At first, crafting seems light, fluffy, and fun. One day you are designing a beautiful necklace and the next you are cranking out two dozen of them for an art fair. The more you get into handmade arts on a regular basis, the faster you’ll realize how important it is to prep your work area.
About five years ago I picked up my first pair of prescription eyeglasses for designing, writing, and reading. I rarely wore them. I’d either misplace them, forget about them, or just refused to deal with the fact that my vision isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Such a lame attitude, especially because I made mistakes in my designs from the blurriness and once even nicked my finger while stitching. I’m totally embarrassed to even be sharing this, I should know better! The good news is I finally saw the light – and it was purple!
Earlier this month, I was at the airport, hustling to a new gate because of a change in the flight. I came to a screeching halt. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a cool pair of purple readers. Not just any purple readers – my FAVORITE shade of purple! I ran over, bought them and haven’t stopped wearing them since. Wow, what a difference! No more straining! Plus I have a fun accessory to wear that will help me work and feel better.
Think about your craft area as it is. What are the uncomfortable aspects you put up with? If you really want to ccreate great stuff, take some time to rearrange everything so you are nice and comfy. Here are some ideas. And by all means – if you have any tips, share them in the comments!!
Lighting. The ultimate is to hang some fluorescent lights up on the ceiling in the room you are working in. You can find them at Home Improvement stores. If that is too big of a task (or you can’t afford an expensive craft lamps) just go to the office supply store and pick up some desk tasks lamps – the loooong kind. I recently purchased two for each end of my table, I went with the clip-on kind. I also bought two tall light fixtures to stand behind me with three adjustable bulbs so I can point them in any direction I want. We used to have those cheesy torche lamps – but the light only shoots up to the ceiling, so what good are they in the studio? Also, God forbid if a bug fell in there, it stank like stinky shoes!
Hand work. I’m a lefty. A few years back I began to notice that my wrist was weakening due to repetitive stress. Since then, I’ve delegated some new tasks to my right hand (although it took some practice) such as scissor cutting, the computer mouse and working the TV/DVD/boombox remote control. You get the idea – what ever you can switch over to your other hand, go for it. When my wrist begins to hurt after a large order, I wrap it with an Ace bandage and the pain goes away after a few hours.
Table/chair height. If you spend a lot of hours working at the table, make sure it’s a good one. Don’t just settle for the kitchen or a cheap card table. I bought some nice 8 Ft tables at a second hand office supply store, as well as a positionable office chair that is nice and cushiony. I used to use a rickety wood based chair with a vinyl seat covering that I spray painted silver. Everytime I sat down my legs would stick to it. It was really bad in the summer when I wear shorts! Ouch! Why I used it for so long, I have no idea. Now that I upgraded, life is so much easier!
Set up. I have two wall units where I store everything. To the left of my table I keep all the stuff I use most often. I bought a lot of clear plastic shoeboxes and sorted everything into them and keep them stacked close by. I wrote the names on the outside of them, like “Wood”, “small toys”, “trims”, “found objects”, etc. This way when I need something, I can just swing my chair around and pick it out. Mom’s rule of thumb works really well here – “Put it away after you are done with it and you’ll have less of a mess to clean up later!”.
I also have the phone close by too.
Well, those are my basics. If you have any, please share!