Wendell Berry, famed writer, poet, environmentalist, educator, and farmer, wrote in his book, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food:

 

    "‘Every man is called to give love to the work of his hands. Every man is called to be an artist.’ The small family farm is one

    of the last places...where men and women (and girls and boys, too) can answer that call to be an artist, to learn to give love

    to the work of their hands. It is one of the last places where the maker - and some farmers still do talk about "making the crops" -

    is responsible, from start to finish, for the thing made...This responsibility, this giving of love to the work of the hands, the farmer, 

    the farm, the consumer, and the nation all stand to gain in the most practical ways: They gain the means of life, the goodness of

    food, and the longevity and dependability of the sources of food, both natural and cultural.”

 

Much of Berry’s nonfiction writing focuses on his own experience living on a farm, where he equates the “good life with sustainable agriculture, appropriate technologies, healthy rural communities, connection to place...and the interconnectedness of life.”

 

This project honors Berry’s sentiments, recognizing the artistry that is involved in farming.  The tactile sense of working with your hands, the sculpting of the field, as earth is moved into mounds and seeds are planted, and the visual pleasure one gets when leaves and stems give way to crops of food and flowers. The care involved with rearing animals, as with the shearing of sheep, which further provide us with the material we then fashion--with our hands--into creations of another sort.

 

In addition, this project attempts to recognize the cottage industries that have sprung up from farms throughout history where--during non-growing months--many farm families produce pottery, quilts, knitting and other handmade goods. In honor of labor as art, Field Hands, is phase one of an art installation and participatory piece, celebrating the work of farmers - both on and off the land.

 

FIELD HANDS

A  visual project about “Work and Manuel Labor,” 2013 - 2014

 

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