The Ergonomics of being Creative
It’s all about the brushes and scissors and glue. But the what they don’t tell you about in “creative school” is your hands and neck and back.
Conversation with myself:
ME: Yes, yes, yes…color swirling, this way, blend, right-angles, numeric calculations, cut here, scrunch there…
MYSELF: Ouch, no, dang it thumbs, ugh, no, bad neck ergonomics, dizzy, stop scrunching…
ME: Hair frizzled, glasses smudged, elevated bliss, color, texture, inspiration, just a while longer…
MYSELF: Ouch, pinching, stop now, blurred vision, stretch again, frozen shoulder, ears ringing, locked finger joints, stop, stop, stop…
What is the one thing that cellists, facialists, writers and artists all have in common? We all lean over and curl around our creations. And while we all know how we should counteract this bad posture, 8 hours a day at one’s craft retrains the body for the worst.
I have been dealing with this accumulation of wear and tear on my body parts for these last number of months—which is why I have been writing these blog posts so infrequently. And after bouts of crippling muscle entanglements and resulting fractured vision earlier this year, this is what I have learned about the ergonomics of being creative.
- Lap top key boards are bad for most people and especially for those with a wide shoulder span. It forces our hands too close together resulting in a collapse of the shoulders and a pinched neck.
- All standard key boards and mice force your hands flat which trains your arms to hang at your side backs-facing-forward, like a gorilla. This pulls your neck and shoulder muscles out of alignment which pinch nerves and make your hands go numb. An ergonomic key board and mouse will force your hands side-ways preventing the gorilla stance.
- We should view our work straight ahead rather than leaning over with a tilted neck. I have elevated my computer monitor, put my sewing machine cabinet up on blocks and will finally realize the potential of my mother’s tilted art easel that has been stored in the basement all these years. Next project up…
- Standing is better than sitting so we do not cut off circulation through the center of our body. I have not yet figured that out with my sewing machine but make myself walk to the ironing board and design wall so I can cut down on my sitting time.
If we must sit (like many of us do all day) our body should be at a right angle. Back straight, thighs out straight at a right angle with lower part of leg straight down; arms also resting at a right angle straight out from the body. For some people this many mean an elevated foot rest. For me, since I am short-legged with a long torso, my seat is low and I wear clogs that lift my legs upward a bit.
- Lastly, stretch out those muscles that get over used to counteract the positioning. I use a hard rubber ball against the wall to create a release of tightness and a good chiropractor and a good Physical Therapist massage technician has also been so very, very helpful. Yoga, of course, is awesome but that requires daily discipline, something I struggle with.
Can’t stop creating though. From my studio to yours; a new painted and pieced quilt in progress…enjoy!
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