Marja-Leena Rathje
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another hand print


While Elisa was having her metalwork lesson with Richard, I explored outside his barn/workshop/studio with camera in hand. Amazing what visual treasures can be found in what seems like a junkyard of old cars, farm equipment, snowblowers and assorted machine parts. For Richard, these are treasures in parts to recycle and put to new uses like Elisa's frame but also something he made for me that I will tell you about later after we've installed it and taken photos.

My favourite image found and photographed amongst the fascinating rusty shapes and textures has to be this hand print! How long ago did some worker with oily hands leave his mark here? Was it intentional or accidental? For me, who has long been fascinated by hands in ancient rock art, and I've written many a blog post about it, this is astonishingly evocative and rich in synchronicity.

Added June 18th: Richard has commented below with a bit of history of the snowblower upon which sits the handprint, so I thought I would add the photo of the chute, below. Can you see that handprint?


Marja-Leena | 17/06/2011 | 21 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Photoworks, Textures


Hieno kuva ja jännittävää, millaisia jälkiä ihmiset tietämättään ja tahtomattaankin itsestään jättävät.

As mysterious in its own way as the stone age ones. In a museum at an old Roman British town near where I grew up, there was a Roman terracotta tile with a dog paw print in it, and next to it a stone embedded in the clay, as if someone had thrown the stone at the dog to shoo it off the drying tiles. A whole little story in a couple of imprints.

Deliberate or accidental, evidence of our presence seems to mean so much to us who follow, no matter whether two hours or two millenia later. I also particularly like the pitting in the paint.

Taina, aivan niin, kiitos!

Lucy, I think I remember you mentioning that Roman terracotta tile once - what a story. And yes, they all do have some kind of stories whether ancient or recent.

Olga, I like that you've called these imprints 'evidence of our presence'. The rust just adds to the sense of passing time.

startling image! i thought you might find some jems in amongst the junk. x

The colors, too, are very congenial with the ancient handprints...

Elisa, thanks for suggesting I go prowl there. I did find many 'gems' :-)

Marly, I must confess that the orange was more brilliant than this but I toned it down so it wouldn't clash with the decor here!

I agree with Lucy. It could almost come from the wall of a cave.

A signature, surely. The human need to say, I was here.

Ah. Highly understandable...

It really is a wonderful image. The amazing thing about ancient rock art is the fascination people had with their hands right from the beginning. It's almost as if everyone woke up one day to discover they had opposable thumbs where they'd only had four fingers previously.

Joe, exactly, and that's what I've been reading about recently too!

Zhoen, yes, well said!

Marly, glad you understand...

Susan, I think so too! And about how many things we humans can do with our hands.

Since everyone loves the hand Print, I thought I might tell you a little about what it's on, and where it came from... I acquired this 30+ year old snow blower from a friend in South Eastern Colorado, in May of 2010, he had had it for a couple years, and bought it in an auction. Before he had it, it was part of the Park City Municipal equipment pool. Park City Utah was where the 2006 Winter Olympics took place, and I know it was used then by the City just before the Olympics opened due to heavy snowfall. Park City acquired it used, to my knowledge, when it was about 10 years old. The 10 years before they had it, I have no Idea where it was, what I do know is it started its life in Germany.

The hand Print was typical of the indigenous People in that region from 1000's of years ago, and I have seen similar Markings first hand on the cliffs in Moab about 3 hours south. Marja-Leena, did you notice the other 10 Petroglyph reproductions on the rest of the Snow blower chute? including the Buffalo, some people and a turtle?

Hi Richard! Thanks for the history! Now I'm wondering what its future is besides being a museum-like display of a handprint and fascinating shaped rusty areas, which I've photographed and may still post soon. Hah, I guess if I squint, I can just imagine some of those rust shapes being petroglyph reproductions!

Oh, and should you ever decide to cut this machine up (like you did the Buick), I want the Handprint, please!

goodness! you won't get it now, you'll find it your daughter's rockery as sculpture! x

Ha,ha! And there I thought the rest of it was just a population density map!

Elisa, you may be right, after all, it is in their possession! Bet she didn't think of it as a garden art until now.

By the way, Anita called to wish her father Happy Father's Day and mentioned that there really are more petroglyph-like images on that snowblower. I thought Richard was kidding, like he often does!

Marly, a population density map???? Strange what we see in the abstract, as I always say.

Quite determined meaning-makers, we human sorts...

Marly, yes, meaning-makers... and meaning-readers.

Future Plans? the long term plan is to fully restore it, along with the Unimog and the..... and the....

Richard, I imagine it would be hard to keep the images if you are doing a new paint job....