Editors Share Their Ergonomic Beading Tips

I'll be the first to admit that posture isn't exactly my strong suit when sitting in front of my computer screen for 8 hours or working on a beading project in my spare bedroom at home. So I've asked the editors of some of your favorite bead and jewelry-making magazines to share their top tips for staying in tip-top shape when working on your next beading project.

Melinda Barta, Editor of Beadwork magazine, suggests:

"Between beading, typing, and carrying around a toddler, my wrists and hands constantly suffer from overuse. Luckily, I found thin and stretchy fingerless gloves at a bead show several years ago that sometimes help while beading. My husband highly advises against me wearing them in public, but surely other beaders understand! There are several styles sold as "crafting gloves" and I recommend the most streamlined styles without any metal/plastic supports or thick wrist bands. See my pair in Beadwork's funny video, Stuff Beaders Say, which are very similar to the 'Thergonomic Hand-Aids' by the Frank A. Edmunds needlework company."

Danielle Fox, Editorial Director of the Interweave Bead Group, shares this:

"I'm a poster child for bad beading habits. I tend to sit cross-legged on the sofa, hunched over the bead board on my lap, until my legs fall asleep and get tingly and my back aches when I try to sit up straight! The thing I have done to be more ergonomic, though, is purchase ergonomic beading pliers. I absolutely love my Lindstrom Rx ergonomic pliers, which I lauded in my last blog post, Inside an Editor's Toolbox: 5 Must-Have Tools."

Jean Campbell, Founding editor (and currently the senior editor) of Beadwork magazine, advises:

"I did a Stitch Pro article in June/July 2011 that lists several ways to bead faster, a few of which are ergonomic, too: Use shorter thread, bead closer to your body, keep your space clean and organized. I'd also add the obvious: use good lighting, sit in a comfortable chair, and for goodness sakes, get out of that chair at least once an hour to stretch, run up and down the steps, or at least go get some chocolate."

Denise Peck, Editor in Chief of Step by Step Wire Jewelry, adds:

"No matter how careful I am, something always ends up aching. I've found the best thing to do is to stand up every hour and use an exercise stretch band for a few stretches and twists. The one that does the most for me is holding the band in your right hand, overhead, draped down your back. Grab the other end behind your back with the left hand, and stretch! Feels fantastic in your shoulder blades!"

Jennifer VanBenschoten, Editor of BeadingDaily.com, recommends:

"Since I'm big into yoga, I found a way to use a simple yoga stretch during a long day of beading. About every hour and a half (or when my shoulders, back, and neck are telling me otherwise), I'll stand up straight in Mountain Pose. (Basically, just stand up straight, feet about hip-width apart, shoulders slightly back.) Take a deep breath in, and from your sides, raise both arms over your head until your palms touch, stretching your torso gently. Breathe out, and lower your arms back to your sides. Repeat two or three times. Then stretch each arm individually: breathe in, stretch your right arm straight up and lean slightly over to the left. Breathe out, straighten up, and lower your arm back to your side. Repeat on both sides two or three times. It really does the trick when I need a quick stretching break!"

Please share your tips below!

Wishing you comfortable beading,

Debbie Blair

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