The Secret Art Box – May

A Home Under the Sea

Designer – Jill Cullum

A home under the sea Powertex canvas by Jill Cullum
A home under the sea by Jill Cullum

I was so excited to receive my first ‘Secret Art Box’, and I was not disappointed when I opened it.  Full of possibilities to create this article with.  It’s a challenge of being given a box of ‘goodies’ and then creating out of my comfort zone.

Materials List

Inside the art box was a cute fish. I was in my element as my last article was based around my love of the beach. I wanted a different style this time, so with several possibilities in mind, I chose a canvas as my base.

Detail of Powertex canvas

The secret art box fish

Not content with one super cute fish, I wanted two!  With a sharp knife and careful cutting, I sliced the fish in half.  Using the reverse of the canvas I covered the top half with the nautical paper, using Easycoat Matt.  The bottom half cried out for some stone art and brown Bister. 

Powertex Secret Art Box May fish under the sea theme
Fish and clay details

The sea bed was created by adding texture with stone balls, material and clay pieces. The adorable mini ammonite moulds as well as the shell mould in the ‘Secret Art Box’ made the clay shapes.  The fish needed lots of lovely texture, you can really go to town with this, especially when adding colour.  Terragreen pigment works a treat for this theme. 

I love the way things develop as your creative piece comes together and I didn’t really have a picture of the finished piece in mind. It just happened along the way.  I hope you like it and feel inspired to create your own ‘home in the sea’.

Secret Art Box May is a Home under the sea Powertex canvas
Home under the sea detail

For more sea themed inspiration take a look at my last blog here.

I am looking forward to seeing your pieces of art, using the May ‘Secret Art Box’. Please share them at The Powertex Studio on Facebook.

Secret Art Box May Powertex project by Jill Cullum
Finished mixed media canvas by Jill Cullum

A little teaser of my next blog, which will take us from the sea, into the sky! Bye for now, Jill x

A kelp forest – under the sea

Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter

It was a beautiful, clear blue sky morning in the glorious heat of Summer 2018 we arrived at Porthgwarra Beach in far west Cornwall just as the tide was receding.  It’s such a beautiful cove and we kept spotting something in the water around the rocks and went to investigate.  It was a whole area of kelp – a Kelp Forest! Wandering through the pools left by the tide there were beautiful shells, stones and shiny pebbles.  This was my inspiration for this Under the Sea piece.

Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter
Under the sea: Kelp Forest

Supplies

How to make a Powertex kelp forest

Step 1: The ingredients
Step 2 - Setting in the wires

Step 1: Use either Stone Art or other air dry clay to push into moulds, leave to dry. Cut 9 or 10 lengths of wire and randomly drill holes into the mdf base.

Tip: I had a tennis ball size piece of Stone Art clay left over from a previous project that I kept. Spray water lightly over a piece of clingfilm which I wrapped tightly around the clay. I sealed it in a reusable plastic bag.

Step 2: Push wires into holes, secure with masking tape then rip lengths of masking tape sticking it the full length of both sides of the wire to create lengths of kelp.

The base

Step 3: Building the composition

Decorate the base

Step 3: Build a thick random layer of Easy Structure on the base, push shells, moulded sea shapes etc into the easy structure. Spray with bisters, set aside to dry.

Tip: If you use a large central shell like I did, it is worth masking off with some cling film or paper before you spray with bister

Step 4: Washing back and adding a top layer

The kelp

Step 4: Wash back the bister from shells and shapes. Use red ochre to colour some of the coral like shapes. Add a generous layer of transparent Powertex fabric harder on the base and drop in mixed art stones.

Step5: Adding the Kelp

Metallic colours

Step 6: Bringing out the colour

Step 5: Rip up lengths of pale green tissue paper and paste onto the kelp using transparent Powertex. Leave to dry. Transparent Powertex helps to keep the transparency.

Tips: Paint the transparent Powertex onto the masking tape and press the tissue onto it with a Powertex soaked brush.

