Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 11 Jun 2011 07:13 am

Can You See the Inside of Your Craftroom?

You might think by the title of this article that I’m going to talk about messy craft rooms – wrong! While organizing messy craft rooms is my passion, today I’m referring to lighting and magnification.

One of my pet peeves is that as I’m working on a project and leaning over my cutting mat, I’ve got a big shadow of myself over my work! And why is that? Because I’ve got a light in the center of the ceiling, and I’m assuming it will illuminate the entire room. It won’t.

As we age, our need for proper lighting and magnification increases. Now, you can have perfect vision, but you’ll still get a shadow over your project if your body is in-between your light source and your work. I’m obviously not a doctor, but I’ll tell you who is.

Dr. Susan Delaney Mech is not only a physician, but a quilter (like me!). She has written a book called “Rx for Quilters: Stitcher-Friendly Advice for Every Body”. Her book contains over 500 tips from creating an ergonomic work station to avoiding common injuries to stitchers’ hands, wrists, neck, shoulders and back.

She has an informative chapter on the lifecycle of the sewer’s eyes. For example, she states that if you are:
昈ver 40 – you need 20% more light than when you were 30.
昈ver 50 – you need 50% more light.
昈ver 60 – you need 70% more light.

You’ll also need increased magnification. I can be seated in my recliner with my handwork and, although I can have great lighting, my eyes are unable to focus on the intricate details. To solve both problems, I use a magnifier lamp which is equipped with a 5 inch, 3-diopter lens and a cool, shadowless fluorescent light. I’m such a fan of these lamps that I now sell them through my website.

Getting back to the lighting problem in the craft room. How I solved my situation was to install task lighting underneath the overhead cabinet above my cutting table. You can purchase daylight spectrum fluorescent tubes, which will optimize your color sense, and they won’t put out heat (like halogen bulbs). If you don’t have an overhead cabinet, you can use a floor lamp and buy the daylight spectrum bulbs. If you already have a desk lamp, you can do the same thing, but you’ve now lost critical desktop area to the lamp. You’re much better to have it up off of your work area.

We may not be able to stop the effects of aging, but we can use available tools to reduce eye strain and enlarge and enhance fine details.

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