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.
Stone Art Clay Birds of Powertex Paradise by Shell North
In December my first Design team blog goodie box arrived! I was so excited!!! I was given the theme of a pair of birds and these are some of the items I received to create something with stone art clay to hopefully inspire others. (eggs, molds and dies are my own)
I did some research for birds in the style of these new MDF bases. I’m usually quite inspired by nature but nothing I found tickled my imagination. So decided to create something whimsical and a little different. Something from my imagination that may represent a bird of paradise. Because sometimes we need thoughts of warmer places of tropical paradise in these colder month in the UK….
Powertex uk’s favourite product of the month is Stone Art, I decided I was going to use stone art as a clay to cover this piece. I also pulled out my bottle of Blue Powertex liquid art medium. Although I love this colour, I just don’t use it enough! Mixing equal parts of Blue Powertex to stone art powder until I couldn’t stir it anymore. I kneaded it like dough until the stone art granules could not be seen. This was wrapped in cling film and left for a few hours while I prepped everything else.
First step was to create the bird shape was cut two polystyrene eggs in half long ways and attach them to the breast areas of the MDF bases with masking tape. Molding the 3D shape of the birds with foil and covering in masking tape. Keeping the holes in the MDF bases open for the wire wings by piercing through the eggs with wooden skewers. Then threading some wire through the bottom holes, I created a wing shape. Inserting the ends of the wires back in through the top holes on both birds, covering in foil and masking tape again. I built up the rest of the birds bodies as before with foil and masking tape.
Now the birds were fully covered in tape I pushed them onto the 2 pin metal base and molded legs for the birds with foil and tape as before to secure them.
The clay I had made earlier was now ready to use, so I warmed it slightly by kneading. I took clumps and rolled it out into sheets about 5mm thick. Wet the underneath with a little water and smoothed onto the birds piece by piece. To blend the areas as one, I again used a little water my finger tips and a small pallet knife. I also made some feather molds from the clay and added to the tail area of the birds.
For the wings I used one of my favorite texture products…. paper decor, available in a variety of colours. Today I used pink because the blue Powertex is quite dark the colour of the paper decor won’t show through. I cut feather shapes out of it and worked blue Powertex liquid hardener into each piece before smoothing on both sides of the wings.
Next I took Bronze (brown) stone art clay. Made with stone art and bronze brown Powertex art medium from a recent workshop. Rolled a long thin sausage shape and molded the beak shapes smoothing them into place. I covered the legs using stone art clay with my finger tips, a little water and small pallet knife.
I created a small repetitive feather texture all over the birds body on the still wet clay. By pressing the silicone texture pad against areas I needed texture. I wanted to create webbed feet, using left over wire from the wings I shaped bird feet. And covered in masking tape before paining them black with black Powertex universal medium.
I decided to add wire crests to the birds to give extra interest. By pushing thin wire through the clay and curling them at the ends. I chose some green glass eyes and pushed them into the clay. I decided to be a little quirky with the colour of the legs, as I’m creating whimsical birds. So I painted the legs stripy using licorice twist and clotted cream acrylics.
Well the finished piece can be seen below…..Thanks for reading my first blog as part of the Powertex UK Design team. I hope you all enjoyed what I created this time. Do join me again next month when I’m back with another article.
Don’t forget all the items used are hyperlinked. Click the highlighted text and it’ll take you straight to items you require, to save you time searching. Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions below.
In the mean time why not look through all the new and old blogs. Provided for you by the Powertex UK Design team and guests. You can also find me at The Crafty Little Corner. Send me a message if you would like to do this workshop with me. Or find me on my Facebook page sharing new ideas, hints, tips and a whole lot of Powertex inspiration.
Please spread the love and share this and other blogs.
Good morning fellow creative people, my project for January was a pair of MDF birds and they look like Cranes which are very similar to Herons, well I think so, which is a bird I see on a more or less daily basis when I take our dog for a walk by the river, so my cranes have now become herons.
I have to confess in my head I was going to do freestanding birds, not dissimilar to a fellow Design team member, so I had to rethink how I was going to bring my birds to life. Then it hit me, why not do them on canvas! So this was my train of thought. I had an old powertex canvas and decided to recycle this as the backdrop for my birds.
In fact, I already quite liked this canvas as a backdrop and helped me to plan a backdrop for my birds. I then added some extra texture to this canvas, using TRANSPARENT POWERTEX to help adhere my texture to the canvas.
I had a rummage through my stash and found these old split washers and nuts, which I overlayed over pieces of odd scraps of lace and PAPERDECORATION and a little bit of stone art paste which has added more texture to the canvas.
