Inspired by Buddha?

Designed by – Shell North

One thing I love about being a part of the design team is getting asked to do pieces for upcoming Hochanda shows. Being a part of such a great team keeps me focused and gives me a huge sense of purpose. Eager to get creating and inspired by the Buddha kit, I knew exactly what my mind was being inspired to bring to life. I put my whole heart and soul into creating it.

My creative process

I created a scene of tranquility, calm, love and peace with the items I had been asked to use. For this piece I sat peacefully and envisioned creating textural scenery of bamboo, blossom trees and mountains, a place I could imagine Buddha sitting in contemplation.

Being unique

Use paperdecoration to cut out bamboo shapes and the main part of the blossom tree. Use mixed Stone art powder into a spreadable paste for the textural mountains and water. Utilise small and medium art balls for the blossom on the tree. Instead of using just the red Powertex universal medium as it’s stand alone colour, I mixed it with ivory Powertex to create the pink blossoms. I wanted this piece to show the unique and limitless ways you can use Powertex products.

If at first you don’t succeed, take a moment to walk away!

Sometimes, when you envision an idea in your head, it doesn’t quite come out as you imagined. Nearing the end of the piece, I actually didn’t like what I had created and had to walk away. In fact I wanted to throw it in the bin!

I cleared my head and looked at my work with a new perspective. I removed a part of the piece that wasn’t right by scraping away part of the blossom trunk and started that bit again. A clear mind was what I needed to feel more content with my piece.

and here it is…

Powertex temple inspired by Buddha project pack by Shell North
Powertex Buddha temple by Shell North

I hope you enjoyed this this article? Please do leave a comment below so we know you love what we are doing for the love of Powertex.

Feeling inspired and want to come and create one of these with me? Look at my website to see when the next course for this is being held at The Crafty Little Corner.

With the clocks going back in a few days here’s a link to my article last month, my Powertex clock. Also please do check out other design team members blogs like this rusty letter piece by Kore.

Anyway that’s all from me,

Peace, love and tranquil crafting.

Shell x

Sweet dreams upon a Powertex night sky

By Shell North

I love the simplicity of using something like string or twine and knots to create something magical and unique. Wanting to step away from the full circle dream catcher I drafted a moon with star idea for sweet dreams.

I wanted to use techniques to create vegan feathers with twine. A lot of my past customers have been vegan and dislike the use of animal products so creating an ethical dream catcher was up there on my to do list. Created with a ‘boho’ style making from twine, a recycled lampshade ring, recycled jewellery (charity shop) and Ivory Powertex to make weatherproof for outdoor use.

Powertex sweet dreams dream catcher by Shell North
Dream Catcher by Shell North

What are dream catchers exactly?

Sometimes referred to as “Sacred Hoops”, Ojibwe dream catchers were traditionally used as talismans to protect sleeping people, usually children, from bad dreams and nightmares. Native Americans believe that the night air is filled with dreams, both good and bad.

When hung above the bed in a place where the morning sunlight can hit it, the dream catcher attracts and catches all sorts of dreams and thoughts into its webs. Good dreams pass through and gently slide down the feathers to comfort the sleeper below. Bad dreams, however, are caught up in its protective net and destroyed, burned up in the light of day.

Sweet dreams

Make as a soothing tool for kids! I made dream catchers for my children when they were young. Explaining how these would help ease their nightmares, quite handy indeed.

Call it a placebo effect for non-believers but my children believed what I said and they worked at soothing their nightmares, happy days!

Note – Use real feathers with children however as the twine ones will be slightly shape and pointy when hardened.

Putting it all together

Twine dream catcher for sweet dreams by Shell North
Pre Powertexed dream catcher by Shell North

I made the twine feathers first, using a knotting technique  around a length of twine, next I wrapped the lampshade hoop with twine. Using the standard catcher webbing but didn’t go all the way around so I could create the moon shape. I added a hanging beach wood cut star and then covered everything in Ivory Powertex hardener.

