I think that may be the best term for what I've been up to. I think I've read every article and tutorial on making polymer clay art beads. I know that absorbing so much knowledge in a short time (three days) is something people would call crazy or overkill but I have an almost photographic mind and all that info actually takes root. The proof will be in the beads though.
I think the most important thing I learned is that I'm a sander/buffer rather than a varnish gal. The first set of beads I made I varnished and at the time I was happy....not any more! The second and third sets I painstakingly sanded and buffed, yeah, that's the look I'm going for, as smooth and glossy as glass. It's lots of work and I realised pretty quickly that I would soon end up with carpal tunnel if I did the sanding and buffing by hand. So, a trip into Dad's tool shed, a little bit of ingenuity and I have an electric buffer. I suppose I could rig it as a sander too but after learning some pre-baking smoothing techniques I decided hand sanding is best. Also, in my travels to see what all the polymer bead artists were doing I learned that the sanded/buffed beads fetch a higher price.....as they should because even with an electric buffer these beads are labor intensive. The good ones are fetching as much as lampwork glass and I could see them becoming more desirable as the level of detail you can achieve is astounding.
It was extremely encouraging when at class I brought out the wires of my first attempts and the first exclamation was "where did you get those gorgeous beads?" Gotta love that.
I woke up this morning with the idea to sign my beads....they are miniature works of art after all... and how easy it is to do....I just have to make a signature cane and add a slice to each bead. I get to play again today so the signature cane is first on the list. Tomorrow it will be back to pattern writing and I can see now that I'll be working on the reward system....as soon as my work is done I get to play with clay. First on my list today is buffing the two bead sets I made yesterday. Amazingly these beads have even got my Mom interested, she actually keeps popping into my studio to see how I make them and what I've made, that may be a sign that I'm onto something :)
So, stay tuned for photos.