Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Handprint on My Heart

Today's Wonder of the World is...Handprints!

Flickr photo by IDSLR mania
Handprints always cheer me up. Unless they're sticky and on my window panes. (I have enough trouble keeping dog slobber off my windows.)

No, I'm talking about handprints that people make on purpose.

Flickr photo by flaviahenna
Well, not exactly. Though henna hands are beautiful!
Not prints on hands.
Prints OF hands. Handprints.

Flickr photo by tiffs pictures
Yep. That's more like it.
I've been thinking about the wonder of handprints ever since school started. Do you know why?
This is why.

If you have a young child, you may know about this book. It's The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn, and it's a family favorite. I discovered it when my oldest was starting kindergarten, and it's a perfect starting school book. But I'm warning you, it might make a mother cry.
Unless she's been entertaining a house full of children and their friends all summer long, feeding them every twenty minutes and driving them places, and she can't hardly wait for them to run off to school, so that she can have just a few moments of peace and quiet and get back to writing her book!
(Not that I would know anything about that.)

But after listening to The Writer's Almanac last Friday ( HERE) I knew I had to do a post on handprints.
Do you listen to the Writer's Almanac on NPR? It's a daily ritual for me. It helps me transition from the world of breakfast dishes and crazy last minute searches for shoes and last night's homework to the (hopefully) peaceful writing workday in front of my computer.

Last Friday on The Writer's Almanac, Garrison Keillor spoke about the caves of Lascaux France, in the Dordogne.

National Geographic photo
My French-ish ears perked up.
I LOVE the Dordogne and am fascinated by those caves and the 17,000 year old cave paintings. But the thing that particularly interested me was his last line about the caves, "One of the few traces left behind by the artists are their own handprints, which they made by tracing around their own fingers."

It filled me with questions. Were their handprints their signatures or part of the art? Why did they include them? What did it mean?
I did a little snooping around, and I found ancient handprints all over the world.
Like these in Talum, Mexico.

Flickr photo by fitchaction

Those are hard to see. Here's a close up.

Flickr photo by Nuhppir
Those are positive handprints, where the hands are painted and a print is made.
But there are also negative handprints, done stencil style. See one HERE from Handprint Cave in western Belize. It's a little spooky.

And here are some positive ones found in Owl Canyon, in Grand Gulch, Utah.

Flickr photo by agco
The most interesting thing I read was the theory that the caves were places of worship, and that as the worshippers descended into the caves, they believed they were nearing the spirit world. In fact, they thought the very rock wall that they painted was the membrane or veil separating them from the spirit world. So touching it, laying their hands on it, leaving their own imprints on it, must have been a deeply sacramental moment.
Or maybe not.
Who knows? It's interesting to think about it, anyway!

You know, if you think too much about hands and handprints, you start seeing them everywhere!

Flickr photo by clickclique
Or maybe that's a foot.

Some people should think a little more about handprints.

Flickr photo by Umbradox
And sunscreen.

Flickr photo by infacinatorinc
Hey! It's George! My sweet George! Cutie pie, what are you doing in my blog again?

Flickr photo by onlyv
Ahhh. I get it.
I'd trade those prints on my window for dog slobber any day!

Have a Wonder-full Wednesday and enjoy this incredible hand shadow art!

Love, Becky

PS If you missed Robyn's beautiful post on the wonders of hands back on our big party day, stop by for a looksie HERE. It's wonderful!

PS Again...I meant to include in this post a really fun thing to do with prints that Todd did with the big kids when they were younger. We live near a river and are always finding prints left by the wildlife there--mostly raccoons and deer. They used to hike around and make plaster casts of the prints. Have you ever done this? Just pick up plaster of Paris from a craft store, take it with you to the print site, add water and stir in a baggie, and then pour over the prints and let it harden. You get permanent casts that are really cool! I can't believe it, but in my mania of moving to France, I threw out every single one of those casts. We'll have to make some new ones!


TattingChic said...

HANDS OFF GEORGE! He's MINE!!! LOL! Just kidding, again, I couldn't resist! Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog yesterday. :)

dana said...

What a "handy" post today! Actually, it was another terrific post, Becky. I have a bit of a fascination with hands---in fact, one of my earliest posts was all about the "hands" that touched my little grand girl in the first few days of her life.
I shared your birthday prize on my post today! Again, thank you for it--I loved every little bit of it! Dana


That's one odd carrot! When I first saw it, I saw a bird. You never know what is going on under the ground!

Suzie said...

I love the hand prints on the cage they are very cool and spooky

Felicity said...

I love hands! My husband is a piano player, so he actually makes a living with those handsome appendages!

Rosemary said...

How handy to have that post today!!
Hope you have a great Wed too!

CurtissAnn said...

Just discovered your delightful blog via Dana at The Stone Rabbit. So glad! I've recently become fascinated with photographing hands.

Barb said...

Great post! Very interesting and handy for today. That carrot is outrageous. It should be for sale on ebay.

I have plaster prints from when my boys were little. They are one of my favorite things.


Anonymous said...

this is perfect!!

they are all different....and they are all personal.

love this.

LW said...

Thank you for the link to The Writer's Almanac….
I will be adding this to my morning blog time…

I loved this post…


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Thanks y'all for your great comments!
Curtissann, welcome to the blog! It's good to meet you!

lotusloq said...

I especially love little handprints--babies and children. They always make me smile.

I've finished your book now. You made me laugh and cry and remember all the wonderful people I knew in France. Thanks!

Madame Mallet is the best. What a character!

lotusloq said...

Ok. I was not able to watch the video before because my daughter was doing her reading right beside me and I didn't want to distract her, but I just came back to give it a gander and all I can say is "Wow!"

Thanks for the kind message on my blog. I just found it.

liquidambar said...

George Clooney is always welcome in a blog!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Lotusloq, you made my day. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And yes, Mme Mallet is quite a character! I do miss her and her lace curtain!

Jenn, Amen!

JaxPop said...

One of the best presents I ever received IN MY LIFE was a plaster casting of my youngest son Christopher's little kindergarten hand (all painted up). I still have it, sentimental old fool that I am. Chris is now 6'2" & 215 lbs

May Vanderbilt said...

(clap, clap, clap)

That's just little old me, giving you a hand!

I LOVE shadow puppets. There used to be a guy who did them on Sesame Street. It's one of my clearest memories from childhood.

Kalynne Pudner said...

You know, Becky, with a little PhotoShop expertise, you could put George's handprint as sunburn block on your own back. Now, THAT would be a Wonder of the World, don't you think?

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Jaxpop, I love my babies' plaster handprints too! Put me beside you in the column of sentimental old fools!

Thanks May! I know exactly what you're talking about. Sesame Street is great for so many reasons.

Kalynne, you're a genius! I think that's the best idea I've ever heard! It's enough to make me want to become a photoshop expert!

Tara said...

I love the hands commercial that is amazing! George is definitely HANDsome!


Daniel said...

Hey, I'm doing an art project on hands and fingerprints and I wondered if you could tell me the name of the wall in the first photo?