Last year, the annual OurTown edition focused on footwear. So this year, it made sense to dwell on the things people make and do with their hands.
The result is 22 stories, including the introductory article on page 1A of today's newspaper, which describe the variety of hands-on activities handled by Seneca County residents. Inside, you'll read about artists and craftsmen (and craftswomen), plus learn about people who use their hands to talk, others who have a healing touch, and professionals who are handy at improving the appearance of people and their pets.
What we found was that, despite the increasingly automated world in which we live, the human touch is not obsolete. A hands-on approach still is required.
"You wouldn't be able to do this job without hands," said the owner of a hair academy. "Everything we do, obviously, pertains to hands. There's nothing we do that we don't use our hands for."
That's especially true for a manicurist. "All manicures have always had a hand and arm massage," said the owner of a salon. "That's what you learn in school, that's what you're taught and that's how it's done."
"This is something you have to have a steady hand and patience to do," said a worker in a custom auto painting shop.
"All of our landscaping's done by hand," said a head groundskeeper. "We use hand tools, chain saws, hedge trimmers, stuff like that."
"Accurate drawing is very important because that's the basis of the whole painting." said a watercolor artist. "I've never been one to take a blank piece of paper and start painting on it. ... maybe it's the draftsman in me."
And often, that human touch involves more than just hands. Consider this comment from a sign language interpreter:
"Communication makes you feel a part of something. It connects you with mankind, connects you with life in general."
Speaking of which, the magazine you hold in your hands was the handiwork of several teams of people at The Advertiser-Tribune, from taking notes and pictures to typing stories and toning photos, including designing and creating display advertisements, as well as printing, trimming, assembling and delivering the final product.
It's OK if you don't want to read the entire publication at once; just keep it close at hand.