Friday, June 1, 2007

Personally, I love the enthusiasm everyone is showing for the BJP and their anxious need to get going. One of the things that no one has mentioned is a word about taking care of your bodies. Several people have not done beading before and don't realize they can really injure themselves if they have certain problems already existing in their body or don't keep fit. So, I hope I'm not a damper by cautioning you all in a general way.
There have been several articles in various publications over the years about doing crafts in well lighted and ventilated spaces. The lighting in bead work, especially if you are doing something with small beads, is crucial, critical or just about the most important thing there is. Have good lighting, as your eyes, fingers, shoulders and family members (furry and human) will thank you for it. I have 3 different Ott lights which simulate natural light and is great for true colors and how they will look together. The lights aren't all in one place, but in the different places where I bead.
Ergonomics is the second most important thing. Elbows, knees, backs and bottoms all need to be in the 90 degree angle position for the greatest comfort. Now, of course, you are going to be bending, but just at rest the arms should rest on the surface you are using at 90 degrees, the back is straight without the neck held too far back or too far forward and the bottoms need to make a nice 90 degree angle with chair back and the knees need to not be way up or way down, but at the magic 90 degrees.
As some one who has Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, I even have my glasses bi and trifocals line higher than normal, so they make me hold my head in the proper (or as near as I can get) position. As we are beading it is all too common to see people hunched way over the table with their shoulders hanging up about around the ear level. Everyone does this once in awhile when the bead pile of 15's you are after are at the far end of the work space, but most of us forget to straighten back up. If I forget, it cuts my hours of beading in half, or I can't sleep that night for the pain. So, the minute I find myself doing that, I straighten back up. Another trick I use so I can bead more hours a day is to set a timer for 50 minutes in another room. Then I have to get up and go attend to shutting it off and that reminds me I need to move around--stir the soup, fold the laundry, let the dog out, the cat in or whatever--for 10 minutes before I can go back to beading. If I do this faithfully, I've found I can bead for up to 6 hours a day. If I don't do this my time is cut down to spending maybe an hour an a half beading a day. I mean really, how can so little make such a difference? But, it does.
Another thing I would suggest is that if you need a magnifying glass there are several available; probably as many as there are needs. Make yourself really as comfortable as possible so you have many happy hours of beading ahead of you.
In order to begin deciding what, how and if I want to bind my pieces together, I've checked out several books on Book Binding from the library. Yesterday while doing my volunteer thing, I was able to read two of them and found lots of ideas on what and how to do it. Haven't spent a dime and gotten lots of new knowledge. I also did my quick mile walk this morning to keep the rest of my body functioning well. Happy and safe for the body beading everyone.


Robin said...

Thanks, Dr. Mary... or should I say Saint Mary... I'm kidding. This is a really good post. And since we're on the subject, here's a tip about glasses. Mine are tri-focals. But the area which magnifies work held at about 12-15 inches from my eyes has a little extra ooomph. I check with three different specialists, all of whom agreed that this extra magnification for beading and hand-work does not weaken my eyes in any way. And, it surely does help to see what I'm doing!

beadnik said...

As a nurse, I totally agree with all that Mary has written. As someone who has done some crazy marathon beading projects with insanely tiny (18-24 size tinies), I also found that the timer method, beading for 45 minutes at a time and taking 15 minutes to stretch and move around worked pretty well for me. Taking care of the body and eyes is the best thing we can do to insure a year's worth of healthy productivity.
cheers all,

Winter Wanderings said...

Great advice & suggestions, although at the moment I cannot envision having a solid 6 hours to bead at one time ... says the Mom of active 10-year old twin boys!
But now that you mention it and have told me the best way to "endure" such a long beaded-day, I am pondering & plotting at time when I can steal a solid 6 hours to bead in one sitting, with several stretching breaks built-in, naturally!

Mary Timme said...

Oh, Robin, What a good idea! I never thought of that one and it is worth considering for any beady person! Great suggestion.

Beadnik, you are such a good person to comment and agree. Most of us don't (at least I didn't) think of beading as a thing difficult for the body, but it can be murder on ligaments, muscles and tendons.

Cathy W., You have built in timers if you have twin 10 year-olds. And boys to boot. You don't need to worry probably, yet, but I was surprised at the amount of pain I caused myself before I figured it out. And then I had a lot of help in the form of Physical Therapy and a book written for quilters. So, just remember when the boys are gone, you still have to take care of your body. We can't bead if we can't move without pain.

Any Smith said...

Thanks for the reminder! I'm guilty of bad posture all the time, not just when I'm beading.

I also try to focus on something else every few minutes or so - by that I mean that I look at something far away to rest my eyes, as it were.

I try to limit my beadwork to 40 minutes or so when I'm working at home. Then I get up and stretch and move away from the beads!