The quality of polymer clays (every brand!) have dropped recently. I'm lucky, because my favourite brand, Cernit is one of the cleanest clay on the market. But still, when I mix different brands, I meet with more lint and dust in my work, than before.
When you use micro cutters, lint and dirt count a lot. If you think this rule is true only for miniature work, you are wrong.
I had a conversation with one of our regular customers, who makes jewellery. She said the messy edge after the cut is not a big deal, because she will sand it anyway.
This is true when you think about the large pieces, but what about the tiny ones? Good luck for sanding a tiny dinosaur or snowflake. You can say, that's so small... it's not visible and you are right. ..But! On the other hand, there is a significant difference between high quality work or mass production and small details are the key for that difference.
You cut lots of pieces and remove from the surface with your blade. That's a spectacular, Instagram compatible move and one of the worst habits that you should avoid when cutting with micro cutters. Especially nowadays, when even factory sealed clay can be super dirty.
Let me show you the difference between lift techniques and their results.
I cut 3 hearts from the same clay, with the same cutter. This clay has been used before, so it's not a brand new one.
I lifted the first one with a needle.
I lifted the second one with my blade.
And I baked the third one on the tile without lifting. I left it where it was.
And now, take a closer look...
Can you see the difference?
Here is the mess that was left on the tile after I lifted the first heart with the needle.
The other two have that on their edges.
I believe the professional work is time consuming, which is not equal to time wasting. If you remove the pieces one by one before baking, that will be a slower process, but the edges will be more smooth and clear. If you do the same with large pieces you will need less sanding at the end, so you can save time rather than wasting it.
You are welcome!