TOP TIP ~ when using paper decoration, spray with water before soaking in Powertex, it will react quicker and thus save creative time ~
I have also added some little pegs to give the illusion of reeds.
I added extra texture on the sun part of the old canvas with stone art clay.
I next painted the whole canvas with a thin layer of Ivory Powertex, just to give it a base for the new colour.
I then painted my canvas with pigment colours and the secret art loft paints.
TOP TIP ~ Did you know you can use your pigment colours like watercolours?
I would not use this technique if your project is to go outside, you will need the varnish for this but as my project is a canvas, this is fine.
I stuck with colours that were related to the scene, which I helped by spraying over with a water bottle as I wanted it fairly transparent in colour… DARK BLUE which I absolutely love, brown tones for the reeds and red, orange and pink tones. Now for the magical part, dry brushing … I did the dry brushing next and painted my pair of birds in BLACK POWERTEX and made some stone art clay and added this for texture to the body and neck of the birds.
I next concentrated on the wings and made a rough shape of the wings with some wire and then covered them in lace scraps that I found which resembled a feather shape
At this point, I decided to leave it all to dry overnight.
The black sticks are now going to be my bird’s legs as I cut off the ones from the bird template.
I added some discs to the underside of the birds, so when it was all assembled they would have a height to them.
Once I assembled the birds to the canvas, I then decided to do some dry brushing to showcase all the texture and add some depth to them. I started off with the silver pigment and varnish and then topped it up with white pigment, which added extra highlights to the texture on the wings and bodies.
I took some close up photos so you can see all the yummy texture. I hope that I have inspired you to create with Powertex.
You can find all the materials you need at Powertex UK
Well here we are at the start of a new year and for me a new challenge. I am thrilled to be back on the Powertex Design Team for a third year and this year I want to push my own boundaries further. I’ve never been comfortable with sculpting but have always admired my team mates and other artists who are and whose work leaves me in awe. We all have to start somewhere and this is my beginning and I would love you to join me on this journey.
I’m not alone in the concerns about the damage our environment is experiencing and the struggle much of our wildlife has in continually adapting. The Heron is an ancient bird that was around in fossil times, you can find more information here.
The photos follow my written steps left to right.
Step 1 – I have used a variety of materials, mainly cheap foil and masking tape to fill out the body of the Powertex bird mdf templates. These were to be mounted onto the large 2 pin metal base so I played around with both templates to get my layout. You will notice that I did make a change ending up with both birds facing forward. I removed the smaller bird so that I could work freely on the larger one.
Step 2 – I made up some Stone Art Clay starting with equal quantities of Grey Powertex and Stone Art powder. As I have quite arthritic hands, I find it easier to work in small quantities and I made a total of 5 batches of clay each starting with around 200ml of powertex liquid. I wrapped each batch in cling film to stop it drying out.
Step 3 – Once I had covered the armature including the leg I covered the wings with masking tape.
Step 4 – I pulled lilac Paperdec into strips that would be long enough to drape over both sides of the wings. I brushed Powertex over the wing area and worked Powertex into the pieces of Paperdec one strip at a time until both wings were well covered and looked reasonably symmetric. I also re-positioned the wings slightly.
Step 5 – Before starting in this bird, I pushed the leg of the stand up into the armature to ensure there was a cavity without risking squashing the clay. I then worked the clay onto the smaller bird. As with the first bird, I painted a little Powertex onto the base before I worked the Stone Art Clay started with the far side i.e. the side that would be nearest the first bird.
Step 6 – Spread a generous amount of Powertex liquid onto the base and then press dry Stone Art powder into it. Repeat in patches until you get a nicely covered base. I also added some Paperdec onto the body to give an indication of the wing area.
Step 7 – Spray the base with blue Bister. Then spray the black Bister to create areas of shade. Leave the sculpture to dry overnight or until the clay is firm. I left mine for 2 days.
Step 8 – Using Secret Art Loft Clotted Cream and Secret Art Loft Liquorice Twist acrylic paint and a 1″ Powertex Flat Brush I started to give the birds character with a close nod to their true colours. I started by dry brushing the Liquorice Twist onto the lower wings on both sides. I then added some Clotted Cream into the black and continued over the top sections. Lightening several times until the wings had an ombre effect. At the same time I worked on the body of the birds. I also dry brushed some of the colour onto the base to bring out the detail.
I hope you like my interpretation of both the fabulous template and the Heron bird. If you are inspired by my blog to create your own, please acknowledge me. It’s great if we can help each other in the continuation of our craft. If you would like to learn this project with me please do get in touch.
Happy New Year everyone. I hope you had a peaceful Christmas and Santa brought you everything you need.
