Queen of Hearts

Designed by Alex Henry Mixed Media

Off with his head

January’s monthly Powertex challenge is Alice in Wonderland, now doesn’t that just conjure up all sorts of exciting possibilities. Dave and I put on our thinking caps and started to work around all things teapots and cups. Out of nowhere an idea popped into my head, a Queen of Hearts Bones.

I have been thinking of getting out my old sewing machine and doing a bit, this would work well with my idea. I had some perfect fabrics in my stash for this, so let the fun begin. We did have to reign in a bit here as we were getting carried away.

Powertex Queen of Hearts Bones by Alex Henry Mixed Media
Powertex Queen of Hearts Bones by Alex Henry Mixed Media

Materials

How to make a Queen of Hearts Bones

The first step was for Dave to make me a stand and fix a head on it or in our case a skull. Build a body using foil and masking tape, also a dress shape for draping material over.

Attach this to a rather nice shaped bottle, this of course needs to be emptied first, not difficult with having just celebrated Christmas and New year. Coat the whole thing with black Powertex Universal Medium.

Dress the figure

Use white cotton fabric and cut the front panel of the dress covered with Black Powertex and fix it in place. Wrap another piece around the waist to start to form the beginning of a bodice. Once firmly attached I left it to dry overnight.

The next rather exciting stage was to start adding the coloured fabric. I made a gathered skirt using my heart fabric which fit around the back and joined up to the black panel on the front. You don’t need to sew, it can just be fixed in place with the Powertex. For this I used transparent Powertex as I wanted to keep the lovely pattern.

Powertex queen of hearts step by step by Patricia Williams

Add a waist band and a matching neckline. Make a generous bustle for the back of my queen of hearts using a bold black and white check. I also used transparent Powertex for this.

Time to let it dry out again overnight, you can of course use a drying box to speed things up but I always have other things on the go for times like this.

Powertex queen of hearts by Patricia Williams

To make her hair I used a plaster heart for this, hollowing the bottom so it fit on her head. I had some ginger curly hair which I chopped up and glued around the heart.

For the next stage make her a crown. This was a simple affair made with tin foil and masking tape then painted with black Powertex and dry brushed in rich gold pigment. (Mix the powder pigment with Easy Varnish.)

Finishing touches

A finishing touch was to make her a collar out of three playing cards. I won these in a slot machine on holiday, I knew they would come in useful! The last final touch was the Rabbit, (that was Dave’s idea).

So ladies and gents I give you my Queen of Hearts. Why don’t you have a go at making your version? Show us on The Powertex Studio and indeed any of your makes or enter the monthly challenge by the 25th January if you have a Wonderland themed make.

If you would like to see more of my work head over to my Facebook page Alex Henry.

Powertex Queen of Hearts Bones by Patricia Williams from Alex Henry MIxed Media

If this is your style, you might like our Gothic Fantasy Pram project too. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to bringing you more of my makes throughout the year.

Patricia

There’s snow place like gnome

Designed by Shell North

For my last blog I’m reminiscing from 4 years ago when I made my first ever Powertex Gnome ‘Amon the Shaman’. He was inspired by a supposed origins story of Santa, collecting Fly agaric, flying with his reindeer and delivering presents.

My original Powertex gnome seems to have inspired a flourish of gnome making. They are one of my most requested items to make in my workshop schedules. So I decided this, my last article of the year would be dedicated to them.

Powertex gnome by Shell North
‘Amon the Shaman’ First Powertex gnome by Shell North inspired by the legends.

So the legend as I heard it…

*Take this tale as you please, a bit of fun or maybe something to make you think…*

The image as we know

Long before the early 20th century Coca Cola adverts, Santa was commonly depicted as more of a gnome-like little man.

Gnome Santa

As old as tales

The origins of Santa’s style, and his bag of goodies, flying reindeer, entering through a chimney to deliver gifts, Pine tree’s may link way back to the ancestral traditions of a number of indigenous arctic circle dwellers. (He may well have come from the North Pole after all!)

On the run up to solstice the village shaman would go out to gather mushrooms, they would wear a mainly red outfit with either white trim or white dots, in honor of the mushroom’s colors.

The eve of festivities

On the eve of the Winter Solstice the shaman of the village would gather Fly agaric mushrooms. They would use them to travel on a spiritual journey to the (pine) tree of life. The tree of life located by the North Star held the answer to solve all the village’s problems for the coming year.

The Shamans would feed the Fly agaric to reindeer, their digestive systems can filter out most of the toxins. This makes (dare I say it) their bodily excretion safe for humans to drink.

*Warning* Fly agaric mushrooms are seriously toxic for humans to consume. So I am in no way promoting it! Maybe this is where the saying don’t eat yellow snow comes from?!

Solstice celebrations

The legend says that the shaman and reindeer would journey (fly) to the tree by the north star to retrieve the gifts of knowledge. These gifts would then be taken back to distribute to the rest of the village.