Finally once dry I finished by attaching the junk jewellery and beads I have collected from car boot sales, donations or charity shops. I don’t think I’m going to colour this, I like the simplicity of it. I enjoyed this so much I think I’m going to re-purpose some more broken lamp shades though and create different colours!

Sweet dreams dream catcher with Ivory Powertex by Shell North

Inspired?

Why not try create one of your own sweet dreams and share on our Powertex studio group page on Facebook? We always love to see what you create that’s inspired by our blogs. Also don’t forget to comment below. What would you have done differently? Does this inspire you to create your own? Share your inspired dream catcher in the Facebook group.

Did you like my charity shop upcycles here? Catch my February blog where I used a lot of recycled items along with the Secret Art Box subscription box.

The subscription boxes are exciting boxes of exclusive Powertex goodies that are delivered to your door each month! Don’t miss out on the fun, get yours today HERE .

Well that’s all from me this month,

Peace, love and sweet dreams,

Shell x

The 2019 Powertex Garden Party is coming!

Garden Party Marquee

We’re really looking forward to the 2019 Powertex Garden Party. The marquee will go up for another two days of crafting, laughing and relaxing in great company. In just a few weeks we will put on our aprons and gloves and get stuck into some great new projects.

Powertex UK 2019 Garden Party

These photos were taken by Sam Butler last year so we can share just a little of our creations and the experience. The Secret Art Loft studio at Powertex UK HQ is in a stunning countryside location, with beautiful gardens and woodland areas.

Marquee Garden Party bunting

The event is well equipped and the main studio displays wonderful artworks and an opportunity to stock up on products. The gardens were also full of fantastic sculptures.

Powertex skull by Tracey Evans
by Tracey Evans

Even larger projects are fun and manageable with tutors close by to offer advice or support. Beginners don’t need to worry.

Powertex Garden Party
Powertex Addicts

The hand massage went down well for busy hands.

Hand massage

Shelagh wrote us a lovely review of her weekend too.

“Thanks for the Garden Party! I had a wonderful weekend. Of course now I’m buzzing to do arty stuff! It’s nice to have some positivity to turn to in memories and art form.”

Shelagh

There’s time for a glass of something before we go our separate ways. Cheers!

Powertex Garden Party drinks
Cheers!

There’s still time to book the last available tickets for this year’s 2019 Powertex Garden Party. If you’d like to join us for this special two day event, you can find all the details here. We’d love to see you but be quick.

Camper van and tent

Mindfulness Mandala Triptych

Designer: Shell North

In this article I will be showing you how to create a Mindfulness Mandala Triptych. I wanted to incorporate one item as my focal point, the product of the month Easy structure paste. Wood was chosen to work on as this is something I haven’t done for a while. Easy structure works well on any flat surface that’s a natural element such as wood, metal, fabrics. This technique would also look great on an artist’s canvas, a sheet or grey board or wooden box. Even a sheet of metal, a glass pane and so much more could be used.

While looking for inspiration, mandalas came to mind. Mandala is a Sanskrit word, meaning circle. They can be used to focus attention and create a state of mindfulness. A universal symbol of wholeness and unity. The circle mirrors the universe, the movement of the stars, creation, cycle of life and the passage of time.

Mindfulness is often used as a therapeutic technique. It is being present in that moment, but being accepting of our feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations and our senses. Often what brings us into our senses is doing something, but in a mindful way.

I often find myself in a state of mindfulness while creating.


Each person’s life is like a mandala – a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life.


Pema Chödrön

MATERIALS LIST

Tools

  • Various ¾ inch flat brushes,
  • Small plastic pallet knives,
  • Large pallet knife
  • Paper cutting knife,
  • Hair dryer,
  • Kichen roll/paper towels,

*Because Bister spray can stain, make sure the area you work on is covered and protected.*

Step by Step

I selected a series of Mandala stencils from my personal stash and played around with the composition on my Triptych. I decided to add texture around them and a few embellishments to add depth to the piece. 

Creating texture with Powertex Easy structure.

