It’s that time again, it’s my ampuversary. My 10th ampuversary. Which is a big deal, because I had hoped that by my 10th year I’d have a new arm just like Luke Skywalker. I’ll just have to settle for dabbling with 3D Printing for now.
Some of you know that I usually make amputee gingerbread men and, in exchange, ask people to drop a couple of coins in a box for a worthy charity.
This year, as it’s hard to post baked goods, I went with a different approach. I wanted to do something tangible. My first plan was to get some cute gingerbread stress toys – until I realised that postage would be 3 times the price of the actual toy. Great!
So I was sitting here scratching my head and I realised that I had a bunch of shrinky paper, jump rings and cord that I could something with; and I came up with these designs that you can buy.
$8.00 from every sale will go to Limbs4Life who have been very supportive of me an many other limbless people here in Australia.
Some of my limb different friends wanted in on the cuteness, I need to give thanks to the following for their awesome drawings:
I am find myself constantly in wonder of the different people contacting me about the 1-UP hair tie.
When I first started selling these, I was only thinking of amputees like myself. I was so unaware of any other condition outside my lil sphere of life.
Over the years I’ve heard from many people with differing conditions and abilities. They’ve shared their many successes and a few, their disappointment. I actually want to address the disappointment in this post – in case you are considering buying a 1-UP hair tie. I want for everyone to have that handful of independence.
With the 1-UP there are a few things you need to be able to do, no matter your abilities and differences:
Can you put a headband in your hair? (Part of setting up the 1-UP to make a pony tail)
Do you have strength needed to pull the elastic tight?(Need to be able to pull tight to get the best hold on your hair)
Can you reach the top or back of your head? (Need to be able to reach a little to guide your hair to the desired pony tail position – and to wrap or pin up the loose ends of the elastic)
Unfortunately that may exclude some from getting the 1-UP to work for them. I am happy to have a chat to see if a new design could be created – I’m all for being inclusive and creative!
I’m hoping however that you’re up for the challenge of making a pony tail your way with the 1-UP.
So a few months ago I said I was feeling inspired to learn to play the guitar. I actually went and bought myself a lefty acoustic guitar and started playing around with the beginner’s lesson book.
Trying to make it work with the split hook
It got frustrating quite quickly. The split hook isn’t all that useful for strumming – it was even making dents in the guitar body. I kept at it for a little while, but thought that it could be better, somehow.
After seeing the videos of other limbless players, I had a hack at making other attachments. Let’s just said they all failed miserably.
I really wanted to play the guitar. My company has a band and there’s an event coming up that I wanted to at least play one song in. I contacted the local prosthetics company and , once we got to meet, the design came together for a prosthetic that allows me to strum and pick easily and with strength. It also allows for a bit of rotation, which I wasn’t getting with the split hook.
Now I’m practicing my beginner lessons all over again. I still think I suck and am amazed at how easy all the guitarists make it look to play. Practice makes perfect I guess!? Strumming is the easy bit, learning finger placement and chords is the hard part (the c chord still eludes me!). I have to keeping working at it, but also be careful not to do so much that I injure my good hand and wrist.
The ‘guitar arm’ and the wrist cramping c chord!
The countdown is on now – can I learn at least one song in time to play with the company band in June?
Thanks to Barry Leech and his team at Barry Leech Prosthetics for my ‘guitar arm’. I’ve promised to play them a real tune next time we meet – I’m hoping the next appointment is a little while away!
The award winning Super Prosthetics Project is about exploring armwear as an object of empowerment, choice and identity. The purpose is to conduct a series of creative experiments to challenge current ideas of prosthetics and explore what a wearer might choose to create in that space if he/she could have any functionality or aesthetic. It is hoped that the project will culminate in a series of exciting objects that will allow a wearer to do or experience something extra-ordinary.
The project is being conducted at the Royal College of Art in London by Becky Pilditch and with the help of Holly Franklin. It has developed in conversation with individuals who wear and make prosthetics limbs and the blog has been created to make the process visible for those who wish to share ideas and continue dialogue on the subject.
Check out the blog and feel free to comment on the material. Becky and I would love to hear your thoughts.