Returning home to the village yurt, for solstice. He would enter through the hole in the roof. The hole acted as a chimney with a central pole that held the yurt up over the fireplace. In gratitude for these gifts they would decorate Pine trees with offerings.

So that’s it, the story I’d heard that inspired my original gnome creation

Modern celebrations

It seems that maybe some of these traditions were carried down to the European pagans, taking on elements originating much farther north. Inevitably different cultures influenced one another due to migration and intermarriage, becoming merged with many other cultural traditions that we celebrate differently from one another today.

However you celebrate at this time of year, give thanks for any gifts, kind/wise words. Share precious times with your loved ones, and in your community (never let anyone go lonely). look towards the New year and the light that builds ever brighter from now until summer.

More about gnomes

Of course after my first gnome I loved making them, you can make them for any time of year. Here are a few of my gnomes that have developed over the years

Powertex gnomes by Shell North
Gnomes from top right to left: Amon the Shaman, Dumbledor, Norma,
Bottom right to left: Oakley, Noel, Nose-stradamus.
By Shell North
Powertex gnome by Shell North
‘Nose-stradamus’ the gnome.
My latest up graded gnome with new nose design made from Powertex stone art clay
– He predicts gnome domination 🙂

If you fancy making one of these little guys with me, my next gnome workshop is Feb 1st, find more info here.

Well that’s all from me, thank you for taking the time to read my blogs this year.

I hope you all have many festive blessings.

Peace, love and cheeky gnomes,

Shell x

Scared Crow Scarecrow!

Designer – Annette Smyth

Powertex Scared Crow Scarecrow by Annette Smyth

Hello, welcome to my latest article. This month the design team were invited to use a step by step article from another design team member as a source of inspiration. I chose to use the Scarecrows in September by Fiona Potter as I loved this little man as soon as I saw him. However, I wanted to put my own spin on the project so decided that instead of a scarecrow I would create a scared crow. He would make a fantastic Autumnal centrepiece for the table and I can see him surrounded by a group of ornamental gourds.

Materials Used

How to make a Scared Crow Scarecrow

Building the armature

Step 1. Build the armature and head

Attach dowel to base with tape.  Use foil  to build head, neck and beak onto this.  Cover with tape ensuring it is secure.

adding the arms

Step 2. Add the Arms

Gather a small bunch of twigs and secure with masking tape. Secure these to the ends of the dowel with more tape.

building the body

Step 3. Build the body

Using foil fill out arms.  Tape cardboard rolls to wooden base, cut to required length and fill in the torso with more foil.  

Cover everything with tape and coat with a layer of black Powertex.

Adding feet

Step 4. Add the feet

Use 2 more twig bunches, dip strips of gauze in Black Powertex and wrap around tape on the twigs then slide up the tube legs.

The head

Step 5. Cover the head

Coat the hessian in Black Powertex and shape around the head and down neck. Push eyes into place.

Dressing the scared crow using Powertex fabric hardener

Step 6. Dress the Crow

Using Transparent Powertex I dipped the fabric as follows

  • a square of fabric for the top – cut a hole in the centre to fit over the head.
  • rectangles for the dungaree legs
  • smaller rectangles for the dungaree bib
  • strips for the shoulder straps
  • a length of rope for the belt

DESIGNER TIP – You could choose your fabrics to suit your own rooms colour scheme?

Step 7. Make the Hat

The video below will show you how I made the hat. I decorated mine with Paper decoration dipped in Black Powertex.

WHY NOT try using hessian to give a straw hat effect?

Dry brush the hat for the scared crow

Step 8. Drybrush the hat

I used Powertex Easy Varnish and Yellow Ochre Powercolor to drybrush the hat .

Watch my video here if you’re not sure how to drybrush.

Finishing touches with Powetrex powercolor

Step 9. Finishing touches

Using Transparent Powertex I added fallen acorn husks to the hat, dungarees and base.

I hope you have as much fun as I did creating your very own scared crow. There is no end to the different types of scarecrows you could make. How about a scaredog or scarecat…..What scare animal would you create?

We love to see what you create so post your makes on our Facebook group – The Powertex Studio and inspire other people to have a go.

If you would like to see more of my work or join me for a workshop in my home studio then please take a look at my website – www.annettesmyth.co.uk or contact me via my Facebook page.

Until next time Happy Creative Adventures

Axx

Masai Collection

In August our product of the month is the Masai Collection. This is a collection of plaster head/busts that can be used to create stunning figurines and statues. You may have seen “Agnes” recently on our Hochanda tv shows.

The plaster pieces can be painted with Powertex Fabric Hardener and attached to a stand with foil and masking tape. Use Powertex Fabric Hardener to paint, glue and dress your statues.

