btw – I know Krys is a common name in Alberta but i went to high school in Edmonton with a Lorraine Krys, a girl I admired. Would she be a relation?

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  15. Diane your hands are beautiful as is what you create. The colours and the textures of your mixed media piece are stunning…. want to reach out and caress it!

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  16. Diane,
    I know what you mean about putting on gel nails. It’s so awkward and you don’t know what to do. I said this over a year ago. I still have the nails and enjoy them. It does finish the hand. Hope you could try them again and hopefully you will enjoy it.

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  17. Loved this post, my Mom used to say about her own hard working hands, ‘it’s not how they look it’s what they can do’. Thanks for that bringing back that memory of her.

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  18. This is such a lovely story Diane. I can’t even bear to wear nail polish longer than a few days; just have to get it off so my nails can breathe. I love your nightly hand care ritual; can’t wait to do the same with my dry, imperfect hands to let them know I am grateful for all the things (esp hooking) they create.

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  19. Years ago while working as a production potter, a photographer was shooting me and my pottery and I found myself apologizing for my hands. Graciously he reminded me these were working hands. Now, I appreciate working hands for they are beautiful, Diane.

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  20. Beautifully written. For as long as I can remember , I have envied those that have used their hands to produce beautiful works of art whether it be through painting, rug hooking, crocheting, knitting or any of the numerous forms of art. I have never thought about the hands themselves until reading your article here. My hands have to work extra hard to produce , but I continue to look for ways to help them along …. probably the most successful so far is through Deanne’s online courses as well as her Blog and other areas of her Create Beauty Everyday web site. I am happy to know that you have discovered that your hands should be and are worthy of great appreciation for all they do. Thank-you, Diane.

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