Pulled Pork And Polymer Clay

Earlier in the week, my husband decided to try his hand at smoking a five pound pork butt. He loves barbecue and would like to tour the south and go on what he calls, “A Q Tour.” So he fired up the Traeger at 7:30 AM, and began cooking a North Carolina Style pulled pork.

Pulled Pork and Polymer ClayWhile he was tending to the smoked pork butt, I explored adding texture and applying acrylic and Lumiere metallic paint to the surface of various polymer clay sheets.

Paint and Texture_1

Letting the paint dry, I built a stack for a Mokume Gane block.  Seeking inspiration from Ellen Marshall’s, Polymer Clay Surface Design Recipes, my intention was to combine different textured sheets into a “finely decorated clay sheet reforming it, or adding pieces of it to pieces from other sheets.”

Paint and Texture #3_1

I decided to share the elements and incorporate them into other pieces.

Paint and Texture #2_1At the end of the day, I experienced a savory bite of pulled pork with spicy coleslaw, while looking at the beautiful adornments I’ve added to my collection.  It was a good day!

What Do Edward Ruscha and Freeway Lady Have In Common?

Freeway Lady

“The Freeway Lady,” originally installed 1974. The new version is being installed now at LA Valley College’s Student Services Building, 5800 Fulton Ave., in Valley Glen 91401 (Photo credit: Gil Ortiz)


Los Angeles muralist, and co-founder of mural conservancy, Kent Twitchell.

(Article written by Spike Dolomite, dated May 1, 2015 for NoHoArtsDistrict.com.

Kent Twitchell, the muralist who has been painting larger than life portraits on buildings throughout Los Angeles since the early 70s, is currently recreating his “Freeway Lady” on the Student Services Building at LA Valley College.

Originally painted in 1974 on the side of the Prince Hotel in Echo Park (22’ x 30’), it has been destroyed twice.

The first time was in 1986 when it was painted over by a billboard company. In 1992 he won a major legal victory for legal protection for murals when he was awarded damages for the destruction of the mural. After it was restored, it was tagged in 2000.

The LAVC Public Art Committee selected the repainting of the “Freeway Lady” in 2010, the first project to be commissioned on campus. Students are assisting Twitchell and a documentary of the installation is being filmed by the college.

“Freeway Lady” is a tribute to Kent Twitchell’s grandmother.

His model was character actress Lillian Bronson, who reminded Twitchell of his grandmother.

Twitchell has been painting murals since the late 60s and has painted over 100 murals across the country to date. His work can be found on walls, in art textbooks, magazines, newspapers and film. Some of his work is in permanent collections in several art museums.

He’s a co-founder of the Mural Conservancy in Los Angeles, which is very active right now, restoring murals throughout the city.

In 2008 he settled a lawsuit against the US Government and 12 other defendants for painting over one of his other murals, a 70’ tall landmark mural of Los Angeles pop artist, Edward Ruscha. The $1.1 million settlement is the largest settlement under the Federal Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) or the California Art Preservation Act (CAPA). VARA and CAPA forbid desecration, alteration, or destruction of certain public works of art without prior notice to the artist to allow for removal (90 days), winning the case that when it comes to public art, you have to respect the artist’s rights or incur liability.

One of Twitchell’s murals painted in 1991 can be seen now in Los Angeles – the “LA Harbor Freeway Overture” (portraits of members of the LA Chamber Orchestra) on the wall of the Citicorp Plaza parking structure facing the Harbor Freeway (110) at 8th Street. His “LA Marathon” mural, painted in the late 80’s will become an LA ArtShare billboard soon.

Mokume Gane Inlay

My self-directed studies of surface design on polymer clay has opened up an array of options.  I’ve always wanted to apply oil/acrylic on canvas, but realize I lack an innate talent for drawing.  With polymer clay as a canvas, investigating the use of different mixed-media techniques satisfies my desire to paint.

Blog post, On The Grid, dated July 7, discusses applying texture and paint to the surface of a Mokume Gane enhanced  sheet of black clay.

Off The Grid_1

I looked at the piece for a week trying to decide what to do with it.

Mokume Gane Inlay #2_1

Early Bird Catches A Beautiful Sunrise

Early Morning Riser

Yesterday, I started my day with a beautiful sunrise.  I’m usually not an early riser, but lately I’ve realized the importance of solitude.  Time to myself for myself.

Blue Mokume Gane_1

Pictured above is the result of an early morning Mokume Gane technique co-mingled with alcohol ink and foil.   I’ve started experimenting with jewelry bezels and resin with polymer clay.

Blue Mokume Gane #3_1

The piece grouped with the bezels is a practice piece. I dropped blue alcohol ink on variegated foil placed between two sheets of white translucent clay.  After the piece was processed, I added sliced elements from a Mokume Gane block and processed again.