Step 6: Using the blues and greens metallic pigments bring out the highlights of the bottom of the sea.  Brush Mojito Lime and Golden Olive, Limoncello Gold randomly on the kelp. If you leave lighter patches the sun will shine through enhancing the kelp.

Leave it in a place where you get the sun. Watch it at various times of the day to see where the sun lands and where you might want to add further metallics and maybe a pearl or crystal.

I hope this easy but interesting focal piece inspires you to create your own under the sea project. You might also like this lovely fish sculpture project by Annette.

Don’t forget to share your makes in The Powertex Studio and if you can give me a shout out that would be awesome.

That’s me for now, check back in June when I’m upcycling one of my early Angels that has been keeping watch in my garden for the last couple of years.

Bye for now

Fi

Powertex Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter
Powertex Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter

Under The Sea Powertex Sculptures

Powertex shark by Donna Mcgghie

By Donna Mcghie

What lies under the sea can be both beautiful and terrifying in equal measure.

I decided to make my own homage to the 1970’s film Jaws for my first underwater sculpture for this article. Thanks to this film I always feel a primeval sense of unease when swimming in deep water, and that music hovers around at the back of my brain. However at the same time I also have an exhilarating rush of adrenaline. My senses feel alert and vibrant. 

Under the sea, Powertex shark by Donna Mcghie
Although I am scared of sharks, I have grown rather fond of this gnarly old Powertex king of the seas

Powertex Stone art mixed with black Powertex fabric hardener was the perfect medium for this gnarled, battle scarred shark.

Powertex zip mouth on shark
An old zip works perfectly for his pointy little teeth
Powertex shark on base
The black metal base makes the perfect base for this powertex sculpture

The sea bed can be an eerily beautiful setting. Mixed media was used to create this under water 3D canvas.

The eerily beautiful seabed that is home to my shark

The illusion of the sea was created by using a mixture of blue and white Powertex Fabric Hardener sprayed with blue bister. I created the spiky coral by soaking Powercotton in transparent Powertex fabric hardener. Shells that are not conventionally pretty added the finishing touch.

Beware of Beautiful Powertex Mermaids

Powertex mermaid by Donna Mcghie
I used bits of lace and paperdecoration to add texture

Many legends and myths are connected to the sea. One of the most enduring myths is that of the mermaid.

My mermaid canvas was created by swirling blue and white Powertex fabric hardener onto a canvas. Bister was then added and blasted with a hair dryer.

My mermaid started to take shape when I poured green Powertex fabric hardener to create the shape of a tail.

I mixed Powertex terracotta and white fabric hardeners together to create a flesh tone, whilst Yellow ochre fabric hardener worked well for the hair.

Davy Jones’s Locker

There are many versions of who Davy Jones was, and just as many theories as to just how he ended up lurking at the bottom of the sea.

Maybe he was seduced by the beauty of a passing mermaid. Her beauty having lured him down to the murky depths below.

Powertex under the sea
My Davy Jones sports a jacket I spied in a charity shop, soaked in Bronze Powertex Fabric Hardener

Our facebook page The Powertex Studio is a great place for ideas and motivation. You can also inspire others by sharing your own makes.

You can also see more of my work and find out about my workshops on my website www.artandmurals.co.uk.

My last month’s blog was inspired by the artist Vincent Van Gogh

That’s all for now. As this is an inspiration blog I have not done step by steps, but if you would like more detailed instructions I am happy to provide them. Please leave me a comment below if you like what you see, and remember to take care, especially when swimming in deep water.

After all, you never know what is lurking beneath.

Clowning around with Powertex Clownfish

Powertex Clownfish sculptures by Annette Smyth

By Annette Smyth

Powertex Clownfish sculptures by Annette Smyth
Clown Fish

Hello everyone and welcome to my latest article.  I was so excited when I found out the theme for this month was UNDER THE SEA.  I love anything connected with the ocean.  So much so that I think I could have been a mermaid in another lifetime. In fact my dream home is next to the sea with an airy, light cliff top studio looking over the waves and beach – I did say it was dream!

