Friday, January 8, 2010

Take the gloves off!



My hands don't like to be blindfolded. They like to feel and comprehend the different shapes of the stones. Walling is an 'engagement' as such, and though not confrontational, the activity is worthy of all the attention the phrase "It's time to take the gloves off" brings to mind. As wallers, we have to be closely involved with the material we have chosen to build with. It isnt hand-to-hand combat, but rather hand-to-stone contact. We pick them up to identify their qualities and potential and to understand how we can accommodate them in the wall we are building. It isn't often necessary to wear gloves, unless it is unusually cold or the stones are wet. Then the stones are just too abrasive to go bare handed. But otherwise I like to work without gloves.
When you think about it. We don't put gloves on to pick up a child or greet a friend. We dont wear gloves to play an instrument unless we are in a santa clause parade. The wearing of gloves while trying to build a dry stone wall is like steering a car by looking at the GPS. There is an expression for when there is too much going on around you- ' I cant hear myself think.' My hands have an expression that roughly translates 'we cant hear ourselves feeling'
Walling hands can't hear if their extremities are muffled in clumsy work gloves
They cant feel or "see" the heart (or hearting) of the wall
They cant tell how large the gaps are or what the shapes are under the and between the stones that need to be filled.
These are all things that occur to me while Im working and 'thinking' with my hands.

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