This month I’d like to share my Powertex journey with you from my very first make through to my Powertex UK Masters certificate which I completed in October this year.
In early 2014 my friend had been in Australia on holiday and brought me back a craft magazine as she knew how much I loved creating. I was browsing through this when I came across some fabric sculpted figures. I instantly fell in love and knew I just had to find a class in the UK where I could learn how to do this.
Luckily for me the NEC Craft show was on the following month so I went along as usual but was a little over excited to say the least, when I came round the corner and there was Tracey Evans with a stand promoting Powertex. She must of thought I was a little bit crazy as I flew up to her wanting to know when I could do a class.
Roll forward 4 weeks and after a lot of secrets between my husband, best friend Karen and Tracey over gift vouchers for my birthday I was sitting in Tracey’s studio doing my first ever Powertex workshop.
It started with a plaque. I was instantly hooked and wanted to do more.
I couldn’t believe this product could be as good as I was being told so I took the next year and completed every course possible. After that year I took all levels of tutor training and started running classes in my local area. I went on to become the Creative Team Leader for the CV postcode.
During my journey with Powertex I have had the most amazing opportunities. I have taught workshops and provided feature exhibitions at the NEC Creative Craft Show and the Welsh assembly, written magazine articles, been on the design team for 3 years, had my work featured on Hochanda, taught workshops from 1 to 1 up to large groups, worked on the Powertex stand at Creative Craft Shows in NEC Birmingham, Exeter and Stoneleigh, Kirsty Allsops’ show at Ragley Hall and travelled to Belgium to train with Brigitte Grade the owner and creator of Powertex.
Earlier this year I became a Certified Powertex Training Academy where I now train new Powertex tutors in fabric sculpting/business set up and existing tutors in Stone Art and 3D Flex.
I was also invited to complete the Powertex UK Masters Certification process. In this program you have to complete 4 projects. For each piece a different theme is set by head office. For the first 3 pieces, you then develop and create your artwork at your own pace. Once finished you document the full process and submit to Powertex UK. Each one has to be assessed and approved by head office before you can move on.
The final project
For the final project, head office again set the theme however this time you create your piece in Tracey’s studio over a 2 day period. You also take along your previous 3 makes for the final assessment. Once this has all been approved you are awarded the Powertex UK Masters Certificate.
I have really enjoyed this whole process. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me really think about what I was creating, working out how I could show the technical skills I had learnt in a fluid and congruent way. There was a lot of trial and error, a lot of what if’s and a lot of coffee involved!
I decided that my first 3 pieces would each show a different skill set.
Project 1 Rebirth- 3d flex on canvas
Project 2 Tree of Life- stone art sculpting
Project 3 – Abandonment – fabric sculpting
Project 4 – Cubism
I wanted my final piece to encompass lots of different techniques – mixed media fabric sculpting, Stone Art texture, Stone Art clay, 3d flex clay, flex cracks, imprinting, stencilling, mark making, use of inks, pigments, wax, 3D sand and balls, Bister split. I loved making this piece the most because of the variety involved.
So if you’re thinking Powertex is just about plaques, it’s so so much more.
Did you catch Tracey Evans on Hochanda on 27th September? if not click here to go to the Hochanda site and watch the shows on rewind at 11am and 3pm. If you did then you will have seen the amazing frames and panels now available from Powertex UK.
The frames are constructed from MDF and provide a beautifully stable base to apply all the lovely Powertex textures onto.
They come in 2 options.
I fell in love with these beauties when I saw them and have been creating like crazy with them. Here are a few of my makes.
Secret Art Loft acrylic inks were then sprayed on to give the base colours and enhanced with the Secret Art Loft acrylic paints as the colours match perfectly. A little bit of bling was added with gems and silver leaf.
The whole piece was then drybrushed with Powercolour pigments using Easy Varnish and the same pigments mixed with Powerwax were used to give the depth of colour on the frame area.
Cow Skull Dreaming
For this piece I used the same frame but combined it with the Dreamcatcher MDF set which I stencilled onto using Easy structure. I used StoneArt clay in the new Cow Skull mould to create the focal point and added lots of extra flowers.
