I recently posted about workspace, with some tips and tricks for making your beaded flower workspace easier and more efficient to work in. Now I’d like to talk about setting up a workspace that will help us work more safely. These are things I’ve read about for many years, but it wasn’t until the past year or so that I began to take it all seriously, realizing how important some of these things may be in our crafting experience. Well, actually, it was because I started to hurt! I should have been more aware, and began to suffer chronic back and neck pain.
There are ways to avoid or lessen these problems, though, that are pretty easy to do. First, good posture is essential, so be sure to sit straight without hunching over, and sit fully on your chair. Sit with your feet flat on the floor, and keep your arms and wrists relaxed in a neutral position. A great aid to good posture is using an appropriate chair. I found an office chair a few years ago that adjusts up and down and is very comfortable for me.
I’ve also found it helpful to take frequent breaks, every 30 minutes or so, to walk and stretch. I often find my muscles getting tense, and doing a few stretches usually alleviates this tension.
Creating French beaded flowers and Ganutell does not require a lot of tools, but those you do need are available in different versions. Look for a size and shape that fits your hand and is comfortable to work with. Try the new ergonomic versions … they’re really helpful in reducing the stress of working with your hands.
Good lighting is critical to avoiding eye strain, and I often use a magnifier as well. There are some excellent lamps available …. The photo at the right is an Ott light that I love to use. It has a Truecolor bulb so I see the exact colors I’m using, and I can direct the light onto my work. Click on the photo to view detailed information on this lamp.
Lastly, have your workstation set and ready for use. While this may not be an aid to health and safety, it surely keeps the frustration level down when I don’t have to interrupt my work to go find another tool or supplies.
Beaders in general, not just those of us working with French beaded flowers and Ganutell, are prone to repetitive strain injuries as well as other back, neck and vision problems, so it’s important that we’re conscious of the causes. Take a good look at your workspace and see of there’s something there that needs attention. Then sit down and bead something pretty!