Tech talk: Spotlight on Studio Lighting

Nothing beats a great big window and sunshine streaming in lighting up every nook and cranny in your studio…but since the sun doesn’t shine all day long and small things like weather and window direction can affect the amount of sunshine coming in, we have to use supplemental lighting.

In the three studios I’ve built and the several that I’ve offered advise on, we’ve always had to add additional task lighing to improve what was already there. So, in that vein, here are my recommendations for what I consider ideal studio lighting.

At the bench where you do your assembly work and beadwork I recommend the use of full-spectrum lights. These are available in many different styles and types, so getting them for a variety of existing fixtures should not present a problem. I strongly recommend using these lights where you store your color rods and your layout area. These lights will allow you to see the “true” color of the rod (be sure to take off your glassworking filter specs!!) and will make color selection much easier.

At the torch, I’ve found that halogen spots are by far the best type of task lighting you can use. I am really fond of track lights, and the models with gooseneck adjustable arms are number one on my recommendation list.


What’s really nice about these is that you can mount the track somewhat behind you (on the ceiling of course) and then use the gooseneck to shoot the light over your shoulder and down right on your working area on the flame. In my garage studio, I use two of these, one over each shoulder, to illuminate the immediate work area in front of me. I also have one focused on the glass storage area and another focused on the door to my kiln, so that when I open the door, the spot lights up the interior of the kiln.

I also use a single tube flourescent fixture mounted off to one side. I don’t know who it was that figured this out, but that single line of light is extraordinarily useful for checking the surface smoothness and curvature of your work. As you rotate your piece under the light, focus your eye on the line of the flourescent bulb and watch for any irregularities. You will see line deform or wiggle if the surface is not smooth and even.


2 thoughts on “Tech talk: Spotlight on Studio Lighting

  1. I am one of the “You can’t have too much light” people. I have four 150W Halogens mounted along the top front of my hood enclosure. This gives a nice high light level that makes it easy to see even with boro glasses on. The general shop lights are two 300W incandescents and four florescent shop lights. Probably need some more task specific lighting on the jewelry benches, but they are being relocated.

  2. My husband accuses me of trying to land AWAC planes (these are the surveillance planes with the ‘frisbees’ on top) in my studio, but I find as I get older, I need lots of light to let me see properly. I use full spectrum tube flourescent with a special reflective cover over my torch area and storage area.

    And I discovered that trick of using the four foot shop light to check for even surface on the beads. Works like a charm.


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