The base was Ivory Powertex and the additional texture is from cardboard, Powercotton, dishcloth, Paperdecoration and 3D Sand and Balls.
Again I used the Secret Art Loft acrylic inks and paints for colouring.
For the Eastern themed pieces I chose to use the MDF Inset Frame and Panel. The plaster Buddha sits beautifully inside the opening with lots of room around the edges to add texture and colour and the lovely MDF symbols.
The top panel uses Black Powertex, Easy Structure, Hessian and 3D Sand and Balls. Once dry I used Easy Varnish and Rich Gold pigment to add the highlights.
The lower piece used Ivory Powertex, stencilling and texture with Easy Structure. The acrylic inks and paints provide the intense colour and Easy Varnish with Rich Gold pigment was used for the highlights.
Keep an eye out on this Powertex Magazine for some fantastic step by step articles from my design team colleagues. They will show you other amazing projects you can create using these frames.
We love to see what you create so please post your makes on our Facebook group, The Powertex Studio. Inspire others to have a go.
This month the design team were challenged to follow and complete a design team members step by step from a previous article. This came with one stipulation that we did it with our own twist. There were so many I wanted to do but in the end Abigail’s bright summer canvas caught my attention, it had a clock face! After all, the clocks go back very soon! My twist was to make it a real working Powertex clock with an autumn/fall styling.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a Powertex tutor? Our tutors come from different backgrounds and have built creative businesses that suit them, from weekend crafty meet-ups to full time, social entrepreneur. Read their stories and if you think you have what it takes to be a Powertex tutor, get in touch.
Building a dream
Abigail from Curiously Contrary says “Being made redundant was the push that I needed to properly consider developing my part time creative practice into a business. It has been a lot of hard work and a steep learning curve but it has also been fantastic fun and infinitely rewarding. I still have to pinch myself to make sure it isn’t all a dream and I have absolutely no plans to go back to having a ‘real job’ any time soon!”
Does this sound like your dream come true? Find out more about becoming a Powertex tutor by emailing Michele at Powertex UK.
Training in the different products and techniques is available and you can succeed with hard work and supported by Powertex UK and fellow tutors. Every tutor runs their own unique workshops, allowing them to be creative with the products and offer something personal. There are now Powertex Academies across England offering tutor training too.
Supporting and encouraging others
Jaxs from Vintage Crafts by Jaxs says “I discovered Powertex and loved it straight away and I’ve been a tutor just over a year. I’m also a Slimming world consultant and a Zumba instructor. My Saturdays are free so that’s usually when I’m doing workshops. I’d say to anyone thinking about becoming a tutor, Go for it!!!! It’s that moment when your students see the finished item and their face is saying wow, it makes me think yep, I’m glad I did this.”
Do you love watching others create and succeed like Jaxs? Take a look at Powertex UK on Facebook to see what we’re about.
Giving back to the community
Donna from Art and Murals says “I love running Powertex workshops because they enable me to make a contribution to the Royal Papworth Hospital Charity. I call my workshops Art 4 A Heart Workshops and a part of my profits gets donated to the hospital as my way of saying thank you for giving me back my husband when he had his heart transplant.
I get the freedom of running my business as an independent business woman, with the added bonus of the support and advice from my fellow tutors and the guys at headquarters if I need it. Win win really.”
Would you like to run a socially minded creative business like Donna?
Dawn from Daybreak Crafts says “I have crafted for a number of years, right back to the 1980’s when I used to create cross stitched items to sell at craft fairs. One of my friends owned a well known craft company and offered me a job. Whilst I was working on a stand at the NEC, I met Tracey Evans and loved what she was demoing. I mentioned to Tracey I would be interested in becoming a tutor and did my training. I am currently in the process of selling off all my ‘clean’ crafting items as I have concluded I am not a clean crafter and much prefer mixed media type crafting.”
Are you looking to share your crafting experience like Dawn?
Getting creative and making friends
Bridget from Magic Garden – Lyddle Folk says “During the week I’m a meticulously tidy, organised accounts assistant. At the weekend I’m up to my elbows in Powertex letting my imagination run free and helping others to do the same. I do the workshops in my dining room with groups of 3-4 or one to ones. I’m able to do one or two a month, with the odd commission thrown in.
