Monday, 11 January 2010

Heads I lose

I've had a headache for ages and ages. It started a couple of days after boxing day. It was a slight inconvenience at first, didn't hurt that much but got worse as the day went on; enough to make me grumpy in the evenings.

I've suffered headaches ever since puberty. They usually last 2 days (3 tops) and are on one side of my head - I get them 4/5 times a year. Sometimes they have kept me off work in the days when I had a proper job and sometimes even now I'm a super-motivated-self-employed-if-I-don't-work-I-don't-get-paid kind of gal, they occasionally stop me in my tracks and I have to have a lie down when it gets too bad.

However, this new headache was in the back of my skull, low down and if I leant down or moved my head too quickly, there was a kind of horrible pounding for 5-8 beats; feeling like my veins aren't wide enough to take the blood flow. It wasn't nearly bad enough to stop me doing anything and a couple of disprin would get rid of it altogether for several hours but it always came back.

After nearly a fortnight, I resignedly made an appointment with my doctor last Friday. She diagnosed a muscle spasm in my neck going down my back and gave me some neck stretching exercises to "unspasm" it. She says it's common amongst people like me who hunch over their work, when I expressed how it was odd I'd never got this before as I've been working like that for ages, she said the additional factor - which won't have helped - is the exceptionally cold weather, I guess this makes sense. She also told me ibuprofen was a better painkiller than Disprin so I got some whilst I was in the village and DH drove me home. She said to carry on working if I felt like it, to stop regularly to do the exercises and take ibuprofen for a week and come back if there's no improvement.

What I experienced this weekend was a massive under-improvement. This new headache invited my old style headaches to come along for a party (I guess at least three turned up) and together they wreaked absolute havoc for two days straight. I couldn't get out of bed on Saturday at all. I'm feeling a bit more myself now but have gone back to Disprin as a painkiller as ibuprofen takes an hour to kick in, lasts only two hours and then wears off.

The trouble with taking painkillers for any length of time is that though I feel more comfortable whilst under their influence, I don't feel like "me" any more. It's like this zombified version of Sue Doran is inhabiting my body and just goes through the motions without any of my usual zest. I feel like I'm walking around in a fog and my creativity is dulled and uninspired.

In the few days when the new headache wasn't too bad, I felt able to work but the nagging at the base of my head still got in the way of doing anything new and exciting. So I used the "not too bad" time to tidy up my torch station, all the odd half rods were sorted out into opaques, light transparents and dark transparents and then sorted into individual colours. Then I had a massive torching session melting all the half rods together as it was something I could do that required no creative input. When they were cool, I sorted them into my glass stash and I suddenly have a lot more glass! I found 20 half rods of lavender blue alone; I thought I was getting close to needing a new order of glass colours that I use a lot of but I think I can go for several more weeks before that's necessary so have saved myself a bit of cash there!

I made some more beads for my bag because I can make those fairly mindlessly and so that project is coming along nicely.

On one of the days, Shaz and I had an enamelling day, she doesn't have a kiln so we shared mine. She was supposed to go on a course yesterday but it got cancelled due to the weather (aren't you just so fed up with the snow now?!)

Here are the pieces I made with some of the blues and greens, I need to practice enamelling a lot more as there are problems with all of these - particularly evenness of coverage - but my favourite so far (but still not of saleable quality) is the little oval with the cloisonne heart. This uses a transparent enamel which allows the textured scratches I put on the background to show through.Enamelled PMCThese are the most successful beads I've made since Christmas. They're quite simple, a transparent glass with only a hint of colour in the rod rolled in a frit blend and then a hint of extra iris gold frit melted in and then reduced. The photograph doesn't do them justice; the pic is a bit dark and the reduction irridescence doesn't show much at all but hopefully you get the idea. I can't get outside to photograph them as it's been snowing since breakfast time here so this is a window sill job. The beads remind me of a pair of shoes I had when I was around 8. They were super shiny patent leather with like a snakeskin pattern on them but I - for some reason - always referred to them as my crocodile shoes.Enamelled PMCThese are some winter-inspired beads; we've been in the grip of this hard winter for so long, it's difficult to remember how hot I got in the studio during Wimbledon fortnight last year! Anyway, these are icy blue transparent glass, ringed with raised stringers of double helix glass which have been reduced to a blue mirror finish. These beads demonstrate the difficulty of making hand shaped cylinders all the same size!Enamelled PMC


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