Project Title: Hand-Held @ Pullman
Site Location: Pullman, IL
Date: August 2016
The Hand-Held project seeks to bring communities together to create and ignite a sense of passion for working with one's hands. By emerging our hands in materials like plaster or clay, our senses are enlivened as well as our connection to our greater world. Pullman, IL has a rich history with the labor movement. This "utopian factory town" was developed by George Pullman in the late 1800's to provide an architecturally unified place for the factory workers to live, work, and worship. While the town sustained itself for a while, it eventually became a strike zone for worker's rights. To learn more, click here.
Today, Pullman continues to exude a sense of texture and narrative that you can only experience by walking the streets and alleys, or saying hello to a group of folks gathered on a front porch or sidewalk. There is a feeling of solidarity and community that is rare to find in today's fast paced societal circuitry.
The response and the support from Pullman for the Hand-Held project was record-breaking. In one weekend, 60 hands were casted in plaster! Since Pullman "The City of Brick" has a rich history in the labor and building trades, it was important for me to add brick to the plaster. Casted together, these two materials tell the story of the sweat, grit, and serrated history of Pullman.
Once the hands were casted, they were installed in Hotel Florence. This hotel was the town's main hub for travelers and also was the location for George Pullman's office, where he kept a watchful eye over the factory across the street. Today, peeled paint and wallpaper converse with stacks of old architectural tin. The hands chatter on old dust floors, following the paths of those seeking possibility.