Scrape Easy structure paste through each of the positioned stencils, holding with masking tape where needed. Dry with hair dryer.

Tidy it up.

Using a paper cutting knife, cut down the seams where any stencils overlap between the triptych pieces, so the edges are tidy when separated.

Give it a base coat with Powertex liquid hardener.

Using a wide flat brush, give the wood triptych pieces a coating of Powertex liquid hardener in Ivory.

Adding colour with Bister

While the Ivory liquid hardener is still wet, spray generously with 2 colours of Bister, over lapping the colours in the middle. Dry with hairdryer immediately.

Mindfulness Mandala Triptych

Adding another 3D layer

Apply transparent medium to the backs of all embellishments and place in centre of random mandalas. If they over hang, trim with scissors.

Mindfulness Mandala Triptych

Creating 3D flex paste

Using Powertex liquid hardener blue, 3Dflex powder and yellow Bister spray liquid, mix together until a thick ‘dryish’ paste. Adding more 3Dflex if needed.

Creating more texture and interest

Spread the 3Dflex mix between mandalas using a large pallet knife. Spread in one direction to create torque within the 3Dflex paste to encourage cracks!

Getting 3Dflex to crack

Spray over the 3Dflex paste with Bister in co-ordinating colours as before, 3Dflex also needs heat to crack so dry with hairdryer closely on hot setting.

Mindfulness Mandala Triptych

Highlighting

Now everything is dry, drybrush with Powertex liquid hardener-Ivory, this will absorb some of the bister pigment so will darken after a few moments.

Mindfulness Mandala Triptych

I added the finishing touch to this triptych by dry brushing with a mix of Powertex powercolor pigment powder in white mixed with a little easy coat varnish adding the final textural layer to the piece.

Mindfulness Mandala Triptych
Finished Powertex Mindfulness Mandala triptych

Top Tips

  • Have a bowl of warm soapy water to hand to put the stencils in after use so they are easily cleaned as the structure paste dries fast.
  • If you are not getting cracks with the 3D flex, try leaving item for a few hours in a warm place such as on top of a radiator or sunny window sill on a hot day.

Feeling inspired by this Mindfulness Mandala Triptych? Why not try this at home and post your creations on the Facebook Powertex Studio page?
Powertex studio

If you would like to come and learn this workshop find more details to future Triptych workshops here. Or send me a message at The Crafty Little Corner.

We love to hear your feedback so please leave a comment below. Did you catch my last blog? Find it here.

Well that’s all from me for now,

Peace, love and mandala’s Shell x

New Year’s Resolutions and the Key to a Craftier Life

Hello, I’m Claire, the Operations Manager for Powertex UK Ltd. I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts for sorting and organising as I know how this can easily get on top of anyone with a crafting stash!

I’m not naturally a tidy person. However, the internet (mainly Pinterest) has given me some great ideas of ways to store things that really help in my day to day life. If there is a place for something you know where to put it, and more importantly, you know where to find it the next time you need it. Being organised helps me take control of one part of my life and that helps me – big time. In a world where we are often running around with a to do list longer than your arm making life easier any way we can is a bonus!

The New Year is a great time for starting afresh; drawing a line on old, less productive behaviours and embracing a more positive and intentional way of being. I like to clean out my cupboards, defrost my freezer, clear my wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit and of course…..organise my craft area!!! I get rid of scissors that no longer cut properly, empty bottles, brushes that have passed their best and try and coordinate all my equipment into types and section off areas for items that I often use together.

When I saw the fantastic range of art and craft storage solutions from Candy Box Crafts I knew these were the business. They mix and match to your needs and stack up, so you can choose the products that work best for you. There are drawers, storage bins, caddies, pigments trays and boxes all available on the Powertex website. As they are MDF they can be decorated with Powertex products; your storage can also be a work of art. Tracey has already made use of these products and made some beautiful and, oh so useful, storage pieces for our studio here at Tex Towers. I know a few of our tutors have also got some and use them for their workshops; portable, functional pieces of art.

