Lighting is an essential aspect of your jewellery making space regardless of whether you have a permanent workspace or have to set up an area when you want to work.
Being able to see your work clearly is key if you are to be able to complete fiddly tasks, ensure colours work and finish items to a high standard. As well as reducing the chances of eyestrain and headaches.
Some jewellery makers prefer natural light for some jobs. For example some people choose to do work such as pearl knotting in natural light in the mornings whereas if you are torch firing metal clay you need to be able to reduce the light in your work space.
If you do have natural light in your workspace arrange your bench so that the best of the light hits the area you will have the piece you are working on in but don’t place your chair between the window and bench and create a shadow.
Even if you have natural light you may still need extra light to fill in shadows, and if you work in the evenings or don’t have natural light then you will probably need more than one light to eliminate shadows and let you do detailed work.
Thinking about the lighting for your bench or table, there are a few key considerations such as ensuring the brightest area of light is where you will be working, reducing shadows and avoiding any glare in your eyes,
To achieve this you may need more than one light positioned at different angles.
Consider lamps, such as the one pictured (by Daylight Company) that clamp onto your table or bench and which have flexible or adjustable necks. An adjustable neck will allow you to angle the beam of light into the best position for you to work. Using a clamp on lamp can save you space because you don’t need lots of table space for the lights which could also be fixed to shelving around your work space if necessary. These lights can also be repositioned depending on what you are working on.
Another issue is whether to use daylight or full spectrum lights. These, as the name suggests, are designed to closely replicate daylight. With a similar “colour temperature” to natural light, which is colder and whiter than normal household lighting. These are useful for both reducing eyestrain by giving you a clearer light on your work and for showing colours more accurately – important if you are matching colours in resin or polymer clay for example or work with gemstones. Daylight lamps generally give the appearance of matural light while full spectrum lights more closely give off light closer to what you find outdoors.
As has been said with other workshop items, buy as good lighting as you can afford. It will make you more productive and a good quality lamp is likely to be hard wearing and last longer. But as always it is also worth asking other jewellery makers what they use and how robust they have found particular lights.