From Skye to Sea

From Skye to Sea by Abigail Lagden

I’m so excited to be part of the 2018 Powertex Design Team and for my first blog I wanted to share with you a place that is very special to me – the Isle of Skye.
It is a place of awe-inspiring beauty and diverse geology, from the looming Cuillin mountain range, across the bleak peat bogs, to the rugged cliffs and the many and varied beaches. The weather can be wild and changeable, but that is just another part of the beauty and inspiration of the place.
Glenbrittle Beach (that’s me lurking on the right with my lurcher, Benson)

On every visit, my other half (Tom) and I spend many a day exploring the outdoors, particularly the coastline. As a photographer, Tom is captivated by the light on the waters and takes stunning and emotive landscape pictures. I, on the other hand, mooch around, head down looking for treasures. ‘Treasures’ are what I call the things I collect from beaches and they can be anything from shells to stones to driftwood to glass.

Me, collecting treasures!!
(Excuse the attire – it’s cold in December)

Our last visit was just before Christmas and as usual I collected some treasures whilst out and about, so I thought I would incorporate a few of them into a sea-themed plaque. This is just one of the things I love about Powertex – how you can repurpose, recycle and reuse so many things to create something unique and beautiful.

The shells and grass roots were collected from Glenbrittle beach (above) and the coral pieces were collected from coral beach at Claigan (below).

Coral Beach, Claigan – the yellow beach is made up of little bits of coral as shown in the insert

But enough of the beauties of Skye, let’s talk about my little project. The base ingredients for my Skye to Sea Plaque design were:

I often use the journal covers to produce hanging plaques, and just cover four of the holes to leave two to hang it with. Although of course this design would also have made a gorgeous cover for a journal.

I am obsessed with texture and don’t like any plain, flat surfaces in my creations, so first I used structure paste to create some coral-like patterns on the MDF cover, before painting it all with bronze Powertex.

Rough layout of design (unsurprisingly in changed)

Next I laid out a rough arrangement of the bits and pieces I wanted to include – it is a good idea to do this at the start even if the layout changes as you progress through your projects.

 

Hollow shapes like shells can be tricky to attach securely to a project, so I like to mix a bit of 3D sand into some of the Powertex to produce a thicker paste which will hold them firmly in place. In this project I spread some of this paste over the areas where I wanted to place the shells and the coral. The shells were then filled with the paste before being positioned and the coral was just sprinkled directly onto the paste. To fill the gaps between the coral and the shells I sprinkled some small 3D balls over the area.
I added some pattern and texture to the seahorse using structure paste before attaching to the plaque and painting everything with a coat of bronze Powertex.
Left to dry before bringing to life with colour!

I coated the grass roots with Powertex and added them to make a sea plant. The texture was fantastic and I really wish I had picked up more of this stuff – I know what I’ll be looking for next time I’m at a beach – although care had to be taken when colouring as it was still rather fragile.

Then finally I used pieces of white Paper Decoration coated with Powertex to make some stringy seaweed around the sides.

 

Now time for some colour!
To produce a lovely blue-green multi-tonal sea colour I mixed blue, green, turquoise and white powercolors with easy varnish, in different quantities to get different shades and tones. This was applied using a dry brushing technique, layering the different colours gradually to blend the tones. Once I was happy with the result I couldn’t resist adding some shimmer so I used terragreen as well as the amazing new interference powders (blue, red and lilac) to give the scene some iridescence.
Then just a piece of t-shirt yarn tied through the holes for hanging and there you have my Skye to Sea Plaque.
From Skye to Sea by Abigail Lagden

I hope you have enjoyed my first Design Team blog, I know I have.
You can see more of what I am up to on my Curiously Contrary website and Facebook Page.

Until next time, Abs x

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