Editorial: A Celebration of Hands

Words by Jordan Hernandez for Portland Supply Co.

Sometimes we take our two hands for granted. How they can hold a pen. Pluck strings on a guitar and pull tomatoes off their ripened vine. To click the shutter capturing a pivotal moment. And then there are rituals such as touching another person’s for the first time, or feeling the weight of a baby the moment you hold them on top of your fingers.

These tools are attached to our bodies like anchors, tossed and dangling while still keeping us rooted. We wave them in the wind, hoping centripetal forces will keep them swaying back and forth. Generally, we think of our feet as the limbs that carry us new places. But without our hands, we would never be able to open the door to our destinations in which we walk toward.

Perhaps the thing that liberates us most with our hands is the freedom to create. Everyone has his or her own skill. The ones working with fabrics know textiles by the touch. Blacksmiths, wood workers and steel workers know the materials by shape and size. Doctors use their hands to fix other peoples. Teachers use theirs to show little hands how to form letters and numbers.

They are the only instruments we have that are universal. The ones we extend and shake upon meeting people. To wrap around someone’s neck to hug them. To explore body language through gestures and motions that tells our stories. And to pick up the phone and call when we need to hear a familiar voice. They are what we labor and toil with. What we cut and callous as symbols of hard work. They are trophies that we clang together to make noise in praise or metronome. To wipe the sweat and tears from our faces when the good moments cease.

But our creations are our truest form of victory. They are the bridge that gaps makers to consumers and the joy we are filled with when we discover something new that moves us in the smallest way. This is a celebration of hands. What they have done, are doing and what they will continue to do years from now, even when others tell us we don’t need them anymore. There is acceptance here, in this space. All that you must do is roll up your sleeves and tell your story.