In this fast-paced age of technology we lose touch with all the ways our hands can communicate. Things we can do with our hands: laying a foundation, growing food, touching another human… are rarely prioritized or valued. But our hands are full of stories and are longing to help us express ourselves and connect with each other. I have always loved drawing – as a way to slow down, see clearly, and start conversation; and so I propose: 30 trips across Portland to draw 30 sets of hands that tell 30 different stories.
On a blank postcard I will draw each person’s hands in action. The back of each card will hold a unique question to prompt their story: What do you hope your hands will get to do one day? What have you fought for with your hands? What do only your hands know how to do? I will invite participants to write a response on the card and their mailing address on a separate sheet. In the end, all cards and addresses will get shuffled up so that every person receives the anonymous hands and short story of a fellow Portlander.
But before these cards hit the mail, they will inspire 5 pop-up parties in parks in each quadrant of PDX. 30 original pieces of art will hang from ribbon strung between trees. People passing by will get to do more than just look. Using scans of the original drawings, I will create a collage graphic to produce a printed postcard. Everyone will be invited to pick a question and write their own story on the back of these cards – which will also go into the mailing mix.
In Bellingham, I did a beta version of this project – resulting in the drawing samples attached. As I drew people’s hands we chatted and I learned wacky, sad, uplifting tales. This proposal continues the focus on hands as a source of connection but expands the participation across the city of Portland. This local project has the potential to get totally out of hand, launching a national experiment in which I travel across the country extending the web of handmade conversations
Funded by Portland, OR (May 2018)