Family Time | Little hands
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Little hands

Little hands

Today, as has been my tradition for the entirety of Henry’s life, I made handprint ornaments with Dolores Thomson of Clay Concepts. We give them to the aunts, uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents every year for Christmas. Danny hands now, too.

At this point, they get the gift and go, “Hmm, what could THIS be…” Yup. Another hand. But I’m not sure they know how long it takes to make these. You roll out the clay, cut out the handprints, soften the edges with a sponge (this part takes the longest and is tedious), stamp the hands with individual letter stamps, poke a hole with a straw, draw the date on the back with pencil, and some years we glaze too.

This year I tried porcelain clay, which was the tactile version of delicious. Creamy and decadent. It feels fancy. Yet I chose it because I wasn’t feeling up to the extra step of glazing. Too much to do.

Dolores has graciously suggested that I don’t force myself to do this forever and ever, especially as their hands are bigger and bigger and will start to weigh down a Christmas tree. Maybe I’ll stop at age five.

This time, though, Henry helped. Like any collaborative art project with a preschooler, it required a little letting-go on my part. He was crazy polite, following instruction and using pleases and thank-yous at a volume I could barely fathom. “May I try poking the holes now, mom? Please?”

Dolores is a wonderful teacher, with signs around that say forgiving things about mistakes and inspiring things about creativity. I recommend her classes highly. She’s a lovely person, a friend and a former coworker and former studio neighbor, and one of my favorite people. She’s wise, gentle, and thoughtful.

I’ll be honest, I just wanted to crank these things out and check them off my to-do list. I’m feeling overwhelmed by the holidays on top of the Advokate Boutique and regular work.

But you get into a zone, dabbing and slicing and laughing and poking, and the hours fly by like seconds.

The other workshop attendees were sweet, engaging him and treating him as an equal. I imagined he would get squirrely after about fifteen minutes, but he maintained focus for more than an hour and a half, I’d say. No doubt in part due to Cindy’s engagement – she got him started with a little car, and before you know it, he had built City Park, complete with bandstand, trees and bushes!

This year’s little hands will have a special touch, with Henry’s actual hand in the making of them.

It’s a tradition I’m glad I have, taking a moment to create something every year, and now something to share with my son. (When Danny is old enough, I will bring him too.)

P.S. I wrote and posted this and then realized I could have written something about Donald Trump with a title like this. But I didn’t. So.

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