The devil makes work for idle hands

Hands can express the hidden feelings of a person. They tap and pick away at things, scratch, stroke and grasp. We use our hands as tools, to show emotion, to greet and caress. However, when are ones’ hands idle in our current daily life? When the body is idle what do our hands naturally desire to do? We have moved our busy hands from knitting and fixing in free time to swiping and tapping on smartphones. Hands repeat routines everyday. They have learnt and fall back on natural movements, whether scrolling on a phone, picking at nails or the tapping of fingers; everyone has their own repetitive hand habit. 


In The devil makes work for idle hands the artist is the performer and model of the idle moment, filling the duration of time of the show with a process concentrated on the single use of the hand - a tool fully integrated within the body. The artist sat with herself each day in the gallery to mark the time she was idle, recording this duration within the pattern of the knitted piece - days marked in colours and each hour marked with a strip of red. 

As Darren Leader brings up in his book ‘Hands. What we do with them - and why’ [UK: Penguin Random House, 2016]:

The old warnings that the devil will seize on idle hands in fact suggests that this devil is quite personal, and will turn our hands back to our own bodies if unchecked.

Work then becomes what stops the hands from returning to stimulate the body surface.