02/01/2011 by Sarah Ritchie
When I was a child, my mother would buy packs of Christmas cards from the Association of Mouth & Foot Painting Artists (AMFPA). Formed in 1956, the AMFPA is an organisation of artists who – due to a physical disability – paint using either their mouth or foot. There are over 700 AMFPA mouth or foot painting artists in 70 countries. In New Zealand there are over 20 AMFPA artists.
As a child I could not begin to appreciate the skill of the artist’s featured on those Christmas cards. Even as an adult it is so easy to take our ability to use our hands for granted. Can you imagine having no sense of touch? No ability to grasp or pick up an object? No ability to write, paint, create or express using your hands? For most of us (including myself) it is beyond comprehension.
One New Zealand artist whom I find totally inspirational is an AMFPA member, and mouth painter, Kerrin Tilley (to view some of Kerrin’s work, click here). Kerrin is a member of the Opotiki Art Society and travels nationally and internationally to demonstrate the techniques of mouth painting. It is absolutely amazing to see how Kerrin, and others, without the use of their hands are able to bless others with their wonderful artwork.
On Day Two of 2011 – in this week of sharing things we are grateful for – I cannot express just how grateful I am to be able to use my hands. With this physical gift comes an opportunity and even an obligation. An obligation to not take my hands for granted, and to use them wisely, fully and with purpose.
Have you thought of some things you are grateful for? Excellent start! Keep going!