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Made by Hand

Posted in Music

In a world of connecting via technology and computer manufacturing, it’s nice to know that there are still people out there who make things by hand. There were times when I had prints of my artwork hanging in an art show, and a fantasy art fan would tell his less educated friends that my artwork was done on the computer. I would have to step in and say that, no, the original was painted in oils and this is a print. Even after explaining that I was the artist, they would continue to argue their point with me.

It’s gotten to the point that some people think that computers are the only things that make anything of quality. Ummm…ultimately everything man made is man made. It has to go back to a person making the original bit which made the next bit and so on.

Our hands are one of the greatest wonders of Nature, and it is through our hands that our meals are prepared, comfort is given, greetings are extended, and prayers are made. We can even communicate with our hands.  So it’s a joy to me to see people who dedicate themselves to crafting things of beauty with their hands, for others to enjoy with theirs.

When we build, let us think that we build forever.
Let it not be for present delight nor for present use
alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will
thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on
stone, that a time is to come when those stones

will be held sacred because our hands have
touched them, and that men will say, as they look
upon the labor and wrought substance of them,
“See! This our father did for us.” ~John Ruskin

I am delighted to see a quote of John Ruskin, who was a pioneering supporter of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, on the website of a craftsman of rare ability. Pete d’Aigle makes beautiful autoharps. The woodcrafting is exquisite, and the sound is bright and beautiful. My autoharp teacher has one, and she recently helped me optimize my factory made Oscar Schmidt Appalachian by replacing the felt on a chord bar that wasn’t working well and switching out a chord I don’t really need for one that I do. B minor. You just can’t play good folk or celtic stuff without a B minor.

The hands have a great sensitivity. Whether I am painting, playing my autoharp, or sharing reiki; I am connected with my action by my hands, sometimes they seem to move on their own accord. We don’t have to stop and think about the complexities of typing a sentence once we know touch typing.  As I use my hands I am aware that I may also be channeling Reiki while I’m doing it. Even when I’m doing the dishes.

As I watch my seedlings grow, I am reminded that those too were planted by my Reiki hands. It’s a touch of love and life that imbues all hand made things. I have a greater appreciation of all other crafts people every time I see something that is made by hand, and I am grateful for it. Someday, when I am good enough and feel the need, I’ll probably have one of my own d’Aigle autoharps. Until then, I just need to learn some more picking patterns and keep practicing.

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