Most of my customers just want the chance to get out, have fun and meet others. The fact that they are so delighted by what they achieve is a bonus. Whether I do a whole day or just a half day, the workshops are always something I look forward to.”
Do you want to get creative and connect with other like minded people like Bridget?
Find out more about becoming a tutor
If you’re passionate about Powertex and would love to share it with others through your own creative business, we’d love to hear from you. Email Michele at Powertex UK if you think being a Certified Powertex Tutor is for you. You can also find us on Facebook. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.
For this month’s articles the Powertex Design Team were asked to look back over the archives and put our own spin on a previous creation by one of our colleagues. What an inspiration it was going back over past Powertex sculptures and creations. I was spoilt for choice. However, the one creation that stopped me in my tracks was the Powertex Halloween Ghoul from October 2018, by the very talented Anna Emelia Howlett, of Rosehart Designs.
I have to admit to have never having watched a Harry Potter film in my life. I was unsure what a dementor was, but I liked the challenge of doing something so outside of my comfort zone.
However, this was not to be an exact copy of Anna’s brilliant
design. My take on it was to create a
smaller one, who could be worn on the shoulder to watch over me as Halloween
approaches. Whether he is friend or foe remains to be seen.
“Where there is no imagination there is no horror” So says Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s book A Study in Scarlet.
Anyone who has ever watched a horror film with me will testify that I have a very vivid imagination. It was still great fun creating this little Powertex dementor though
I poked some wire in the base of my skull for a neck, and then built shoulders using wire, foil and masking tape.
I added on long bony fingers with some extra wire.
I painted him in black Powertex and added kitchen roll for texture.
I soaked thin cloth in Black Powertex Fabric Hardener for his cloak.
I decided to enlarge his mouth and eyes by making holes with scissors.
Once my ghoul had dried I added the final touches of dry brushing, using Anna’s choice of pigments.
Getting it to sit upright on my jacket was a challenge.
Initially I had planned to use velcro, but decided I didn’t want his company on
a permanent basis, only on spooky nights.
I compromised by using big safety pins. As I had only used thin material I was able to push pins through his cloak, and also hook them over his bony hands. This ensured my ghoul stayed in place and looks over my shoulder as long as I want him to.
I hope you have enjoyed my take on Anna’s Powertex ghoul. Any comments you wish to leave would be greatly appreciated. You can see the original ghoul over on Anna’s blog here. We’d love to see your take on a Powertex Ghoul, over on our Facebook page The Powertex Studio.
You can see more of what I get up to over on my website or my facebook page. That’s all from me for this month. Until September take care, keep on creating, and may all your ghouls be friendly ones 🙂
For this months article, we were asked to follow another design team member’s tutorial. Brilliant idea but having to decide which one to follow was no easy task, I spent ages looking through the last couple of years and finally decided that I would follow Anna’s Christmas Powertex bauble blog. You can find that HERE.
I started by mixing Easy 3d Flex and some 3D balls and 3D sand with some Ivory Powertex. I also added a few drops of water.
TIP: I changed from what Anna used, she used Easy structure and I wanted to use the 3D flex as it I love using it.
I immersed some thin strips of stockinette into my mixture making sure the material got a good coating. I then painted a layer of the mixture, leaving off the balls, all over my polystyrene ball. This gives the material a key to adhere to. I then draped the mixed material around the ball.
Covering the bauble
I added the rest of the mixture with a plastic palette knife to fill all the left over gaps and left to dry.
TIP: Like Anna, I also used a jewellery finding. I wrapped a bit of wire around the finding and stuck it in my ball for a loop.
Spray with Bister
Hmm I did not take a photo of this step as I must have got a tad excited with what I was doing. I sprayed the dried Polystyrene ball with the blue and brown bister sprays. Then I wiped it back with a baby wipe and let that dry.
TOP TIP: You can speed up the drying time with a hairdryer, if you don’t want to wait. When I use Easy 3D flex I prefer to let it dry naturally as you get amazing cracks.
I now dry brushed with the Easy Varnish using the Limoncello gold this step makes your piece pop and really stand out.
