Carol's hands


Carols Hands, photograph of Carol's hands holding a candle at night

Carol's Hands, Susan Kullmann and Marvelle Thompson (2005)
Digital capture, Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 L, tripod.

Life   light   heat
A flame at its best
Warm crystal reflecting

Contained      safe
Flickering hope
Breathing small prayers

A welcome
An invitation
A gift


working notes

"Carol's Hands" is one of more than a hundred photographs in Blessed Are These Hands: A Exploration of American Women's Values (in progress). The photographic essay features images of women's hands holding something they consider sacred, holy, an outward representation of their deepest self. Statements by the subjects about what they hold accompany each photograph.

The collection reveals both overt and subtle objects that American women hold sacred at the dawn of the 21st century. Religious symbols–rosary beads, a Hindu kalash, a Jewish star, and an Egyptian Ankh–have their place in women’s hearts and hands, of course. Yet women make commonplace objects sacred too: a feather, a guitar, car keys, seed packets, books, and breasts. Carol wanted to hold fire.

To view 98 other photographs from the collection and learn more, please visit

about the artists

Marvelle Thompson artwork is influenced by the beauty and magic in the cycles of nature and the feminine face of the Divine. Creating art brings balance to her life. She has taught art to adults and children, and is a strong supporter of the visual and performing arts in the classroom. Blessed Are These Hands is a vow to creatively capture the feminine face of the Holy and, in some small way, repay the debt she owes to ALL women whose hands have embraced life and the constant battle for justice.

Susan Kullmann is a Research Scholar at UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women, an instructional technology consultant at Scripps College, and managing director of a web development company. She taught history and women’s studies at Cal Poly Pomona and CSU, Long Beach, and has written about Victoria Woodhull. Blessed Are These Hands combines her appreciation of capturing an instant in a photograph, her computer expertise, and a long-term professional and personal interest in the history and contemporary meaning of women’s lives.


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issue 5 • February 2007

Carol's Hands

The Resurrection Issue

Harriet Ellenberger
Lise Weil

Dolores Klaich
Waiting for Sappho

Barbara Mor
A Song of Captain Joan

Marge Piercy
Blue Mojo

Renate Stendhal
Why Do Something If It Can Be Done

Julia Balén
In Memoriam: Monique Wittig

Sue Swartz
The Loudest Self

Carolyn Gage
Clear and Fierce

Adela C. Licona
(B)Orderlands’ Lullaby

Illit Rosenblum

Barbara Mor
akaDARKNESS: on Kathy Acker

Lise Weil
Remembering Barbara Macdonald

Karin Spitfire
The Making of Power

Illit Rosenblum
Octavia Butler: A note on Xenogenesis as a love story    

Suzanne Montez Adams
The Essential Angel: Tillie Olsen

Susan Kullmann
Marvelle Thompson
Carol's Hands

Notes on Contributors


Carol's Hands
by Kullmann & Thompson