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Monday, May 3, 2010


In this week's tip I will focus on how to create an ergonomic space for crafting.

Recently I have offered up tips on craft spaces from setting up to paring down.

This week I am still focusing on our craft spaces while addressing a personal and environmental need. One that you may not have thought to make part of your focus when crafting.

Why would you want an ergonomic space you ask?

Because it is going to allow you to craft comfortably and be more in tune with your body, your art form and your environment.

Haven't you ever experienced craft related discomfort or pain? When you perform repetitive tasks you can cause muscles, tendons and or nerve tissue excessive wear & tear. As crafters, we typically practice risky postures such as hunched shoulders or backs, over reaching for tools, bent wrists, long periods of sitting & more.

By making simple changes to your posture, your work space and the way you set up your crafting area you will notice a difference.

Here are 4 essential things you can change:

1- POSTURE: this will almost immediately make your body feel better. Height & weight are your big factors here. Your back should be straight when sitting with a slight, supported curve in the lumbar or lower back region. The neck & wrists straight,shoulders relaxed, hips parallel to the floor and knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Feet should rest flat.Your work surface should sit more or less at forearm height. Your furniture should suit your individual stature.
My chiropractor gave me this information. (Thank you Dr. Reed)

2- REPETITION: this is a tough risk factor to control when crafting but we have to try because it increases strain & pressure on the joints, tendons, blood vessels & nerves. If you have ever experienced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome you know it can be caused by repetitive movements such as the ones we endure when crafting.
The most effective way to reduce repetition is to change your tasks & take breaks. Set a timer to remind you to switch jobs or if listening to music set your tasks to the music. Or the simplest thing...take frequent breaks..ie: 10 minutes each hour.
Using die-cuts or pre-made embellishments can reduce the amount of time you spend cutting & trimming eliminating scissor syndrome.

3- FORCE: there are certain tools that cause us to increase force like using craft knives or working on a slick surface. If you notice your knuckles turning colors when using a craft knife, there's your sign. Change your grip to help reduce the force. You can also reduce force by standing at a work surface when stamping or punching. Have you noticed all the new forms that punches have taken? Manufacturers have made them more ergonomical & practical for regular use.

4- LIGHTING: this is important because it can affect your vision. You want to increase task lighting to alleviate eyestrain. Proper lighting will also allow you to see your true colors.

As I researched this topic I found a few ergonomic products that may help you in your quest for total ergonomic comfort for far better productivity and overall health.

A Footrest
Pencil & Knife Grips
A Lumbar Pillow
Daylight Task Lighting like the OTT LITES
Strongarm Punch from McGill which reduces the amount of force needed to punch
Fiskars Spring Loaded Scissors
Lever Punches

Take note of how you feel when you're crafting. If you feel uncomfortable or uninspired chances are you could use a little ergonomic tune up.

Happy Crafting!

1 comment:

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