Nowadays, it’s all about practice and experimentation.

Sweater Curse

Those of us who knit, know about the “sweater curse” when knitting a sweater (or scarf) for a boyfriend.  Today, I read an article from the New Yorker written by Alison Lurie, dated August 28, 2013,  reviewing Knitting Yarns:  Writers on Knitting, editor Ann Hood, which mentions the same can happen to a relationship between two women.

Two women wearing sweatersmxd_bG34jhoghi0mQWStPvQ

Wow! who knew the “sweater curse” is not gender/relationship specific.  This phenomenon  is interesting on so many different levels.

three people wearing sweaters

Transferred Images

The past couple of days, I’ve been re-sizing my own photos to use for image transfers on polymer clay.  By using my own images, I’m not concerned with copyright infringement, though I did discover a website with wonderful Victorian black and white images.

My first three attempts at using transfer artist paper was a bust…I went out online looking for any comments regarding the product, and did not find much.  I wasn’t going to give up! I followed the given directions, with a few alterations.  Voila!

Transferred Image_1

I am so happy with the image transfer.  A wonderful memory of Budapest.

Finishing Touches

For awhile, I’ve wanted to explore the use of Lisa Pavelka’s, UV resin Magic-Glos  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSQZQXp5L1k and polymer clay.  The pieces discussed below were cured in the sun.

Polymer Clay Jewelry_1

The above piece details the use of elements from a Mokume Gane block which consisted of three different types of polymer clay.  I especially like the effect of white glitter polymer clay.

Polymer Clay Jewelry #2_1The next piece shows the effects of working with ink dye and metallic leaf.  I plan on doing another layer of resin on both pieces tomorrow.

Over Under Over Under

Before I begin my blog post about my latest happenings with polymer clay, I am so excited to share some fantastic news.  Today, I made reservations to attend Vogue Knitting Destination getaway in September at The Falls Inn and Spa in Ontario, Canada. “Vogue Knitters will get an inside look at the famous Koigu dye house to explore and experience all things Koigu.”  Moving on…

Falls Inn and Spa

In a February 1995 issue of Bead & Button, Lindly Haunani demonstrated her version of Mokume Gane.  In my polymer clay past life, this article was one of the first examples of combining layers of silver leaf with translucent clay along with very small amounts of colored clay mixed in to enable the cracking of the silver leaf to show through.  Thin slices were used to make collages on a base of transparent clay.

polymer clay buttons

Here are a few of my vintage polymer clay buttons using Lindly Haunani’s technique.

The realm of possibilities has grown by leaps and bounds in the world of polymer clay, alcohol inks are being used in conjunction with metal leaf and translucent clay. The discussion below briefly describes my experience with leaf and ink dye.

Metal Leaf and Alcholic Dyes

After the alcohol ink dried, the variegated copper leaf was sandwiched between layers of translucent clay and incorporated into sheets of colored polymer clay.  Tools were used to imprint the stack.

Metal Leaf and Alcohol Dyes 2_1

Slices of structural elements were applied to a piece of polymer clay before curing.

Foil and Alcohol Inks_1

On a textured backing piece of polymer clay, elements were woven and processed.

Foil and Alcohol Inks 2_1

Slicing elements from the Mokume Gane block reveals an interesting  pattern. Building with additional structural elements constructs a unique piece of architecture illuminating the subtle effect created by the use of metallic leaf and ink dye.

Layer Upon Layer

Before I blog about my latest polymer clay project, I’d like to mention three inspiring polymer clay books added to my collection.  Polymer Clay Surface Design Recipes, by Ellen Marshall, explores 100 mixed-media techniques plus project ideas.  Julie Picarello’s, Patterns in Polymer Imprint & Accent Bead Techniques, provides recipes for successful color palettes, her polymer imprint technique based on the art of mokume gane and jewelry construction.  Polymer Clay Global Perspectives compiled by Cynthia Tinapple, discusses emerging ideas and techniques from 125 international artists. I find all three books inspiring, exciting and educational.

Layer Upon Layer visually documents the use of alcohol inks, translucent and opaque clay.

Layer Upon Layer #3_1

The top left image shows ink applied to the translucent clay.  The lower left and right images are examples of the inked translucent clay after drying placed on top of a sheet of opaque clay.

Layer Upon Layer #2

The movement of the dye and cracking of the translucent clay, presented an opportunity for design.  By taking advantage of the design on the surface, I added a dimension of interest by building a picture.

Layer Upon Layer_1

Through the use of cutouts and a backing piece of clay, another dimension of mystery unfolds as the eye looks into the piece.

Are these two pieces destined to become utilitarian objects?  Perhaps I’ll admire them for awhile.

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