The Human Touch

Quilt-making, artisan chocolate, metal smithing, garage sales, vintage linens, ironing, folk music . . . what do these things have in common?

They’re a few of my interests but, because I am known to over-think things, I’ve always looked for a theme that connects them and that would give me insight to what makes me, well, me.

Then I read a phrase in a novel that gave me a starting place. The character receives a gift and reflects that it has that “loving-hands-at-home look.” The phrase “loving hands at home” was used as if it was a well-worn term but I had never heard it before.

So, I looked it up! I didn’t find anything definitive but learned that it’s a phrase used to talk about something that is obviously handmade by someone with a love of making. And, it became clear that the phrase is generally used in a disparaging way, to imply that the hand-maker might mean well but that they have more love than skill.

As I thought about it, though, I realized this was the connection among the activities and interests that have motivated me for much of my life, and I think they motivate many others as well. We are humans and we are drawn to that which is made by human hands. We appreciate the exceptional and the talented but also see the value in anything handmade, even if it is inexpert or awkward, because it reflects a desire to do something for oneself, to create, to participate.

Click, click, click . . . the seemingly unrelated interests in my life fell into place. All those things I’ve made and crafts I’ve dabbled in. All those exhibits of folk art I’ve sought out. All those items I pick up at flea markets and garage sales. All that music that moves me. They’re essentially the products of loving hands at home, not made by professionals, or mass-produced. They have the imprint of an individual human being on them. That human being might be me or you, or someone long gone, but the “hands at home” speak to me.

So, this blog is initiated to celebrate the hands at home. You won’t find me using that phase in the condescending way it is often used—I really do love those hands at home! If you do, too, I hope you’ll come back often and participate in the discussion!