Drawing Machines: Paper Hand

The final form of this project is a hand that can maneuver similarly to an anatomical hand. The hand is made of paper that is rolled into cylinders to make parts of the fingers. The movement of the hand is constructed through the angled cuts on the cylindrical paper with strings that can be pulled to contract the fingers for movement.

Paper Hand was created due to my fascination with anatomical movement. I want to build off this project to create a sculpture that has movement that can produce images based on the user’s decisions. Paper Hand was also created due to a previous assignment with scans, where I focused on hands and this idea has stuck since then. The idea of how a hand can move is of great interest to me. For example, how does a hand’s fingers move when there is no proper joint or muscles to contract? In the case of my project, the hand can move through tension in a string, but then the next question is how the finger returns back to its original position. These are some of the questions that have motivated me to work on this project to have a better understanding of our hand movement.

The initial prototype for this project was using mechanical pencils to form fingers. I took apart mechanical pencils to form the three-finger sections that bend using springs from the mechanical pencils. I created one finger to observe what finger movement would look like with plastic and metal. The next prototype was made from cardboard, straws, tape, and string. This prototype was a full hand that had restrictions with integrity based on the materials used. The hand provided me with a good draft to form my final project for the Paper Hand. The final form was made of paper, tape, hot glue, and string. Using paper allowed me to customize the hand more by customizing the size, length, and range of motion. I learned that I could also attach different materials at the end of the fingers to create different images.

This project was a learning experience for me to understand hand movement better and get started with my construction of anatomical structures. I have a strong background in the sciences, so this project has allowed me to gain an understanding of anatomical structures as a form of machine and how these structures can be used to create art.

Author: Jane Joncha