Where’s the hand?

I heard Thomas Moore, author of  ‘Care of the Soul’ speak in SoCal several years ago.  He said that sometimes when he and his wife get a windfall, they’ll purchase a work of art rather than something ‘sensible’ like a new dishwasher.   Mrs. Moore will ask of a crafted item, “Where’s the hand?”, wanting to see the mark made by a person, the imperfection that means that it wasn’t made by a machine.  It is said that all Islamic artists make a deliberate error in their work on the grounds that Only God Is Perfect.

What’s this preamble leading up to?  I’m very excited about a new piece of work I finished on Friday evening in my ongoing explorations of image, light and translucence.  I made this ambient light source from rice paper, one of my South Bank photographs and a haiku.

I’d been thinking about it for a few weeks – how it will look, where I’ll photograph it, the apartment/boutique hotel on the South Bank which it will grace.  I ordered some Chinese rice paper from Germany which finally arrived on Wednesday.  Doesn’t the post seem to take longer when you’re waiting for supplies?  I also picked up my Golden acrylic gel medium (too big to put through the mail slot) from the Post Office on Friday.  I constructed the piece late on Friday afternoon and had such a good time while I was making it.  Sometimes when I make new work, I encounter problems to be solved or unforeseen tangents, but this light came together beautifully.

I wasn’t sure how the opposite vertical edges of the image would come together at the join.  When I got to that point, I decided to place the haiku going down the middle of the piece.  I love how the diagonal lines in the photograph dovetail on either side.

Suncast shadows

Next to my design wall with other new work & my explorer helmet

I also love how it changes in different lights.



The haiku –

The hand comes into it when I had to splice in one of the Dolphin lamp posts which been cropped off when I printed my photo onto the rice paper.  These cast iron, globe topped lights are so iconic to the South Bank that I could not leave it chopped off!

South Bank lamp post

I’m currently in Devon Open Studios and have placed my Suncast Shadows light in my studio, reflected in a mirror so that visitors can catch a glimpse when they pass and can go in for a closer look.  Then I draw the shade and turn off all of the other lights so people can see how it glows in a dark room.

My studio


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