Various Jewelry Finishings (Good news, bad news)

First the good news. I’ve spent the last couple of days experimenting with new jewelry finishing techniques. In addition to the polishing and blackened patina that I normally use, I can now do ceramic enameling (which for a limited few items looks really amazing) and elctroplating in gold, silver, copper, and bronze. I can plate with other metals of course, that’s just what I have here. I’ve also been practicing doing stone setting, as you can see in the pictures below. The “Brainiac” skull rings have 8mm stone settings by default (in the photo are citrine, emerald, and black spinel if I remember right), and I’ve experimentally put little 3mm CZs into a pair of zombie rings and an ET ring to see how they look. I’m not sold on the zombies (which to be honest don’t really look that great in the gold and bright bronze plating anyway so I was willing to risk a sacrifice — they’re better in dull colours) having gem eyes, but I am totally sold on it for ET. Later in the month I might head downtown and pick up some different gems (when the store launches you can request a specific stone).

Anyway, I have everything ready to go for the store. I have a decent pile of finished stock that’s all packaged (I even got nice ring boxes) and measured. I’ve tried to do the rings in a broad section of sizes, although I am a little concerned because the handmade nature (and for many designs, broad band) makes it difficult to size perfectly. But I don’t have a problem taking returns or exchanges in a worst case scenario. That said, I am going away from Thursday until Monday, so I’ll spend Tuesday and Wednesday on final touches and then the store will launch and go live on next Thursday — September 29th, which also happens to be my birthday.

Now some bad news. I mentioned that I am starting to lose my hands. Not only are they weaker and weaker but they hurt all the time using them is more difficult all the time. Heavy use like carving is extremely painful and light use is unpleasant. If I overuse them, in addition to pain they get especially weak and I find myself dropping stuff the next day and unable to hold some things at all. So I was looking forward to coming away from today’s doctor’s appointment with something useful — preferably an improvement in pain management, which has been held up as we wait on test results from a sleep study that was done about two months ago (I’ll spare everyone the whining about how long it took).

The good part of the sleep study was that I have 97% sleep efficiency which I’m told is good. I guess that means that I sleep solidly and get good results from the time I spend sleeping with plenty of REM and all that. But I knew that. Other than being woken up in the morning when pain catches up to me I sleep quite well. The concerning part though was that in the duration of the night I had about a hundred and fifty periods of apnea — that is, periods where I stopped breathing. A small number of these were due to what I presume are normal physical blockages. I’ve always known that I snore a little and that doesn’t concern me (or the doctors as far as I know). The concerning part was that something like 125 of those times when I stopped breathing were due to central nervous system problems — my brain simply stopped telling my body to breathe, and isn’t telling it to start breathing for quite a long time. Long enough that my blood oxygen levels are going scary low, well into the region where brain damage and body damage is a risk. I am off to an expert shortly of course. Odds are strong this is medication related or at least being made worse by medication, but I’m not so sure.

The reason I’m not so sure is that the part of the apnea I am aware of predates this medication. It’s not as common but I’ve had a few cases of central apnea while awake as well, and have for many years, although I never really gave it much thought and just assumed it was normal and happened to everyone from time to time. It’s sort of scary and I =feel myself on the edge of a panic attack thinking about it (luckily I’m self aware enough to recognize the signs and thought it’s an unpleasant sensation it is not troubling). Anyway, the way it manifests is that I’ll be sitting watching TV or whatever, and I’ll notice that the room is getting darker and darker, as if someone is dimming the lights. My vision starts to constrict and it’s about then that I notice that I’m not breathing, probably haven’t been breathing for some time, and although I can feel myself fading out of consciousness I don’t feel any instinctual urge to breathe. Just an intellectual understanding that breathing is a necessity. So I take a deep breath, and I feel a kind of crispness and the room brightens, as if there is some direct connection between breathing in and some cosmic dimmer switch. It takes a minute or so for things to go back to normal. It’s an odd thing trying to guestimate how much you should be breathing. I mean, how many breaths do you need? How big should they be? It’s surprisingly difficult to put something that’s normally autonomic under completely conscious control. Someone needs to make a “breathing coach” cellphone app that tells people with the problem when to take a breath. I will try and keep my paranoia to a minimum but I have to admit a certain cloud hangs over me at night as I wonder whether I will wake up with obvious brain damage (some would say I already have, haha) or if I will even wake up at all. Could explain why I’ve had a few days of really horrible pounding headaches, which are not something I generally have. I suppose it could be worse — I do not envy the paranoia of sleeping next to me in the morning wondering whether I have slept in or if you’re in bed next to a corpse. Yipes! It would give me nightmares.

