Powertex Creature Comforts

Designer – Shell North

What inspires me?

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.

Creature Comforts

Creature comforts Powertex by Shell North
Creature Comforts by Shell North

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.

Frog sculpture in Powertex by Shell North
Ugly frog. Made from an inflated balloon base and Powertex coated cotton scraps.
Moon gazey hare bunny sculpture by Shell North
Moon gazey ‘bunny’ By Shell North. Made using Wire amateur, foil, masking tape and Powertexed hessian scraps

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.

Black bird Powertex sculpture
Black bird, by Shell North. Made from Powertex stone art clay on polystyrene egg base.
Powertex octopus by Shell North
Powertex Octopus by Shell North. Made using wire armature, foil, Powertex stone art clay and Powertexed fabric
(Find Octopus tutorial here)

Getting a little quirky

Ginger cat Powertex by Shell North
Ginger quirky cat by Shell North. Made using bottle base, Powertex ivory stone art clay mix and red bister.
Black cat sculpture in Powertex by Shell North
Black quirky cat by Shell North. Made using bottle base, lead grey Powertex stone art clay mix and black bister.

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).

Blue bird of paradise sculpture Powertex by Shell North
Powertex birds of paradise by Shell North. Made using mdf bird template, foil masking tape and blue stone art clay.

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.

Dragon Powertex by Shell North
Dishy the dragon by Shell North. Made using a wicker plant basket, foil, masking tape, Powertexed dish cloths and Powertex stone art clay.

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.

Fancy making an animal sculpture with me? Find me here at The Crafty Little Corner.

Well that’s all from me this month, I hope I have left you with plenty of animal and creature inspiration.

Peace, love and creature comforts,

Shell x

Stormy Sea Tag with Powertex

Designed by – Donna Mcghie

Powertex stormy sea tag scene using mdf tags by Donna Mcghie
Seascape tag

Tags are really popular in the crafting world at the moment. For my stormy sea tag, I’m using the A5 tag from Powertex UK. They are great quality to work with, whatever your style of crafting.

Don’t you just love the fact that we all have our own individual style?  Obviously style evolves as we experiment and learn new techniques.  My own style I would describe as rather haphazard.  I’ve never been one for over thinking a project. 

Once many years ago an art tutor declared my work to be very ‘organic’. Initially I wasn’t quite sure how to take this, but I think I know what she was getting at. As an artist I like to allow my paint, Powertex, or whatever medium I’m using to have a life of it’s own.  You could say I’m a ‘go with the flow’ kind of a girl.

Go With The Flow

What do I mean by ‘go with the flow?’ Well, according to the artist Jenny Holzer “Going with the flow is soothing but risky.” I find it soothing to allow Powertex to take on a life of it’s own. I also love the sense of risk, the excitement of never quite knowing what I will end up with.

That could be why I love stormy seascapes. How wonderful that everyone’s storm will end up slightly different.

Materials list:

1: Prepare with White Powertex

Prepare mdf with white powertex
A5 tag and lighthouse mdf

Sponge Powertex White over MDF pieces and set aside to dry.

2: Blue Bister

Powertex mdf tab with blue bister and white fabric hardener for sky
Powertex Blue Bister makes a perfect blustery sky

Spray Powertex Ready Mixed Blue Bister on the top third of the tag. Use a damp sponge wipe away spaces for the clouds.

3: Adding fabric strips

Powertex mdf lighthouse template
I set this aside to dry for a while

Soak denim strips in transparent hardener to for sections of the lighthouse and paint the top.  A blast of ready mixed black bister gives a rugged effect.

4: Pouring Powertex

powertex mdf tag with bisters and fabric hardeners for stormy waves
This was my favourite part, where I got to ‘go with the flow’

Fun Time! Pour blue fabric hardener with smidgeon of white for the wave. Whilst still wet spray with green bister and blast with dryer for movement and crackles.

5: Place the lighthouse

powertex stormy seascape tag with lighthouse
It’s starting to come together

Place the lighthouse into position. Almost there now, just a couple of final touches and your picture will be complete.

6: Adding texture

powertex texture on mdf tag
Time for some texture

Steel grey pigment with some easy structure paste create a rock for the lighthouse to stand on, and 3D Sand with Yellow Ochre Powertex form a shoreline. If you wish to add a few more wild white touches with a pallet knife, go for it.

Finished Piece

Although this is only A5 in size, I think it packs a punch.  As I stated above, this was very much a ‘go with the flow’ project. 

Of course does help to have a rough idea of composition to keep the image interesting. Being a fan of the so called rule of thirds so, I placed my focal point (the lighthouse) to the left of the scene.

I also roughly directed the white foam on the wave to guide the eye up towards my focal point.

Powertex tag by Donna Mcghie
Stormy sea tag
The finished stormy sea tag

Please do post photos of your own stormy sea tags over on the Powertex Facebook Page, we love seeing what you create. Also feel free to leave any comments on here.

You can get tips on using Stone Art clay on a canvas seascape in last month’s blog.

I’m the Powertex tutor for Southampton, so if you are interested in a workshop please pop over to my website where details can be found on the blog section. More info on Jenny Holzer can be found here.

That’s all from me for now folks. Keep on going with the flow and see you next month.