Powertex Masai figure by Annette Smyth
Figures by Annette Smyth

Fabric sculpting with Powertex is easy on these figures because Powertex and gravity do all the work for you. The fabric will fall into beautiful folds and you can pinch and press the fabric into shape to fit the figure as you like. You can also use Transparent Powertex if you have a fabric that you love, just test a little first!

Tutor samples

Some of our tutors have been busy creating beautiful figure sculptures for their workshops, just take a look at these.

Mala by Joanne Connelly
Mala by Joanne Connelly
Powertex Masai Figures by Eve Warden
Masai figures by Eve Warden
Masai figure by Gill Goldsmith
Agnes by Gill Goldsmith
Masai figure Mala by Jill Cullum
Mala by Jill Cullum
Masai figure by Kim McKelvie
Nola by Kim McKelvie
Mala by Jinny Holt
Masai figure by Jinny Holt
Masai figures by Annette Smyth
Figures by Annette Smyth

Get supplies

If you would like to try your own figure sculpture you can find all you need at Powertex UK. The Masai collection are available to buy individually and the range extends to other styles so take a look at the whole range. The busts are approximately 10 cm high so they fit the wooden stands perfectly.

Anne has created a flower girl figure if this theme isn’t your style. We love to see what you create so if you have a figure to share, hop over to the Facebook group at Powertex Addicts United and join our community group, The Powertex Studio.

If you’d like to hear more about Powertex products and how to use them, follow us on Facebook at Powertex UK.

Powertex Flower Girl

Powertex Flower Girl Figurine Garden Sculpture with Powertex (by Anne)

This is my first attempt at a Powertex flower girl figurine. She took me a long time to finally get finished, having started her over a year ago at my Level 1 Powertex Tutor Training! Now that she is finally done I love my Flower Girl – and I call her ‘Bestower of Beauty’.

Powertex flower girl

She stands approx. 49cm high.

Materials used:

How it was done:

The body was shaped over the wooden pole using the card inner tube stuffed and wrapped with foil and covered with masking tape. The plaster head was taped onto the top.

T shirt yarn was then wound tightly around the torso and down to the base of the pole. I made a bit of a decorative wrap over the torso to create the dress bodice. The whole thing was then given a coat of Bronze Powertex, working it well into the fabric.

Powertex flower girl

Fabrics were then coated with Powertex and draped over the body to create the clothing. I used a knitted fabric (Stockinette) to create the illusion of arms by allowing the knit to curl around on itself to give dimension.

A small amount of Power Cotton was added to make small hair plaits draped over her shoulder, and fine lace added to make a headdress. Another piece of T shirt yarn was used to create a tie belt and helped to hold the skirt securely in place. The crochet skirt was draped down and over the base.

During the training course I started the dry brushing technique, mixing pigments into Easy Varnish, to add some colour and bring out the different textures. I used Bronze Colortricx to colour the face, shoulders and hair, plus to add colour around the base. Blue and green Powercolors were used (mixed with a little white) to dry brush and highlight clothing texture.

I was delighted with what I had achieved but came home with my figurine always intending to add more colour (you know how I LOVE colour) and floral embellishments to turn her into a gorgeous flower girl. Sadly she sat in the corner for around a year before I finally pulled her back onto my work bench!

Powertex flower girl

I began by adding much more colour, intense in places, to colour her clothing using the new colours from The Secret Art Loft. I tried to keep most of this colour to the top layers of texture so as to keep depth in the fabric folds. I also added more colour to her face and lips, plus a little shading over the eye lids.

Powertex flower girl

Flower and leaf embellishments were created using Art Stone mixed with Powertex to make a clay which was pressed into silicone moulds. When dry they were coloured with Secret Art Loft Pigments mixed with Easy Varnish and glued in place with Powertex. I also created a suggestion of arms and hands using Stone Art clay. The bad modelling was disguised by carefully placing the bouquet of flowers in her arms – ha ha.

Powertex flower girl

The flowers were also applied onto her dress and down around the base. More texture was added to the base by sprinkling 3D Sand & Balls into wet Powertex.

Powertex flower girl

I spiralled the flowers down and around the hem of her skirt.

Powertex flower girl

Here you can see lots of textures in her outfit, and pretty coloured flowers in her hair.

AW Flower Lady 9

Another view showing her back.

AW Flower Lady 10

She looks beautiful standing in the garden. Although she is weather proof I would definitely have to add extra weight (e.g. a concrete base) or add a small garden spike to the base, as she is very vulnerable to toppling over in the wind. I am going to be keeping her indoors so she will be ok as she is.

AW Unicorn and Lady 2

However, she does look gorgeous alongside my unicorn! I might change my mind and adapt the base for outdoors – sure that I have a bit of broken paving slab somewhere – that would do the trick.

I hope that you like my Powertex flower girl figurine ‘Bestower of Beauty’. You can view my last blog here

 Bye for now, Anne x.