5 Jan 2012

Hand Series RTE Documentary

I bought the Hands Series for John for his Christmas present, most people who don't know him raised an eyebrow when they heard this. People thought this was an exercise in self gifting in disguise, but I swear he really wanted it, probably because he is an historian, it's just an added bonus that I was dying to see it too!

The documentary is a detailed look at the traditions of Irish crafts, recording methods that are now being lost.Hands was made in the the 70s by David and Sally Shaw-Smith and was aired on RTE, if you are interested in watching it you can buy the 37 episode box set from the couples website. Although be warned it may seem a tad pricey with the hefty tag of €150 plus P&P, but trust me it's worth every penny.

Last night we sat down to watch the first three episode on patchwork, lace making, and embroidery. I thought I knew a fair bit about these disciplines but the level of skill involved literally blew my mind. A few minutes into watching it my jaw dropped and remained open for the remainder of the three shows. The lace episode is awe inspiring, the work is so meticulous and time consuming. We take lace for granted these days because it's made by machine, but to actually see these patterns penned out, prepped and sewn was pretty amazing.

I liked the pace of the documentary too, it is not like modern tv where there is lots of condescending repetition and flashy angles. It's also lovely to have a window into old Ireland too, it made me nostalgic for my childhood with my Mum making curtains/rugs/lampshades. I'm really looking forward to seeing the Silversmith episode as some of it was shot where my Dad worked as a jeweler for his whole life, he swears there is a shot of his hand in it!

I'm sure I'll do another blog post about this after I've watched, and re-watched, all 37 episodes, but I was just too excited not to tell you all about this set. John gave the gift a high compliment when he said it was a better present than the whole box set of The Wire(which I got for him on a previous xmas), from a guy that's saying a lot.

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  1. I got my dad the set for Christmas - kind of a selfish gift on my part, because I really wanted to see them again myself :)

  2. What a nice present! Watch it with him, I'm sure he'd love that


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