So this January why don’t you give your craft area the attention it deserves and create an orderly and easy to use space so that your creative juices can flow? We would love to see pics of your craft room and how you store your art supplies, please share them with us on our Facebook groups. Happy crafting.Powertex Storage

What Has Powertex Got To Do With Mental Health?

 

What has Powertex got to do with mental health?
 
In light of Mental Health Awareness Day on 10thOctober this week, Artist and Creative Director at Powertex UK, Tracey Evans shares her take on crafting for mental health wellness.
 
Traceys artwork intrinsically links nature and the environment with mental health and wellbeing.  Whilst developing as an artist, Tracey further explored her interest in mental health and wellbeing by studying Neuro-linguistic Programming and Hypnotherapy with Richard Bandler and Paul McKenna. She went on to practice both NLP and hypnotherapy and it was during this period that she discovered the benefits of crafting for mental health. Powertex in particular can offer benefits to people at all levels and Tracey herself credits her sanity (along with many others!) directly to Powertex.
 
Tracey does not offer sessions as a private therapist; instead she chooses to teach aspiring crafters the art of Powertex and trains them to become Certified Tutors. For the first time, Tracey is opening her home-based studio to members of the public for one day workshops as part of the Powertex Portfolio Workshop series. See the website for more details.
 
It is within these classes that people discover the benefits for themselves, they are taken on a therapeutic journey with Tracey at the helm, guiding them on a voyage of artistic discovery and mental wellbeing that they are then excited to pass on to others.  A growing network of Powertex tutors can be found all over the UK, helping people to discover the wonderful world of Powertex with a huge variety of fun and interesting workshops. If you haven’t discovered Powertex yet, you are in for a real treat. It is not often that something totally unique comes along that immediately captures your imagination and inspires you to create without limits.
 
We at Powertex have seen many people sharing their stories about mental health issues, past and present, this week and we are all proud and grateful for the part that Powertex plays in the everyday lives of so many of us. We will continue to work hard to spread the message of mental health awareness, without shame or embarrassment, and in turn promote the benefits of art, crafting and creativity for wellbeing. 
 
And what could be better for helping to maintain your mental health than getting down and dirty with some Powertex?!

 

This Boot Was Made With Memories

How Powertex Can Be Used To Create A Beautiful Memorial Boot

 

One of the things I love most about being a Powertex Tutor are the wonderful stories that unfold as people get totally absorbed in creating something beautiful and meaningful.

I have been priviliged to hear many really moving accounts of why people are making their sculptures, and who they are making them for, or, as is often the case, who they are making them  in memory of.

Obviously these are very personal stories, and I think the very fact that people feel comfortable to open up and talk, either within a group, or on a one to one basis speaks volumes about the therapeutic nature of creating with Powertex.

I have been given permission by one lady to share her story here.

S’s dad had passed away recently.  He was a keen gardener, and she contacted me to ask if I would be able to do a Powertex Workshop using an old boot, which she could use to keep his ashes in.

Of course I said yes. It would be an absolute honour.

I love doing boot workshops anyway, but knew that this one was going to be something rather special.

We wanted to be sure that there was a suitable place within the boot for S’s father’s ashes, and we did this by covering a small plastic seedling pot with masking tape, before lodging it into the opening of the boot, and then putting a covering of powertex soaked material over this.  Ensuring that there was a good sized place for the ashes to sit in, but also ensuring it would be weatherproof as S thought she might want the boot to sit outside in the garden.  One of her father’s favourite places.

Once we had done this, under my guidance, S covered the whole boot with powertex soaked fabric, scrunching it up to give lots of interesting texture and character.  S added a few appropriate bits and pieces from my ever ready stash of goodies I collect from charity shops etc, such as little material roses, and a heart taken from a piece of jewellery.

Then she added the piece, that I think makes the boot really stunning.  A small ornamental bird that she had brought along, to symbolise her father’s love of birds.

We left the boot overnight to dry completely, before dry brushing, which really makes it pop as a work of art.