My inspiration for my creation came from old photographs I had taken during a diving holiday.  Whilst flipping through the album these cute little clownfish kept appearing time and time again. Obviously they were crying out to be made into a sculpture.

I like to use StoneArt clay for my Powertex clownfish sculptures.  Making my clay up and giving it time to rest before using it, I find gives me the best results.  Resting it overnight double wrapped in clingfilm in my usual method.

DID YOU KNOW –  Stone Art clay will keep for at least two weeks if kept in an airtight wrapping.  

Materials List
Kitchen foil
Masking tape
Ivory Powertex Universal Medium
Powertex Stone Art
Powercolor pigments – White, Orange, black
Powertex Easy Varnish
2 black glass eyes on metal wire

You will also need 
Plastic gloves
Paintbrush
Plastic container to pour Powertex into and mix Stone Art clay in

Create Clownfish Armature

  1. Using the foil, form a teardrop shape with slightly pointed ends and flat bottom approximately 10cm long and 2cm thick – don’t worry about fins, they come at the clay stage

2.  Cover the shape with masking tape

3. Paint with a layer of Ivory Powertex Universal Medium

Adding Stone Art clay

Powertex Clownfish Stone Art clay

4. Make Stone Art clay using Ivory Powertex – see the “how to” video from my previous article here.

5. Cover your fish with clay.  Blend the joins together with a slightly damp finger.  Pinch the clay away from the body to create the fins and tail.  

6. Place the eyes in position and push through the clay into the underlying tape and foil.  Leave aside to dry.

TOP TIP – Use a pointy tool or cocktail stick to make the hole for the eyes as this will go through the tape more easily.

Adding colour

7. Using the easy varnish and orange pigment dry brush the stripes onto the fish. See “how to” video here.

8.  Now repeat with the white pigment filling in the gaps between the orange stripes.

9. Finally using the black pigment paint thin lines where the orange and white stripes meet and dry brush black around the fins and tail.

I decide to create a soft coral for my fish to sit in using an old cotton mop head and Ivory Powertex.  

Powertex Clownfish by Annette Smyth
Clown fish in coral

Just think of all the other fish and sea creatures you could create. Have you seen the amazing Powertex Ammonite Light article by Jill Cullum. Your sea babies would look fantastic nestled into this.

I would love to see what you come up with.  Why not leave your comments on this article below and share your makes in the Powertex Studio group on Facebook.  

Until next time Happy Creative Adventures and remember you can always find me on my Facebook page and on my website.

Axx

Pirate’s Powertex Treasure Chest

Designer: Abigail Lagden

Treasure Chest by Abigail Lagden

Whenever I think of the open sea and what might be underneath, it always conjures up stories of pirates, shipwrecks and treasure. So for this month’s article I wanted to share a project to create a Pirate’s Powertex Treasure Chest, bursting with gold, coins and jewels. To give it a personal touch and a bit of bling, I used ‘jewels’ rescued from some broken jewellery which I think gives it some extra sparkle.

Materials Used:

How to create a Pirate’s Powertex Treasure Chest

Step 1: Paint the wooden box all over with bronze Powertex. Add some details using die cut shapes and metal embellishments and some straps using fabric.

Treasure Chest by Abigail Lagden

Step 2: Before adding the contents, scrunch up a piece tin foil to use to fill about two thirds of the chest. Covered with a piece of fabric coated in bronze Powertex. Add a piece of netting over the corner of the box.

Top tip: Work on a plastic surface. Powertex will not stick to plastic, I worked on a piece of laminated paper so that I could peel the finished piece off to add it cleanly to the base.

Step 3: I filled my treasure chest by coating 1p coins and medium 3D balls with bronze Powertex and placing them over the fabric. Fragments of abalone shell were added for magical iridescence.

Treasure Chest by Abigail Lagden

Step 4: Dry brush chest with bronze gold colortricx pigment. Rich gold colortricx pigment to colour the contents. To give some iridescence, I also added touches of the following pearl pigments to the contents – violet valentine, green ginger, sherbet dip and pink flamingo.