Adding the star
For the star I used up all the left over mixture from step one and added it to the wooden star to give it a new look. I had some course sand in my stash and mixed in that to give it a different texture. Transparent Powertex is used to adhere it down to my bauble.
As it is a Christmas bauble, I felt mine needed a bit of sparkle for when the Christmas lights hit it. I used some glass gems and bling in coordinating colours.
Adding some pieces of metallic foil to the star and stockinette gave that bit of extra bling. I find sometimes that it is knowing when to stop adding!
So Anna, thank you for inspiring me to recreate this article.
If you would like more Powertex inspiration, you can find loads of eye candy on…
As a tutor I’m often asked how I come up with all my ideas and what Inspires me. My first answer is everything. I’m sure we all know a Powertex crafter that is inspired by everything around them and has a list longer than their arms of inspirations.
Are you like me, someone who hoards every Powertex-able thing in sight from recyclables to a plethora of textures? The thing is all these inspirations form ideas and grow into creations. Could it be an inanimate item in a charity shop you imagine as something else. Could it be a feeling or connection in a place, maybe a vision or inspiration from another artists work?
Whatever your inspiration is, there’s usually a theme. My theme is often nature and animals or a bit of fantasy. In this month article I’m going to show and briefly talk about a few of the animals and creatures I’ve created since finding Powertex.
In the early days with Powertex fabric hardener
One of the first animals I created was this Frog. Now I thought he was ugly, even for a frog! But someone at an event fell in love and begged for me to sell her him a few days after creation, she adored him.
Inspired by moon gazey hares now, but wanting to try a stronger base to work on. I studied images to try get the shape right, without a 3D model it can be tricky to get anatomical correctness. This little guy however turned out more bunny sized than hare. I loved it all the same, as above, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
Practice pays off
As time has gone on I learnt from ‘happy accidents’. They give you a learning curve, room for growth. I’ve also learnt that I do prefer to sculpt with the stone art clay as a first go to material. I find it easier for me to manipulate and build up the shape more naturally. These black bird and octopus are sculptures I’ve made with Stone art clay.
Getting a little quirky
Adding a twist of fantasy
The exciting thing about fantasy animals is that you can work on inspirations of nature’s animals and add a fantasy touch to it. Let’s face it, when you see some of natures wacky designs on many animals, birds and creatures, it does make you wonder if unicorns and dragons were actually real?! My first blog for the Powertex team was just this kind of unique style (see here).
Final fantasy animal
My last piece of inspiration is to finish with one of my all-time favorite makes, my ‘wicker basket’ dragon. Another piece that spoke to me of it’s purpose at the tutor retreat challenge.
Inspiration isn’t always easy, sometimes we need to be shown an idea through tutorials or going to a workshop. Still needing inspiration? Find your nearest tutor in the tutor directory here.
Powertex is at it’s best when used to upcycle/recycle items we would normally pop in the bin. It is perfect for transforming everyday objects into a sculpture, either for the house or garden.
When I was asked to make a 3d animal from recycled materials, I began saving all sorts of items that would normally have been thrown out. Unfortunately when I came to start the project Karl had tidied up and thrown it all out! A visit to the loft was called for where I found an old hearth brush. Perfect for a tail – and just the job for a dog.
Animals are not something I make very often, but once started I enjoyed the process. As usual, I learnt quite a lot whilst making this project and am already looking forward to making more.
Easy 3D comes as a heavy powder that is mixed with Powertex Fabric Hardener to create a clay. The clay is like dough and can be applied to canvas art as well as sculpture. It’s designed to crack as it dries which can leave deep cracked textures in the surface.
If you would like to try some Easy 3D Flex for yourself you can find it at Powertex UK. Need a little help to make up the clay? Just go to the instruction sheet at the bottom.
Powertex Design Team examples
The Design Team love to use this clay. Here’s some examples of how they’ve used it in their creations.
This planet art project by Jill has a tutorial in the Magazine, click on the image to open.
Shell’s beautiful Mandala art also has a tutorial, click on the image to see her step by step blog.
This art doll kit is highly textured. You can see how Abigail puts this together in her tutorial, click on the image.