In this age of technology and automated services, the art of working and creating with your hands is often overlooked.
Lopezians Iris Graville and Summer Moon Scriver have just released their first book, “Hands at Work – Portraits and Profiles of People Who Work with Their Hands,” a collection of photos and interviews with people whose life’s work has been centered around the beauty of using their hands.
Graville and Scriver will celebrate the book’s release at a public launch party on Sunday, Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m. at Lopez Center. They will share excerpts and sign copies of the book. Readings are also scheduled for Nov. 20, 7 p.m. at Darvill’s Bookstore in Eastsound and on Nov. 22, 2 p.m. at Griffin Bay Bookstore in Friday Harbor. A “Hands at Work” exhibit will hang at Lopez Center from Nov. 21 through December. The opening reception is Friday, Dec. 5, 5-6:30 p.m.
The 144-page hardcover coffee-table book has been called “deep, meaningful and profound” by Matthew Fox, author of “The Reinvention of Work.” It offers 23 full-length profiles and three collages of people passionate about working with their hands. Among the subjects interviewed are a boat builder, potter, chef, reef net fisherman, quilter, physical therapist, and blacksmith, who all explore their deeply fulfilling and satisfying work.
Many of those interviewed live on Lopez and will attend the release party. “These people use the vocabulary of the spirit,” says Graville. “They are not only willing to labor with their hands, they are nourished by that act.”
“Hands at Work” was inspired by a 2004 exhibit of Scriver’s black-and-white images of people knitting, kneading dough, digging potatoes, and spinning wool. “I was moved by the drama of the intense close-ups of muscled, weathered, gentle hands,” says Graville. She approached Scriver about exploring the stories behind the photographs. The book is a result of their four-year collaboration.
Book designer Bob Lanphear of Lanphear Design created the layout of “Hands at Work.” It both showcases Scriver’s 126 black and white photos – many of which are printed larger than life – and weaves in Graville’s intimate profiles. Viewed in such detail, hands take on a powerful elegance: an oboe player’s thumb and forefinger steady his instrument, a midwife’s hand clasps the palm of a laboring mother during a water birth, and a gardener sifts through the dark earth of her land.
“Hands at Work” is available locally at Islehaven Books and Borzoi, Chimera Gallery, and at www.handsworking.com. When ordering directly from the website, a small donation from the sale of each book goes toward the Lopez Island Family Resource Center Summer Workshops and the Amigos de Santa Cruz Foundation in Guatemala.