So here we go with a whole new year of creative adventures and to kick it off , I got to use these beautiful bird templates. They have so much potential and I have loads of ideas flying around my head for future projects.
In this blog I’d like to share my step by step instructions for how I made the templates into Japanese Cranes – with a little bit of artistic licence. I recommend you read through the instructions before starting.
You will also need 2 deep sided plastic containers, a small container (the foil base from a mince pie works well), cling film, brush and something to stir the clay mixture with ( I use the handle end of an old wooden spoon). Apron, gloves and plastic cover for your work area are also a good idea.
Building the armature
I started by using the foil to build up a more rounded shape on the head, neck and body of the bird templates. Keep checking the shape from all angles and compare the birds side by side to get the proportions right.
I built the wings separately and then taped them into place on the birds however you can build the into the body as you go.
When you are happy with the shapes slide them onto the metal spikes to check that they fit side by side. Make any necessary adjustments.
I attached the larger bird to the spike, at this stage, by securing with masking tape then building the leg shape with foil. Next I covered the whole bird with masking tape,
The smaller bird, I choose to work off the spike so that it would be easier to get around all sides of both birds with the clay. To enable you to attach the bird to the stand later, leave the legs of the smaller bird uncovered but cover the rest of the bird with masking tape. Make sure the hole for the spike does not get covered.
I then painted both birds with a coat of White Powertex.
Adding the clay
In one of the deep plastic containers, I mixed the White Powertex with the Stone Art to create clay (see the ‘how to video’ in my Penguin blog). Mix the clay to a soft dough consistency so that it is easier to apply to the birds. Once mixed wrap in clingfilm to stop it from drying out.
When you’re ready to start the sculpting, warm up your clay by kneading it thoroughly, then start applying to the birds in manageable pieces . I started at the beaks and worked down the neck and bodies. Smooth the clay out with your fingers making sure you thin it out where pieces lay over one another so that there is no bulky areas. Keep some clay for use on the small birds legs later on.
There is no need to put clay over the wings as these will be covered later.
I used approximately 250g of clay on the larger bird and 150g on the smaller bird. Don’t worry as any spare clay can be kept wrapped in clingfilm for a couple of weeks and will still be workable.
Shaping the wings
I then took strips of the white Paperdecoration and dipped it into the white Powertex. Work the Powertex through the paperdec and squeeze out any excess. It should be covered but not dripping.
Lay these strips over the wings working down towards the tail. To get thin wispy feather effects pull the paperdec apart once you have covered it in Powertex.
Next, I placed the small bird onto the base, attached it with masking tape, painted the legs with white powertex then covered with the spare white stoneart clay. I chose not to cover these with foil as they would have been too bulky.
Leave overnight to fully dry.
Mix a 10p amount of Easy varnish with each pigment to a single cream consistency. Use this to paint the beak (yellow ochre) head (red), eye and neck (black). Varnish dries very quickly so you will need to remix more as required.
Mix a dry brush blend of easy varnish and black pigment to make a thick paste. (see video below) Wipe off excess colour then use this to dry brush the wings. Make up a similar paste with black and a touch of white (grey), again wipe off the excess and use this mix to dry brush the legs.
Finally, I added some large 3d balls to a small container, sprayed generously with yellow bister then added enough transparent powertex to make the balls clump. I placed this onto the metal base and patted down. I repeated this until I had a nice covering on the base. I then dripped the remaining mixture into any gaps to help bond the balls. Leave overnight to dry
I hope you have enjoyed this project as much as I did.
I will be running full day workshops at my studio in Leamington Spa, on the following dates if you would like to join me to create a crane.
The Secret Art Box – Powertex UK Subscription craft box – by Anna Emelia Howlett
Inspiration for The Secret Art box January Powertex projects
Which lucky crafters got their hands on Januarys The Secret Art box?( The Powertex UK craft subscription box). Me I did!! I squeed a little and did a little dance when I saw the contents. If you don’t want to miss out on further boxes sign up here. I promised myself I would make some quick projects for you this time. So you are able to scratch that creative itch when you haven’t got as much time to spare.
“We wish you bluebirds in the spring, to give your heart a song to sing”
So my mind was racing with all sorts of ideas and I am going to share a few with you. You can get so much out of The Secret Art Box project wise. And here is the first I came up with.
Powertex mixed media box frame
Now I know what you are thinking hey that frame didn’t come in the kit. Whether you are an avid Powertex addict or you are just getting started. I’m sure you will have some sort of frame in your stash. If not use the layout and free hang it or create on a canvas. It really doesn’t matter what you do. There are no set rules with Powertex. But there is on thing you must have, that’s right FUN!!! This is supposed to be a time for letting go and relaxing. Setting some time aside for yourself to do what you love, crafting! And not having to do too much thinking!