Treasure Chest by Abigail Lagden

Step 5: Once all of the pigments had been applied, I then used transparent Powertex to stick the ‘jewels’ into the chest.

Step 6: Create an interesting base by coating a wooden disc with a good layer of ivory Powertex. Sprinkle on some small 3D balls and whilst wet, spray with blue bister. Use a hairdryer over the top to create a cracked effect.

The last thing to do was to affix the treasure chest the base using transparent universal medium.

Pirate Treasure Chest by Abigail Lagden

I hope you’ve enjoyed my article and have been inspired to get creating a Pirate’s Powertex Treasure Chest. Don’t forget to share your makes with us all in the Powertex Studio Facebook group.

If you’d like to see more of my creations, please visit my website or my Curiously Contrary facebook page.

If you missed my last article on how to make a bright canvas full of textures, you can find it here.

Until next time, Abs xx

Powertex Ammonite Light

Powertex Ammonite Light

Designer:  Jill Cullum

My Inspiration for an under the sea light

This article is very much influenced by my love of the beach. I spent several years with the beach on my doorstep, where I regularly enjoyed early morning walks. And was the inspiration for my Powertex Ammonite Light.

I particularly loved the changing moods of the sea, the smells and a chance to blow away the cobwebs.  I’ve chosen fabrics and materials which resemble netting and rocks. Paper deco works very well here.

I have also used some shells which I have added extra colour to. You can always leave these natural though.  The Powertex stand gave the finished piece some weight, as well as structure and height.

TOP TIP – Have a hair-dryer ready when adding the Ammonites. You will need them to stay in place so that they have space to poke the lights through. This also gives more 3 dimension to your piece.

Materials Used

I chose my materials, cardboard, and embellishments from my stash which included sea shells. I have used sand and 3d ball to create a thick texture for my ammonites, giving them an authentic look.

Building the basic form for the Powertex Ammonite Light

Step 1

Using the stand a base add tin foil to create rocks and shape, covering with masking tape.

Adding detail

Powertex Ammonite Light
Step 2

Step 2 – Added more texture using some honeycomb effect cardboard packaging. Hold in place with masking tape. Cover with fabric hardener. Creating texture for the ammonites.

Creating texture for the ammonites

Step 3

Mix black fabric hardener with sand and small 3d balls. Use this to cover the mdf ammonites. Put to one side until dry.

Bringing the ammonites to life

Powertex Ammonite Light
Step 4




Step 4 – Once dry use Secret Art Loft pigments to colour the ammonites, using the dry-brushing technique.. 

Building more structure

Step 5

Add height and detail using material dipped in green fabric hardener. Blend it over the ‘rocks’ adding height to your form.

Putting the elements together

Powertex Ammonite Light
Step 6

Before the fabric dries, add your ammonites (see top tip above). Add paper deco placed over the ammonites, using blue fabric hardener, for extra detail.

Powertex Ammonite Light

Finishing Touches

I decided to add colour to the sea-shells using Secret Art Loft acrylic paints, before dry-brushing to bring out the texture. Finally I added the fairy lights.

Why not take a look at my last article here, on how to create pastel shades with fabric hardener.

We love to see what you make, so please share your creativity here, at The Powertex Studio.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and that it inspires you to create your own nightlight. A garden theme using wings and flower embellishments would work well too. Looking forward to seeing your own take on how to use fairy lights, bye for now, Jill x


Powertex family project

A Tryptich with a Twist – by Annette Smyth

Powertex family project, sea theme

Hello,

This month I thought I would show you a Powertex family project. This is one that you could share with the children during the Easter holidays. So this article shows you how to make a piece of family art suitable for indoor use. It breaks down nicely into mini projects which all come together towards the end.

Why not let each family member decorate their own hoop, making this a real Powertex family project to treasure.

There is no limit to the number of hoops you can connect. Just ensure the whole structure is stable and check for balance when connecting them all together.

