Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers' Day

Hands - Sandy Steen Bartholomew
Happy Mothers' Day!

This is a piece I just finished last night for Journal52. I reused photocopied hands (mine and Lilah's) from a chunky book project from a few years back. Quite a few years actually, judging by the size of Lilah's hands and my wedding ring!

I transferred the hands using Sheer Heaven, then tangled the background with a brown Micron pen to look sort of henna-tattoo-ish.

The song is Mother's Hands by Debi Smith (one of the Four Bitchin' Babes - she has a gorgeous voice and great songs). I had actually written some of the words directly on my hand before photocopying. It's a lovely song.

Here are the lyrics (borrowed from Debi Smith's website):

by Debi Smith

Katie had just had her lunch, it caught me unaware
I cleaned some milk up off the floor, and was sitting in a kitchen chair
I had an independent daughter, like her mother beforehand
When I reached out to trace her little face, I couldn't understand
When I saw my mother's hand

         I have my mother's hands, and I have my mother's voice
         And I have my mother's eyes, though I have a daughter's choice
         I thought I carved my own life in unknown, uncharted lands
         I never thought I'd look down and see my mother's hands

I remember my Aunt Edna - looking straight into my eyes
My eyes, the eyes of a young girl, trying so hard to disguise
What I knew she would say to me as she gently stroked my hair,
"Each day more than the other, you're just like your mother"
I thought it wasn't fair that she saw my mother there (Chorus)

                  I wanted to be my own self, I thought I knew it all
                  I'd stomp and buck and whinny, like a young colt in a stall
                  And I bet I was a handful, though I didn't understand
                  I was always in the best care when in my mother's hands

The other night I lay dreaming my mother held my face
She kissed me on the forehead, and then she took her place
Among the mothers and the daughters in the ever changing sands
One-by-one their time had come when they'd soon understand
They all had their mothers' hands (Chorus)

c 1995, Degan Music, ASCAP


  1. This is a lovely piece. Guess I'll have to get some of the Four Bitchin' Babes music too.

    1. Yes! They are an amazing group - and each of the Babes has her own musical career too. They used to play small venues... like Newport and New London. Now it's only the bigger places and cities. Christine Lavin (one of the Babes) played at Four Corners Grille in New London about 15 years ago and she painted people's fingernails during her break. She's a hoot and an inspiration.

  2. Sandy, your post speared my heart! My Mum lives in Sydney and I left there nearly 40 years ago with my new American husband. I have missed my Mum more times than I can say during, what has turned out to be, some really rocky times. Her 90th birthday is in a week - I was meant to be there, but my daughter is really quite ill - having weathered her cancer last year, at the start of this year she got hit with a horrible auto immune disease and we are wending through all that entails. Anyway, my sister and I decided to do lots of things with Mum in May and June, extend the celebrations, and I'd go over in June. Well, May 1st Leta took Mum to a dead fancy hotel in Canberra - great time, dropped Mum off at home, drove back to her place and in those 25 minutes Mum was on a back board and in a neck brace being rushed to hospital! She'd fallen down 3 steps, shattered her right elbow and it turns out fractured 4 vertebrae in her cervical spine (who knew there were that many vertebrae to fracture there!), and another 3 in her thoracic spine!!! She is in a neck and body brace, and looks like the Bionic Woman. I know that because she has managed to buy a wifi hotspot thingy, got her iPad working and her iPhone and we've chatted daily! She's already talking about having to trade in her stick shift for an automatic when she gets on her feet (in Australia she has to take a 30 minute driving test every 2 years after age 80 - she passes with flying colours each time!). The woman is amazing - but this fall has brought home to me the fact her hands are not going to be there for ever. I may be 62ish, but god, I still need those hands!
    I have tangled so much over the last two years - it has been a blessing in so many ways. As you know, I am doing CZT training in October; I hope that I can pass on some of the peace I've found to other people.
    Oh, of course, Mum has her own personal, very Keens-family humour oriented, tangled card winging its way to her bedside. Say a few prayers to the spirits you worship that the wonderful USPS doesn't screw up! I had an amazing experience with them just recently. I was in Florida and Kris sent me down a Priority package of letters and stuff. Included in it were a new bra I ordered, pink cotton, and a Martha Stewart magazine amongst others. Well, when the envelope arrived, it was partially opened, and the bra and magazine were missing! My head, unfortunately, has been assailed with some very interesting visions:)
    Sorry this has been such a long comment - I guess I think of you as a friend - and I just wanted to tell you how much your post means to me. Hugs!

    1. OMG.

      I hope you still plan on going home to visit your mom? That's really hard to be put in the position of "choosing" between your mom and your daughter. Egads.

      I'm glad this post was meaningful for you and I'm sure we will all be sending you good thoughts and prayers. I'm honored to be your friend and I love that you still have your sense of humor. My mantra has always been... "you can laugh - or you can cry." I choose to laugh (most of the time.) ;-)

    2. yes, I am going June 21 to August 9 - playing nurse! Pity my poor Mum!

  3. Beautiful art! I really think that Zentangle has its origins in the Indian Continent and I love the way you used it as a background for illustration. In early 2013, I worked with several people who's home was in India (various sections). One, a very young brilliant woman with a masters in brilliantness, created sand mandalas (i.e., Zentangles) around her front door on a daily basis. That we should all pick up the practice . . . !

  4. OOps, I meant "whose" . . . and the rest of that sentence is poor, too. 4give! Or maybe, I just Zentangled the sentence.


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