Many of you know that I went to Zambia this month to see first hand what my friend Sam has done in his home town of Ndola. His dream is to make a difference in the lives of the children through the establishment of an orphanage, school, and medical clinic.
The experience was extraordinary. I have no words for what I saw, tasted, smelled, and felt during the time we spent among the people of Africa.
The opportunities there for the children to experiment with art materials are virtually zero so my job was to give the children the experience of making a hand print using Jacquard Textile Paints. I painted the hands of over 250 children who had great fun transferring the paint onto 8" cotton squares I had dyed years ago.
When the stamping was completed, they washed their hands and returned to their squares and wrote their names with Sharpie pens. One interesting thing about the Sharpies-the children didn't know what the pens were or how to take off the tops! They were super cautious about pulling off the top...did it screw off? Did it pull off? I ended up just leaving the tops off the pens for the duration of the project.
In the USA, art projects involving making hand prints start in pre-school. None of these children had never done anything like this.
We worked with 20 children at a time and hung the wet prints on a clothes line I brought from home. It took four hours to do 250 prints.
The prints dried quickly in the African breezes.
It was fascinating watching the faces of the children as they chose which color they wanted for their print. It was wonderful seeing them smile, laugh, or wrinkle their noses up as they felt the paint on their hand and as they made the prints. Some slapped down their hand with great force, some were super cautious. Some spread their fingers wide and some kept their hands closed very tightly.
Some of the children's hands were as hard as leather. Some hands were soft and cold, others were sweaty and smooth.
I saw scarred hands and hands that were small and delicate. Some hands were enormous, and some hands were so small they fit into the palm of my own hand.
As I explained to the classes later on, each hand print is as unique as they are. Each print reflects their personality and individuality. No two are the same.
It is important to remember that throughout life, each of us leaves a unique print or impression on the world we live in and that is to be celebrated.
I have brought the hand prints home and am now making them into pillows or wall hangings that will be sold as a fundraiser for the school, orphanage, and clinic.
The pillows are stuffed with 100% wool fleece and are made using either 4 prints or 6 prints. The smaller 4 print pillows will be offered for a donation of $40.00 or more. The 6 print pillows are sold for $60.00 or more. 100% of the donation goes to Operation iDream (www.operationidream.org). If you are interested in purchasing items, let me know. We'll add on shipping cost.
The hand print panels are $40.00 and consist of 12 prints either as seen below or 12 panels arranged two across and 6 down.
I love the quote "The more I see, the less I know" because it is so very true. Travel does that to us and when we make the choice to venture somewhere that might be considered a "non-touristy" destination, it can truly open up the soul. That's what happened for me. When I go again, my emphasis will change. I saw some things that I personally can not allow to go unchecked- medical things that can be solved with about $50.00 and some time and effort. I can do that. I will of course do some more art making with the children.... but first things first.
Thanks for looking.