Whitby Museum has a very popular object called the Hand of Glory. It is ironic that the myth surrounding it is about sleep as there I was at 4am last night wide awake and thinking about it. I should have just gone to work at around 10.30pm when I began doodling birds in my notes and perhaps I would have worked out my ideas then ........ instead of later lying awake wondering whether I could make a wire bird small enough to be an earring. Anyway, there I was at 4.20am with Earl Grey tea and my notebook thinking about hands......... glorious hands!
Hands are of course important to the making process and at some point in my residency I will almost certainly start making bracelets or bangles, as they have always been a key part of any collection of jewellery I have designed and made. The large size of my own hands originally influenced me wanting to make bangles as I could never find any to fit.
I then started thinking about the way we use our hands, particularly in western society - we shake hands, kiss hands, hold hands, using them to write (or more often these days to type and text) we wave in greeting; to attract attention and goodbye. They are unique, each with their own set of marks of our personal histories - fingerprints and rings signifying our personality and our attachments. I recall once reading that wearing a ring for any length of time leaves a mark on the bone not just in the flesh of the wearer and also remember being fascinated by a necklace of wire hands in a museum somewhere - was it in the Ashmolean? ..... which brings me back, full circle to the wire.
For my visitors book at the museum I would like people to draw around their own hands on paper, then write their name, date and favourite thing about the museum within the outline - maybe a small drawing in the palm? I will then cut them out and stick them into my book, which is in the process of being bound by Brian Cole www.thecastlebindery.co.uk and they will become a record of my days at the museum.
And so to sleep...... maybe mandrake would help :)