Well, enough of the depressing stuff. I have two more jewelry experiments to do tonight, then I think I shall wrangle myself some supper (Caitlin is visiting her mother for the night so no one has fed me — I am shamefully reliant on her, and both my heart and my belly miss her terribly), and then go read some comics. Since installing a comic reader on my tablet I’ve been devouring comics, for the first time in my life (before now I read the occasional indie comic by Jim Woodring or Chester Brown, but recently Walking Dead pulled me in deeper and the tablet put it over the top). I have one of the small screen Samsung Galaxy Tabs, and while it would be nice having the big screen like Caitlin’s iPad has and not having to scroll, on the whole I think I prefer the little one because I can just barely fit it in the side pocket of cargo pants/shorts, making it more portable than a full-size tablet can be. Maybe I’ll upgrade if they ever come out with a viable colour e-ink.

12 Comments

  1. Miss Liss wrote:

    I’m in love with the red enameling. In love! Can’t wait to see the store.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 7:06 am | Permalink
  2. Shannon wrote:

    How difficult and expensive was it for you to get permission to use the copyrighted designs that you copied exactly, as opposed to ones you altered; and does altering it make it “fair use” or something like that?

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 7:31 am | Permalink
  3. Jennifer wrote:

    My husband also has sleep apnea and uses a CPAP at night. I understand that your problem is in no way similar to his, but it made me wonder if the forced pressure into your airway might somehow trick your brain into remembering to breathe?

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink
  4. Shannon wrote:

    Miss Liss – The red enamelling (it actually says “violet” on the bottle but I agree it’s more of a candy apple red) is the best looking enamel that I have. My old Delorean was that exact color when I bought it, although I stripped it back down to stainless steel. I will definitely do more work with that.

    Jennifer – I *think* a CPAP is more for physical blockages (normal sleep apnea) because in my case putting positive pressure into my airway won’t make any difference because my lungs/brain are making not attempt to breathe. That said, I think there are some more aggressive ventilator type of devices (like what would be used for a brain-dead person to keep their organs alive maybe) that will be considered. I won’t know much until I have an appointment with an expert…

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  5. Shannon wrote:

    Shannon (Trolling?) – The copyright issue that I have might be with the ET design, because other than some resculpting of the head shape to make it better suited for a ring, my design contributions are limited. That said, I’m doing a limited run of only ten to twenty of them, so I’m hoping that it’s accepted as a small piece of fan art. It’s certainly not a trademark threat so I am keeping my fingers crossed that no offense is taken. If they send me a C&D I will comply. The robocop jewelry, which isn’t completed yet because I’m resculpting it with more detail, was originally cast from a Japanese fan model kit that as far as I know was created without permission. So on that level it’s a violation of a violation? But I’m also taking the long standing existence of these fan kits as a sign that the company does not take major offense at small fan projects.

    When bigger companies — ThinkGeek being an obvious example — come up with their own fan creations that they intend to sell thousands of, there is a viable negotiation process but I don’t know anything about it. They would be the ones to ask because I know they’ve done it a few times. It’s possible there’s an article/interview on it somewhere because I remember them mentioning it when they brought some of their April Fool’s products to reality (like the Star Wars sleeping bag).

    I’m not worried about the “Little Acky” design because that’s 100% my creation and just inspired by the Admiral Ackbar character but nothing more — I don’t think they can really harass me over a fictional child-version of an alien race that they’ve never pictured in that form as far as I know. As far as some of the modified versions of Littlest Pet Shop stuff, they’re completely resculpted so I don’t feel I need permission under fair use, and same goes for the Mechanical Man and so on, which in any case are more of the “violation of a violation” because I used a knock-off Ken Doll from Value-Village as reference art.

    The zombies and brainiac skull rings and all the rest of the work is 100% my art so no worries on any of that.

    So… that’s my lengthy thoughts on that…

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink
  6. Caitlin wrote:

    Hey Shannon,
    I’ve used this app for panic attacks and it’s got a function that helps you regulate your breathing- I don’t know whether it would assist you but might be worth a shot?
    http://www.panic-attack-aid.com/
    -Caitlin (not a troll!)

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  7. Allison wrote:

    I’ve had several “dimming” instances (usually when standing though I know my knees are not locked). I’ve never considered apnea, I’ll have to look into that.

    As always, the jewelry looks great!

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
  8. shannon the 3rd wrote:

    I bet 20$ that I know who the shannon troll is… seriously man quit it.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink
  9. Twwly wrote:

    Any chance one of these could hitch a ride with Caitlin tomorrow?

    Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
  10. Jennifer F wrote:

    Sorry if this has already been asked- I’m a follower from the old BME days, and only check in once in a while…
    I LOVE these, do/will you make things like this as necklace pendants, or just as rings?
    Can’t wait to see the store!

    Friday, September 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Permalink
  11. Shannon wrote:

    Caitlin, thanks, I will check that out. It might be helpful. I do find the experience a little scary, although by now I’m quite good at controlling my emotions and hard to rattle.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 7:34 am | Permalink
  12. Justin wrote:

    This reminded me of a post you made a while back about remembering your own birth.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-2899,00.html

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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