GRANDAUGHTER / GRANDAD
[2018, each 31″ x 24″]
My dad is a potter. So is my daughter. These pieces—which can be displayed separately but are really meant to hang together—are continuations of my “Handwork Project” and they focus on hands directly linked to my own. I can see the genetic links just looking at the hands; my hands look like they obviously belong to my father’s daughter; my daughter’s hands look like mine but also incorporate my husband’s longer fingers. And in these pieces, my dad, who is experienced with clay and whose pot is near completion, works with his hands almost floating as they perfect a sharp, clear edge with the lightest of touches. My daughter’s journey with pots is just beginning, so she has to push with both hands, still learning to convince the clay that she knows what she’s doing. Looking at them together, our inheritance as makers is clear, running from him through me to her. We are lucky enough that she’s been able to learn it directly from him as well, and that’s why the pieces are titled for their relationships to each other, rather than their relationships to me.
The importance of working with your hands—along with the curiosity, willingness to ask questions, and striving for creative accomplishments that go along with this work—is one of the most important things my dad has given to me. It’s what I consider one of the most important things I can pass to my daughters. It’s the most consistent part of my life, running along its own path through every decade, and it’s the clearest lens through which I see other people. The afternoon recorded in these knitted pieces, when I was watching my dad teach my daughter to throw a pot, was like a shining, crystalline moment of clarity about who we are and what we offer to the world.