Monday, November 22, 2010

Stacy and his 40% discount at the manicurist...

 Here is the story behind the hands of Stacy and how they came to be Grah-Toe Studio.
In 1996 Stacy was working at a cabinet shop, and being part of the tough guys in the group went along with the lax safety equipment that was there. Things like that can make the work easier, but when they need to be there, there is nothing that makes up for that time you saved without them.....He was alone making raised panel doors on a shaper, and no hold downs went along with a dull shaper bit as well. Pushing down and forwrad hard against the dull blade, Stacy's left hand slipped into the bit and became as shavings on the floor with the wood...he grabbed his hand to his chest immediately knowing it was not good, and went next door to get help. The people next door thought he had been shot, as the blood on his shirt and where he was holding his chest was profuse. They came and took him to the hospital and he called me at work. I went to the hospital to meet him and take care of all the stuff that gets unfinished when accidents happen. I arranged to go make sure his vehicle was safe, and that he could get his medications and get home and not be alone after wards. I don't know if you realize this, but there are actually surgeons who just do hands, and there aren't many of them. We waited a lifetime in the ER, as all 3 of the hand surgeons were unavailbale and the next one who could would be over. THe fingers were gone on the left hand, in an arc the shape of the blade but ragged. They needed several surgeries to make the skin, bone, nail beds that were partial all liveable.

Many of our Church friends came over and gave us support, hugs, and offered to do anything we needed, they were fabulous. After all the surgeries and the healings, Stacy actually went back to work very quickly, and  needed to be doing something. He worked there 2 more years and then he went to school for retraining into another field, dental lab tech. Now, Stacy was always really good with his hands artistically, and this made him more determined to be able to do even more than he did "with all those fingers in the way".

We had some friends who challenged him to carve one of his wooden chains in a toothpick...that he did, and has done several times now. WE featured a picture of the one we have here on our blog in the past year. Then he started to make tools to help him hold things better to work on them smaller and smaller, and the lab training was going well. AS an aside, after his first few weeks at dental lab school he suffered a heart attack and had bypass sugery..and began school all over that fall...ALl this time, we both wanted to do our art full time, but there was just no way to quit our jobs and do that so we continued on , i was a dental assistant and he was in school and we both loved what we did, and joked that we worked to pay for our habit, which was buying wood and stone and clay to make things!

And so as to keep you interested a few of the standard jokes about his hands involve his discount with the manicurists, his changing jobs and going into worldwide communications..shortwave...that his sign language has suffered terribly as he now mumbles when he signs, and  that God is good all the time, even when you get 40% off at the manicurists...
We have lots to tell in between here and there and how we became full time Grah-Toe Studios and we look forward to sharing the full story with you.....we would love to hear from you and know what you would like to know next?!? or if you have any questions for Stacy, he would love to answer them for you!
We appreciate everyone of you, and this is being told only to share a bit of ourselves with our wonderful customers, not to elicit any type of sympathy as we know that God has a plan in everything, and Stacy has excelled even without a few of his fingers! We hope you  will leave us comments and questions. We look forward to sharing more of our story as it comes!


  1. What a story! Stacy is awesome! He can create more beautiful works of art with 40% less hand than people with all their fingers. What a testimony to his gift!

    Was it hard for Stacy to learn to do things once he had lost his fingers? I know I have a hard time zipping my pants with both hands.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your story. It makes your hair forks that more beautiful. My father spins bowls after he glues 100s of little pieces of wood together like a puzzle. His work is amazing, but he has all his fingers, so I can only imagine how hard it must be for Stacy. Good for him that he has been able to continue his love for the craft despite difficulty. Keep up the good work, everything you make is gorgeous!!

  3. He did have trouble learning to tie shoes again, but slip on shoes are so much more comfy anyway ;D
    He doesn't feel these things are hard for him, a challenge is fun and we love to create SO much, that it really isn't an issue wethere he can or can't, HE CAN!

  4. I enjoy interesting behind the scenes stories. I am well aware of the shortage of hand surgeons. For some time a member of my extended family lived with a world renowned hand surgeon. As a teenager I was fascinated, as an adult I was in awe. The practice that he and another doctor started is now doing successful hand transplants. I shall forever be fascinated with the advances in medicine just since I've been alive. My favorite joke about Stacy is the sign language and mumbling. That's one I will share with my husband. He will certainly appreciate the irreverant humor.
    I saw a Chinese boy who could play the piano beautifully with only his toes. He had no arms. I wonder if you can do sign language with your toes. There's really not much interesting to share about me but you have inspired me to create some fantastic, imaginary life path that lead me to be known as the "The Clay Lady" and my husband to be known as "Mr. Lisa".

  5. Thanks so much for your comment Clay lady! Stacy loves to make jokes about his hand and those were only a couple...theres the shark/gator/bear hunting story, the kids love the nose picking visuals, the sign language one is fun, in person he actually mumbles a bit when giving the punch line...if one doesn't laugh, the alternative is to fall in a puddle of mush and die and who wants that?!?! I love that he made it his goal to over achieve since then and am proud to tell his story, our story. Thanks so much!
    OH< hand surgeries have come miles since then, but his fingers were not re attatchable...

  6. I just gotta add, Kimi, the photos of hands are beautifully done.

  7. Truly amazing! So uplifting and inspiring...Thank you both for sharing your story and your art. God is awesome!

  8. Would love to see a link to that toothpick chain photo!