Although I had been keen to help S make her memorial boot, if I’m honest a part of me was also really nervous, about whether it would be a sad experience for her.  As it turned out the opposite was true.  It was a joyous workshop, with lots of laughter and memories recounted about a man who was obviously someone who lived life to the full.  And I although I didn’t know him, I do think I got a feel for the man’s character from S’s fond and happy recollections over the weekend.

I think, I hope, that his boot is a fitting memorial of a man with a real  joie de vivre.

S tells me it caputres him perfectly, and that she smiles every time she looks at her boot.  Which in turn makes me smile as well.

If you would like to contact a tutor to help with making your own memorial for someone special get in touch with the guys at Powertex UK, or head over to our facebook pages powertex addicts united and the powertex studio

You can find out more about my Powertex workshops on my facebook page   or my website www.artandmurals.co.uk

 

How I Came to be making a Powertex Sculpture in my local bank

I hope you are all enjoying reading our Powertex UK certified tutors success stories. Here is another by our design Team member Donna Mcghie. I hope you find this one an inspiring read as much as I did. Are you looking for a change of career? To find out how to become a certified tutor in your area send an email with a bit about yourself to info@powertex.co.uk.
 
How I Came to be making a Powertex Sculpture in my local bank

 

A few years ago I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the Lloyds Bank Social EntrepreneurScheme.
With a background of working with mental health charities and inclusion work I have always used creativity as a way of engaging with people.  And I firmly believe that mental health wellbeing is important all for of us, even those who are lucky enough to  wake up every morning bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Each and every one of us (I think) can benefit from having a creative outlet of some sort or another.
The beauty of Powertex Workshops is their accessibility.  There really is a powertex workshop that is suitable for everyone.
This is a way of thinking that comes naturally to me, and because of that I feel very comfortable in my role as a Powertex Tutor.
What I’m not naturally comfortable with, is the role of business woman.
However, on the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneur Scheme, under the guidance of a wonderful mentor, my mindset began to change.  I learnt about business plans.  I learnt about money management.  I learnt about keeping accurate financial records.  All of which, as a ’creative person, I had shied away from before.
So it really tickled me when I was asked if I would consider sitting in the lobby of my local Lloyds bank to do one of my fabric sculptures and talk to people about the scheme.
Me?  The worst money management person in the world?  Talking with some sort of authority in a bank?  They were having a laugh, surely.
But one of the other things I learnt on the scheme, was to say yes to things.  So I did.  I said yes.  And that is how I ended up sitting in my local bank, creating an angel out of Powertex.
People were interested.  People stopped to chat.  People asked about Powertex, about my business, about the scheme. Someone even came up with a name for my angel.  Penny, what a perfect name for someone created in a bank. 
So the day was a success.  I was a success.  And that’s another important thing I have learnt.  Not to be scared of success.  Not to be shy of saying when something has worked out well.  Not to belittle what I have achieved so far.  These are the photos that were taken on the day. (I made sure to put lots of protective floor covering down, as I find it impossible to work without making a mess!)
So thanks to Powertex, and to the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneur Scheme, I am now saying yes to a lot more things.  As a result I have been interviewed more than once on local  radio staions, and am due to be being filmed for local media running a workshop.  Is it scary?  Umm, yes.  Really scary actually,  for a natural introvert like myself.  Would I recommend it?  Absolutely.  I’m learning that as long as I am myself when I’m interviewed, I can, and do, quite enjoy the process.
Positive affirmations are like marmite, you love them or loathe them.  I’m a fan as long as they are not too syrupy.  My favourite ever is ‘jump and the net will appear.’  Well I jumped.  It wasn’t quite a leap of faith, as thanks to the Lloyds Bank scheme, I have my business foundations well in place.  But it was still pretty daunting standing on that edge and plucking up the courage to go for it.  But I’m so glad I did.
And really, you can’t go far wrong with Powertex can you?  I’d love to know where Powertex has taken you.
You can find out more about my workshops on my website www.artandmurals.co.uk  or my facebook page www.facebook.com/artmuralsbydonnamcghie 

