Hands open

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“Assume a posture of giving or receiving,” the instructor said. We sat around a heavy table scarred by tools and encrusted in dried media, hands extended in front of us. She came around and poured plaster into our hands. We held this posture until the plaster dried, about 20 minutes.

As the plaster set, it began to warm in my hands. The experience for me was spiritual, reminding me of people who have spoken of the presence of God as heat in their hands. The cast felt heavier as the liquid became a resistant solid.

The result looked like a display case in a natural museum history, like a collection of animal skulls; distinct, pristine silhouettes. Each form signified that half an hour of time: time captured in plaster.

 

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