Powertex family project, sea theme

Here’s the twist, the hoops can be worked on either side (flat or recessed) and hung either way. So if your base fabric is fine you get a lovely silhouette if hung in a window with the decorated side facing outside. You could even suspend it and let it gently twist in the breeze getting the best of both worlds.

Or why not mix it up and have hoops facing in different directions?

Heres are the products that I used

– Set of 3 unvarnished wooden embroidery hoops
– muslin fabric
Powertex translucent acrylic inks
Powertex transparent
Powertex Stone Art
KatySue Seahorse Mould
Powertex Paperdecoration
Powertex Sand and Balls Sample pack

-pipettes/waterproof cupcake cases/glass mat/small paintbrush/plastic covering for table/gloves/water spray bottle

Mini project 1 – Making the Jellyfish

Pour approximately 5mm of transparent Powertex into a cupcake case and leave to dry (this can take 2-3 days to dry completely).

When dry remove and cut in half using scissors to give you 2 half moon shapes. Take some of the white paperdecoration and pull it into fine strips. Dip one end into some transparent Powertex and stick it to the underside of the half moon. Leaving the tails of the paperdecoration uncovered gives them a soft floaty look. Leave to dry

You can move on to some of the other mini projects at this time.

Mini project 2 – Making the Seahorses.

Make a small quantity of stone art clay (see the video here for instructions) place in moulds pressing down firmly, release and set aside to dry.

Once dry, use a nail file to remove any uneven edges and paint with the translucent inks. You may need to do several layers to get a bright colour and don’t be afraid to mix the inks to make new colours.

Mini project 3 – Colouring the fabric/paperdecoration and stones

See the video below for how to colour your fabric. If you want all of your hoops to have the same background. You need to layout the hoops on the dry fabric first allowing enough space between them, to be able to cut out with a wide margin. You will need this to pull them taut on the frame later.

Alternatively let each person work on their own fabric with colours of their choice.

How to colour fabric with Powertex Acrylic Inks

To colour the paperdecoration, take a strip and spray with water. Then fold it up and dip it into the inks. If you want the colour to run spray with more water after you have dipped it. You can take out some of the inks and place them on your glass mat to allow the colours to run together and roll the paper dec in this if you prefer.

Whilst you have the inks out, place some of the balls into a cupcake cases, mix in a small amount of ink to colour the balls and tip onto a piece of plastic to dry.

Now leave all of the ink covered pieces to dry completely.

Mini Project 4 – Attaching the fabric to the frame.

When your fabric is dry, dip it into the transparent Powertex. Then work this well to ensure you have covered all areas. The Powertex will look white but dries clear.

Now lay this fabric over the solid part of the embroidery frame, place the split hoop on top and slightly tighten the screw. Work around the frame pulling the fabric taut then tighten the screen further. Next leave this to dry then paint hoop with ink to blend in with your colour scheme.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER.

Using the dried paperdecoration which you previously coloured. You need to dip this into transparent Powertex and wrap it around the edges of the hoops. Ensuring that where the hoops meet you reinforce this area with more paperdecoration. Let this dry then turn over and reinforce all joins from back.

If each person is decorating their own hoop, you can leave this step to last and join them once decorated.

Powerex family project, sea theme

I opted to work on the back of the hoop, the side with a recess so that the embellishments sat inside. I added my seahorses, jellyfish and stones using transparent Powertex to attach them.

I then added additional ink covered paperdecoration to cover the rings and drape over the hoops on both the front and the back.

If you are going to hang your piece, make sure that you use some paperdecoration to create a secure loop on your project.


Powertex family project, sea theme

I hope you enjoy making this Powertex family project and we would love to see your creations. Please feel free to post them in our facebook group – The Powertex Studio.

If you would like to take a workshop with me then details of these can be found on my website page – Annnette Smyth Art and Craft Workshops.

Did you catch my last article. Click here to be inspired.

For a tutor in your local area, take a look at the Powertex Tutor Directory

Until next time , happy creative adventures…………..Axx