Big Day Part 2: The Revenge

Jeff Powell
6 min readApr 30, 2021


Hey there!

As you might guess from the title — at least if you read the previous post — something happened last week that wasn’t entirely pleasant. It turns out the Covid vaccine was a bear, and my reaction to it was strong. Nothing life threatening, or even particularly odd, but strong nonetheless.

I had many of the classic symptoms of a vaccine reaction: fever, chills, headache, lack of energy. The chills, in particular, were amazing and lasted for many hours. I cannot recall having chills like that. Ever.

In fact I have never reacted to a vaccine before. Flu shots, all the childhood vaccines & associated boosters… nothing. This time it was different.

I was basically out of it for two full days, and had to take Tylenol to reduce the fever and chills. That fever was still present, though dropping, for four days, I think. And even yesterday — six full days after the shot — I was still a bit low on energy in the late afternoon. Though, to be fair, I had gone to campus, picked up my employee badge, and moved the rest of the cherry wood into a very high storage location with the shop coordinator. It was a fair bit of work, but I don’t think I should have been that tired when I got home.

The good news is that I am definitely recovering, and I am 100% certain my body is building defences against Covid. Most sources I’ve seen recommend two full weeks after a shot before assuming you’ve hit good protection. I’ve seen a lot of graphs, though (mostly thanks to my friend Ducky) and I think giving it three full weeks is better. That means I will spend two more full weeks minimizing my contacts and the like extensively. Only after that will I be be a bit more comfortable out in public. Naturally the rules are still in place and must be followed, and I may wear a mask on the bus and in a number of other places for years. But in two more weeks I should be in a better space. The new case curve here in BC seems to be dropping again, though it is always hard to tell what is an actual drop and what is just noise in the data until well after the fact. But it has been dropping for a couple of weeks now, which is a good sign. Last week it looked like it was dropping, but I wasn’t ready to admit that without more data in the trend.

As it happens, Anne got her shot on Thursday morning. She has also reacted, though not as strongly as I did. Mild fever and fuzziness, it is fair to say, but it has not completely wiped her out. I’m happy she hasn’t been hit too hard, and very happy she has also joined the ranks of the vaccinated.

One step at a time. We will get through this.

As a result of having been wiped out, there is less to share this week, but as always I will do my best.

First, one thing that happened on Sunday was we went to a studio sale where my college friend Jessica was selling some of her latest ceramic creations. There was a huge lineup in the rain to get close, but it was wonderful regardless. And we came home with two new pots:

The one on the left is made from a slab. Jess said she might never do that again, and it was the only one like it she had. Slabs that large are tricky to work and it takes practice. The one on the right is wheel thrown, and the fact that Jess is a chef shows in how even and regular all those raised bumps are. She must have piped those on like she was frosting a cake. I love that pot!

I’m always happy to collect work made by friends, and these help feed Anne’s plant habit too, so it’s a double win.

I’ve mentioned some interesting sculpture materials I want to play with in recent posts. Well, here’s a test at two versions of the idea:

What are those?

I’d actually like to make you wait another week and see what you guess the answer is, but that’s not going to happen this time. So here’s another photo of more experiments in progress:

That’s right. Glue. Well, mostly glue. The first photo is two kinds of glue — wood glue and white glue — spread out and dried on wax paper. That soaked through and raised the grain of the new table top before it was sealed — I mentioned that before as well. Two things happened in response to that event. First, the table was sealed with many coats of polyurethane. Second, I bought a silicone mat to work on.

The second photo shows another test in process. On the very right is some really cheap white glue spread out and drying. In the middle lower down is a puddle of that same glue thinned out with water. Above that in the middle you see Elmer’s Glue-All thinned (on the left) and full strength (on the right). And finally on the very far left you see medium for acrylic paint spread out and drying, just above a red silicone brush. That last item — acrylic paint medium — is the dark horse in this test.

There’s another round of tests drying in the studio now. Partly I am testing the other side of the silicone mat. The side seen above is flat & shiny. The other side is slightly textured, and I want to see what difference it makes to put these materials on that. I am also testing the medium to see how well it adheres to itself.

More tests are planned. The wood glue is nice and strong, but that yellow cast means colouring it would be difficult. Acrylic medium is an interesting option. If it is resilient enough to use it comes with the automatic benefit of knowing it can be coloured with acrylic paint, and it comes in a variety of consistencies, so there are options to work with that will also need discovery. White glue can probably also be coloured, but that will require additional testing as well. It’s an interesting choice to consider, as it only comes in one consistency, but it might also be a lot cheaper then medium in bulk.

So much to learn and fiddle with, but this is why I have a studio. I have no firm ideas for where to take this yet, but there are a lot of possibilities and thoughts that will lead me in interesting directions in the coming months.

And no, the table itself isn’t done yet. I still need to raise it up one way or another, but that is still a couple of weeks off if I need supplies from the hardware store.

Finally, I leave you with a photo of the pond in our back yard. The ferns are growing like mad, and it’s really quite lovely:

All the little ferns in the centre near the top are volunteers. The big one on the left has probably been there for years, and the little one in the lower right was there when we moved in and has roots that go all the way down into the pond. It died back over the winter but returned this spring, which made us happy. This little oasis in the backyard turns out to be a boon.

Wishing you peace, calm, and vaccine!



Jeff Powell

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.