Art and Arthritis

A few years ago I had to give up making jewelry.  I had developed arthritis in my right wrist, or at least that’s what my doctor thinks.  She’s 90% convinced I have no cartilage in my wrist, which would really be a surprise considering I made jewelry for 22 years.

At first I thought it was carpal tunnel syndrome because some of my fingers would go numb, I had the pins and needles sensation half the time, and a few other things.  I got tested and turns out “everything is normal”.  Saw a different doctor, and they told me it was tendonitis.  Just take a break for a few weeks, wear this brace, and everything will be fine.  No, what happened was nothing.  No improvement at all, and all I got for my trouble was a very stiff wrist and swelling.

When we moved from Iowa to Oregon I sought out a new doctor.  She didn’t run any tests, but just had my rotate my hand while she listened to my joint.  Grinding noises are what happened there.  I had been dealing with a grinding feeling in my wrist for a couple years at this point, as well as frequent stiffness, and of course swelling.  No x-rays, no MRI scan, nothing but listening and poking at my wrist.  A few questions later she came to the conclusion that it’s very likely I have no cartilage in my wrist and have arthritis.

I was just a breath short of devastated.  There’s no cure for this, only treatment.  Pain medication messes with my stomach like no other.  Most pain medications aren’t an option due to them having a lovely effect on my seizures.  Aspirin makes me bruise like a peach, and said bruises stick around for weeks.  I stop taking the medicine and the bruises vanish with a few days.  I use ice packs frequently, but they also make my wrist really stiff.  It’s worse in the morning or if I haven’t really done much with it all day (typing requires little rotation).

It’s one of the reasons I’ve turned to my other skills.

I’m an excellent watercolor artist, but far from being the best.  My work is more abstract, making the world look like a painting instead of realistic.  I mix colored pencils in with it to give it texture and finer details.  I once-upon-a-time did a lot of drawing, but the pain is too draw anymore.  Plus the tremors caused by 20 years of epilepsy and damage from seizures makes it extremely frustrating.  I do enjoy coloring line art, but again tremors and pain limit how much I can do.

Now I’ve turned to the family tradition of quilting.  If memory serves my mother started the trend in our family, taught my grandmother, at least one of my aunts, plus myself and my sisters.  I’ve been using mostly books and Youtube videos, but I’m a quick learner.  My mother helps me via Skype and on the phone.  Why didn’t learn from her before moving away?  When I was a teenager I thought sewing was lame and refused to learn.  It wasn’t “cool”, which in hindsight was really foolish and ridiculous.

Not only do I quilt, but I make rag dolls as well.  I need to relearn how to do that, plus making doll cloths will be a challenge.

My ultimate goal is to create the look of paintings with my sewing and quilting.  After I get quilting and sewing down I’ll be working on applique.  When I improve with that I’ll apply my other skills and talents, as well as beads leftover from my jewelry days, to create wall hangings.  I want to create fanart depicting characters and scenes from various video games.  Possibly sell these at comic cons.  They’re likely to be a huge hit there.  Why?  Because I’ve never seen, nor heard of, fanart done with quilting or applique.  It’ll be a more unique and very different take on visuals.

I still have a LOT of jewelry inventory on my Etsy page.  I’d set up a coupon code to make it sell faster, or at all, but that had no effect last year.  I had set up a code and put it at the top of my page where everyone could see it, but only a couple items sold.  Seeing as I really and truly need the money I would appreciate seeing all these sell right now.  I’m talking ASAP because we have $10 to live off for the next two weeks, and automatic payments will be coming out soon, of which I can do nothing about.  Plus we need to do laundry, and the laundromat is our only option.

I’m permanently disabled, my husband is working two jobs, and my Etsy shop is the only source of income I bring in besides my very small disability assistance check ($704/month).  When I get more sewing and quilting projects finished they will be posted as available for purchase.  I haven’t gotten to that point yet because I don’t have the money to get some of the items I need to finish them (I need batting, backing, and for hand quilting I need a quilting frame).  I have enough for very small things (like pillows, place mats, coasters, etc), which shouldn’t be a problem.

Any and all help will very much appreciated.  I’d get a Patreon page set up, but I have the reasons why I can’t do that listed here on a tumblr post I made.  I’m tempted to set up a GoFundMe page, but I doubt it will work.

I’ll be working on sewing and possibly adding the items to my page, but it’s doubtful I’ll be able to finish anything before those automatic payments go through.

Into the Metal Forest modern macrame steampunk choker


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