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