One would think hammering is a simple and straightforward activity... Over the years I’ve had some damage in my hands, wrists, and elbows from hammering. I’d had many projects like this arch build, and, faced with thousands of tiles and rocks to set, or as in this project, pennies to form and dome, I’d power as hard as I could through it and then suffer from repetitive motion injuries. That behavior has sensitized my body for long term susceptibility to carpel tunnel, numbness and tingling in my hands and fingers. In the beginning, I tried to just slow down. I constantly found myself shifting back to old patterns. In order to continue using my hands, I live for that!, I had to ask deeper questions. Why did I keep shifting back? I found I was afraid the jobs were too big, afraid that I couldn’t follow through on them, and afraid that I wouldn’t finish them fast enough. The fears went on and on. I decided I would change my focus away from my fears. Lots of reading material came my way on breath. I discovered the relationship between anxiety and breath. I’m defininately a shallow anxious breather. So I found a phrase that I felt focused on all of the traits I would love to embody, made up a melody, and began singing it during all of my tasks. The book that gave me this idea is https://www.amazon.com/Chanting-Discovering-Spirit-Robert-Gass/dp/0767903234. I found that the singing/chanting, regulated my breath, slowed my thoughts down, and kept me more calm. It was a wonderful revelation. My art became my teacher. I started watching my thoughts; began to be able to detach from them and not take them so seriously, to see that they were endless and endlessly passing. This is, of course, a practice that takes a lifetime. The benefits constantly surprise me and give me delightful ahas of freedom when I’m ready to see something new. Nevertheless, hammering basics need to be practiced at the same time LOL! Here’s a great Occupational Health tutorial on the dos and don’ts. https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/safety_haz/hand_tools/hammers.html
I have a photo of my hand postition using the dapping punch. I practice holding all my tools as loosely as possible while still maintaining control. I grew up holding pencils, crayons, whatever I was using with a death grip and holding my breath at the same time! Thought: fear of making a mistake. Counter thought: Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Quote from Scott Adams.
glass, metal, wood, paint, plants, found objects, recycled objects, community art, public art, the art of living; may our lives touch and spread blessings of art, spirit and joy.
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