A few years ago I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and was on a tour of the city. The tour guide told me the church I was looking at was an adobe style church. It was in need of repair. The only way the cracks in the walls could be restored was to rub straw and mud by hand directly to the surface of the building. The church did not have a lot of money so they had a festival where the whole congregation came out and repaired the church by hand. The community could not afford to hire a professional so they did it themselves.
I was moved by the fact that the people from the church had touched the structure with their hands from top to bottom. The congregation became spiritually connected with the church’s renewal. I headed back home and I realized that I wanted to make a sculpture about the adobe church.
While at home I was looking at a picture of French sculptor, Auguste Rodin’s “Cathedral Hands” and decided to construct my sculpture with one hand on top of another (a total of 3 hands). A recent trip to Italy and France influenced the robustness of the hands in contrast to Rodin’s delicate depiction.
I am amused when people can’t resist touching the sculpture “Hands” when they see it. “People are drawn to it”. The public tries to caress and line up their hands with the sculpture.
When “Hands” was first being made, I decided to make them out of wax. This was my first experience with wax. In the beginning the first hand came out looking feminine, the second, masculine and the third, child-like. I became frustrated with the wax (almost melting one of the hands into oblivion) and returned after a few months to the familiarity of water based clay. I found that the end result of the sculpture was more consistent in size and heavily masculine and robust.