To start your frame
I took a plain pine square box frame with the glass removed. I then sprayed it with mahogany and brown bister. The bister is a walnut stain spray that you can get from Powertex UK. So it will dye or stain the area you have used it on. It is a great addition to your stash. So if you haven’t got any definitely pop it on your wish list.
With some Ivory Powertex I mixed in a bit of the blue Powertex in the kit approx a teaspoon of each. Then dry brushed the frame all the way round leaving some of the stained wood peaking through. Next I mixed more blue and Ivory Powertex but a lighter shade and repeated the process. I also sanded back the frame a little because this helps some of the stained wood to show through. Then Taking the blueberry pie from the kit I dry brushed a little around the frame.
I took the blue paperdec (in the kit) and cut around the bird shape. I had some music paper in my stash that I wanted on the other bird. Using the music sheet paper was quiet apt due to the song bird type theme. I coated and stuck down the paper dec onto the mdf bird with the blue Powertex. With some Easy coat matt (another product I would recommend adding to your stash) I stuck the music paper onto the mdf shape.
Mixing bister granules and varnish together to make a brown stain to then apply and age the paper. You could spray it to give the same effect. Currently the bister comes in granules and spray form. So that you can make your own or have it premade in a spray bottle.
How to add the song sheet bird wing
I cut a shape out of music paper and glued on to the back of a cereal packet with Easy coat matt. To raise it off the bird I used the MDF mis-shapes they make great bumper pads. And will add depth instantly to projects.
For the backing board, I used some of the lace and scrim in the kit. To create texture I added some Easy structure. Liberally scrapped across the board with a palette knife and through the super cute stencil that comes with the kit. And then coated with the blue Powertex. Dry brushed with the blueberry pie acrylic and blue curacao pigment and varnish from the kit. (I didn’t prime it, just went straight on with Powertex, but you can if you wish).
Taking the branch I dabbed a little of the easy structure and 3d balls on the leaves. I coated the leaves with Blue Powertex and dry brushed with golden olive pigment from the kit. Sprayed the branch with brown and mahogony bister and varnished once dry. The bird house was sprayed with bister and dry brushed with Ivory Powertex. And the heart sing was created with items in my stash using the Powertex alphabet coated in blue Powertex and dry brushed in olive pigment.
I have to say I am really impressed with the new size bottle and the nozzle. It allows you to easily apply the Powertex. Also making it really easy to use a little at a time. (Powertex cures with the air, so you can’t put it back into the bottle once it’s poured out).
In the past I’ve had to pour out the Powertex onto my palette. But the nozzle controls the flow and I simply applied the Powertex straight onto pieces of my project leaving no waste. I used this handy bottle with nozzle like a glue to stick everything in place. The transparent in this handy sized bottle makes everything even easier to stick down. In case you have any seeping through the sides, as it dries clear.
How to create Powertex mixed media bird
With the cute wooden free standing bird I wanted to create a really simple, quick but effective project. I laid the bird shape on the textured paper, drew around it and cut it out. Then I stuck the paper down using the Blue Powertex.
Top Tip: Leave to dry and take a sanding block around the edges to take off any overhang.
Then coat the whole project with the Blue Powertex. It will act as a primer, glue and paint all in one. I chose some of the feather embellishments for the tail with a paper rose. The eye is a wooden embellishment with a diamond eye all stuck down with the Powertex nothing else. Just leave to dry. Then paint with blueberry pie acrylic. To finish I mixed a bit of the olive green pigment into the acrylic and dry brushed to finish.
LOVE BIRD JOURNAL
How to create a Powertex Journal
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t create a journal. I happen to have some mini books in my stash, waiting to be turned into journals. The left over textured paper was placed on the front and back cover at the bottom of the book. Material from my stash went at the top and the lace in the kit through the middle of the book. Some of the wavy yarn on the spine of the book.
The Plaster heart made a great feature/center piece. All coated and stuck with the Blue Powertex. Dry brushed with the blueberry pie, blue caracao and olive pearl pigment. After all these projects I had over half of my bottle of Powertex, acrylics and pigments. All left over for other projects! Awesome right?
With all the little embellishments left over I just couldn’t leave them out. So decided to make some paperclip banners for the journal. I have created a video here as a walkthrough. I hope you have enjoyed seeing these ideas.
Do share your makes if you have been inspired in the Powertex Studio. You can find me at Rosehart Studio or subscribe to my You Tube channel and look out for more videos. Toddles Anna xXx