 

 

Powertex Art 4 A Heart Workshops with Donna McGhie

I am a level 3 qualified Powertex tutor. In 2017 I am delighted to announce that I will be adding a new type of Powertex workshops to the ones I already offer. In 2016 my family was hit with an emotional roller coaster. My husband was rushed to Papworth Hospital and placed on the urgent waiting list for a heart transplant.After weeks of waiting on the outside. Feeling utterly helpless.  The phone call telling me that a possible heart had been found. The kaleidoscope of emotions that bombarded every inch of my being is impossible to adequately describe, I felt out of control. Everything spiraled into a vortex of hope, fear, excitement and nausea; and underlying all of the above was one other feeling.  The feeling of guilt, it was subtle for sure, in comparison to all the other emotions that collided and collapsed into each other as the news sunk in.  But it was definitely there.  Lurking uncomfortably amidst all that hope.  Whispering to me that as my family was being offered a lifeline, another family somewhere had had that lifeline taken away from them. Then the emotional roller coaster eased into a different gear, as I was told that after undergoing lengthy testing, they were unable to use the heart in this case. What do you do when this happens?  What can you do?  There is only one thing you can do.  Continue to wait.  And hope against hope for the next time. All the while trying to ignore that persistent little whisper ‘your just waiting for someone else to die.’ Logically you know that is not the case.  Logically you know, from all the personal accounts you make it your business to read, that donor families gain some form of comfort in knowing that their loved one has done an amazing thing.  From knowing that their loved one has passed on the most amazing gift ever.  Logically you know all of this.  But for me anyway, that sense of guilt subtly, but stubbornly refused to budge.I had two more phone calls like the first one.  The  kaleidoscopic assault on the senses was just as vivid each time.  And yes, the devastation you feel when, for whatever reason, the heart cannot be used hits you like a ten tonne brick each time.  But thankfully, for me anyway that lurking,  unjustified whisper did start to recede.Eventually reality sunk in.  The reality that, sadly, the donor would have passed away regardless of whether my husband received their heart or not.And then a miracle happened.   Another phone call.  And then you get the news that yes.  This is it.  This time it really is happening.And after hours, and hours, and hours in surgery you get to see your loved one.  And your loved one is totally away with the fairies.  And battered and bruised.  And looking pretty damn rough.  But they have survived.  They have made it through.  They are alive.The gratitude we as a family have, will always have, to the donor and their family is impossible to convey.  We think of them often, and raise a glass to them when we gave a toast at Christmas.  And on special occasions.  And will continue to do so.They will never be forgotten.  They are our heroes.The other heroes are the staff at Papworth Hospital.  Every one of them.  Sometimes those surgeons perform two heart transplants in one day.  Can you imagine that?  Whenever I think I’ve had a stressful day.  I remind myself just how shattered they must be at the end of a shift.  Not just the surgeons though.  Everyone at that hospital works so hard, dealing with the ripples of organ donation every single day.Ripples of joy, devastation, anger, frustration and many many more. Including those ripples of guilt.The guilt I felt has completely subsided now.  I am now at peace with the wonderful gift that has been given to our family.  And we give thanks daily.Which leads me onto my very small way of giving something back.As a level 3 Powertex tutor I run Powertex sculpting workshops.  This is my business, and is slowly but surely picking up again, after being put on hold for much of last year.Alongside my regular workshops, I now offer Powertex Art 4 A Heart Workshops.Any time you see my workshops advertised as Powertex Art 4 A Heart Workshops, you know that a percentage of the fee charged will be donated straight to The Papworth Hospital Charity. www.papworthhospitalcharity.org Details of these Powertex workshops can be found on my facebook page www.facebook.com/artmuralsbydonnamcghie and on my website www.artandmurals.co.ukIf you fancy coming along and creating something beautiful with Powertex, whilst also contributing in a very small way to the fantastic work done by the Papworth Hospital Transplant Team then please do come along.I’d love to see you.


 
Follow Donna’s blog here