Dietmar, you didn't anwer question #1 ;>)!
Mike, your answer to answer #1: Yes....
#2- you have a nice set up with lots of tools, I see! Only I see you are missing Carlo Dona tools! You are in serious need of a trip up to Murano for some purchasing of serious shears and other cool tools.
Personally, I dont use the Creative Station. I have the springy elbow rests used for computers that I purchased long ago from Don McKinney.
Since I work in figurative work mostly, I don't always have my arms in a resting postion. On occasion, one of my fish bodies may use up as much as a whole rod as a base color, but I rarely do them so big.
As far as huge honkin' beads, you can look at Ellen Black's lentils and cone shapes. Maybe she can post a picture and start a new thread about large beads and techniques. She can tell you the measurments and weights of these beauties.
I did notice that many of your tools on display on your work station, are very large. Perhaps it is so because you have male hands larger then someone like I would. But I find great comfort in tools that are not so large and that take away the heat of the glass so much, thereby avoiding too much compromise of breaking the bead release, and restoring the chill marks.
Now, Mike, as far as any suggestions and advise about coming to one of our Gatherings, I and a host of many others, would be delighted to have you join us! I've made some great friendships with Anat and Ronit who come from Israel almost every year. Also, I am hoping that some time, Bahadir from Turkey will also join us. He has to finish a tour with his military obligation and let his kids get a little bigger. It would be wonderful if he could join us with his family.
It would be wonderful to meet in in Minnnesota. Dietmar will be joining us that year as well. The more international family, the merrier!