KEEPING YOUR FINGERS, HANDS, ARMS, EYES AND MIND
IN GOOD WORKING ORDER
What kinds of things do you do to keep your fingers, hands, arms, eyes and mind focused, nimble and in good working order?
Beading and Jewelry Making require lots of mind-body coordination. This takes work. It is work.
You have to control your stringing material. With needle and thread, you have to be able to get from your fingers to the needle to the beads, back along the thread to the needle to the fingers, hands, arms, eyes, mind. And then again. And again. Over and over, one more time. You need to get into a rhythm. All these working parts need to be working. No time for cramping. No time to get tired. No time to lose concentration.
A rhythm. Needle, pick up bead, pull down along thread, check the tension, pick up a bead, pull down along thread, check the tension, pick up a bead….
I noticed that different instructors had various techniques and strategies for maintaining this rhythm. Yes, music was involved sometimes. Othertimes simple meditation or creative reading and discourse. Some people had some stretching exercises that they did. Others tested themselves before proceeding with their big project. Still others did small things to reconfirm their learning.
I adapted some of their techniques into a workshop I do on Beading Calisthenics. Here is Exercise # 1.
BEADING CALISTHENICS #1: 5-Finger Stretchies
This exercise is used to prevent your fingers from cramping. Often, when beading, you are holding your hand and fingers in a very tight, controlled, sometimes unnatural or uncomfortable position. You should stop periodically, and do 5-Finger Stretchies. This is a wonderful exercise which relaxes the muscles in your hands.
Take one hand and hold it arm out, palm forward. Your arm is parallel to the floor. Your palm, fingers up, is perpendicular to the floor. Tighten every muscle in every finger, and pull each finger inward and downwards towards the point they meet the palm, but don’t touch the palm. Picture making a claw with your pulled back fingers.
Squeeze the tension, release. Squeeze, release. Squeeze, release. Do this rapidly, perhaps 4 squeeze/releases a second. Do this for 10 seconds.
Now do this with the other hand. 10 seconds.
Do this a couple times with each hand.
Then return to your beading.