Getting Started - Health and Posture at the Jewelry Table

How many hours...? And then what happens?

I decided to write this short article on some simple reminders about body and posture while at the jewelry table. We all know that eventually, the joy and passion of jewelry creation will work it's way from the beading table over to the computer desk. We love to share, blog, learn more and then sell our work which means you can bet on it, that you will be here too.

I bring this topic up because I found I had some aches and pains after long projects.
Time to change some things up and not let that get out of control.

Some tips:

1. When working with wire wrapping, you will find that your hands and wrists fatigue. It's logical if you think about the motion of hands and wrists while using pliers, holding wire firm, pulling wire, etc. If your arms are not conditioned, you may ache in the forearms, back and shoulders as though you've played tennis the day before.
  • Make sure to plan your projects in such a way that you have time in between to rest and stretch your hands, legs, back, arms...
  • Use helpful techniques to assist you in keeping wire together to relieve some hand tension. Use tape, banding wires, twist ties, clamps, etc. where you can and where appropriate for your project.
  • If IT HURTS or is an unnatural body motion when you are wrapping your wire, chances are you are making it harder on yourself then it should be. Don't take unnatural bends or motions into your posture. Set your piece down. Pick it up in such a way that you can make the bends and wraps without contorting yourself. I mention this because in the beginning, I found I didn't want to 'let the wire go' for fear I would lose control over it. Learn to put it down if you feel aching in your movements or if your movements are unnatural.
2. After sitting at the jewelry table for hours and most of the time, with a slight bend forward... you might find that your lower back, shoulders and neck begin to ache.
  • Stop and stretch. Most if the time, just being aware to do that will keep you well and muscle knot free.
  • Make sure you are sitting in a proper chair that gives you back and even arm rest support and that is appropriate height for your table or desk. Use what is comfortable for you, but don't sit for hours making jewelry on things such as a tall stool. This might bring you higher above the table than you should be and cause you to bend forward farther than is good for your back.
  • Replacing your chair with a body ball appropriate to your weight and height might be a way to strengthen back and lower back muscles and posture. Certainly check with your doc or health person to ensure it's right for you, but it's something I did long ago. Body balls are about $40.00 at the local sports shop.
3. Keep water near you. Sometimes, four or five hours will pass and I won't notice. If you keep a nice neon color water bottle there next to you, at least you'll remember to keep hydrated.

4. Give your eyes a break and treat them well... work in proper light, work at appropriate distances to your projects, use magnifier, jewelry lamps for really small wire. Or just in general. There are some 'head lamps' that might be useful to you.

5. VENTILATE yourself properly if you are working with products such as Liver of Sulpher, adhesives, stains, etc...

Be well in your Art and enjoy!


ChezChani said...

Great tips. I'm guilty of bad posture and even more, bad lighting! I even have a very nice good neck Ott lamp that can be pointed right at the TV table I tend to bead on but do I do it? Hardly ever. I have horrible eyes and you'd think I'd take better care of them but nooooooo.

Jamie said...

These are very useful tips! I know I do all the bad things when it comes to posture. I hunch. Hmm...should work on that!

Creations by JAE

Anonymous said...

This post comes at a particularly good time for me.
i'm already disabled officially, and wanted to make jewelry for something to makeme feel useful and creative. I find myself hurting because of gripping the wire like my life depends on it and for fear the beads will fly away (It has haappened several times!) and stooping over the table ruins me! Thanks for reminding me to take care of myself first so I can go on and create!
I love your site! Thanks for the inspiration!