I Should’a Been a Hand Model

Potter throwing at the pottery wheel

Recently, the talented Peter Reid (his photography is like lightening in a bottle) came over for a photo shoot for my pottery.  The guy loves taking pictures and wanted to get a picture of me throwing on the wheel.

Here is the result:

Potter throwing on pottery wheel
The Alchemist at Work


Awesome capture right?

I thought the picture was pretty amazing, but since then my email queue has filled up with a common burning inquiry:

“Are those your hands?”

No hand model doubles were used in this picture.  Honest.

But I do have a confession to make.  When I was growing up there were not many role models for me to look up to.  But perhaps I overlooked one.

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Have you ever gone to a manicurist who had you soak in dish soap?

How could I have overlooked Madge!

Now many of you are wondering, who is this magical Madge?  What power allowed her to be beamed into so many homes via T.V. land?

I will give you one hint.  She’s soaking in it!  And she is arguably the most famous hand model of my generation.

Guilty! Working with clay really does dry out your hands.

Generation Madge.

This women was a hand model icon.  Why didn’t my guidance counselor recommend this career?

Since the 80’s are back in fashion, maybe Dove, Palmolive or Sunlight want to revive this sort of advertising?  Maybe in the update they might want to use a certain potter.  (hint hint) I also know a great photographer for the print campaign.  Move over Madge the manicurist.  Potter dude in the house!

If I don’t reply to your comments in a timely manner, I might be soaking in it.  Preferably somewhere sunny and warm.  Using my hands to hold a drink with an umbrella on a beach.

If anyone makes moisturizing hand cream out there, I would be happy to give it a try.  Just imagine the tagline:

“Strong enough for a potter, but made for a person”.  Oops wrong commercial (sans the sexism), unless you want to moisturize your armpits.  I am not judging.

Do you think I earned my Madge Badge?  What are soaking in?  Other than sarcasm?  I have that covered.  Any tips for a good moisturizer?  Let me know in the comments below.

Lots of Love,

The Handsy Alchemist



  1. Awesome photograph!

    I remember Madge. I’m extremely sensitive to sodium lauryl sulfate (the stuff that makes soap sudsy) and must use rubber gloves when washing dishes so Madge didn’t help my hands.
    I took a few pottery classes several years ago and my hands took a beating with one class a week! I can’t imagine how m dry and cracked my hands would be if I was in clay more often than that. Two moisturizers that I used during those times were “Hardworker’s Hand Cream” and “Udderly Smooth hand cream”.

    1. I remember Madge too, and soft hands did not seem like much of a benefit to a child doing dishes. Surprising eh?

      Clay can be rough on the hands, particularly if you are doing a whole day throwing or building. I have tried the udderly smooth cream, but am thinking of making a moisturizer soap for the studio. Thanks for your comment and I hope 2019 is off to great start for you.

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