The sea is my heart, a Powertex octopus

Designer – Shell North

A Powertex octopus. The theme this month is Underwater, this is one of my favourite go to themes I love to create with as I love the sea. Living in Dorset I’m close to the sea and often find myself seeking respite on some of the peaceful secluded beach spots I know of. There are so many interesting aspects of the sea I get inspiration from, the creatures, colours, sounds and textures.

One of my favourite sea creatures are octopuses, they are such interesting creatures, incredibly intelligent and majestic.

So then, it’s decided that in this article I will be creating an octopus sculpture. I chose to work with both fabric and Stone Art clay to get the look I wanted.

Powertex Octopus sculpture by Shell North
Powertex Octopus Sculpture by Shell North

Materials used in my Powertex octopus

Supplies for Powertex octopus
Supplies

Tools

Skill level

Intermediate due to size

Creating the body shape

  • Using wire mesh, create a balloon shape with a skirt, stuff with waste materials (like used gloves) then cover in foil, then cover in masking tape.
Create the body shape
Step 1 Create the body shape

Making the tentacles

  • Wrap 8 lengths of wire in foil until the right thickness for tentacles and then place around main body. Cover and secure with masking tape and curl into shape.
Adding tentacles with wire and foil
Step 2 Add tentacles

Making the eyes

  • Cut the polystyrene ball to make the shape of an octopus eye, attach the eye with hot glue and again to attach to the body.
Craft octopus eyes with polystyrene and plastic craft eyes
Step 3 Add eyes

Covering with stone art clay

  • Roll out the Stone Art clay to 5mm thick, dampen with water and firm in place over the sculpture. Use a pallet knife and a little water to blend any joins.

Adding fabric for the web area

  • Using strips of jersey cotton, work in the Powertex Universal Medium and attach the fabric like a skirt around the mantle. Blend the edges.
Blend the edges of the fabric with the clay
Blend the edges of fabric and clay

To finish the project

While the clay is still wet use the texture sponge to create a texture on the surface of the clay.

Dry brushing

Leave to dry a few hours, then mix powder pigments of your choice with easy varnish and dry brush colour onto your sculpture.

Powertex Octopus sculpture by Shell North
And here’s the finished Powertex Octopus by Shell North

I will probably add suckers on the underneath of the tentacles at a later time, but due to its size over ran with the time allocated (1.5 days).

Top tip

When shaping the tentacles I sat the octopus sculpture on top of the up-turned 250g stone art tub so I could give the tentacles more movement instead of them being flat.

Did you know?

Octopuses have 3 hearts? Really does make them the heart of the sea!

Well I hope you enjoyed my article this month. If you’re inspired to sculpt with Stone Art clay, catch my Powertex bird sculpture article from Jan.

Well that’s all from me until next month,

Peace, love and octopus hugs,

Shell x

Certified Powertex Workshop

What’s in a Powertex Workshop?

Have you thought about going to a Powertex workshop but haven’t yet, because you’re not sure what to expect? Well come with me and let me give you an insight in what’s in a Powertex workshop.

Powertex workshop

3d Flex Texture Powertex Workshop Samples

I was invited to a Powertex workshop earlier this month by Jill Cullum, of Purple Meadow Arts & Crafts. She is the Certified Powertex Tutor for the area where I live. Jill has been on all her training, so this means that she is qualified to teach and use all the Powertex products in her Powertex workshop.

Jill explaining the samples and what she did.

Where to begin in a Powertex Workshop

Everyone getting stuck in covering their canvas’s. Janet, top left wanted to do the technique but on journal covers, so Jill brought along a journal for her to work on instead. So if you know what you would like to do, contact your tutor before hand. They are very flexible and happy to oblige where possible.

Jill demo’d the next couple of steps and then went round checking everyone was okay and understood what they were doing.

Close up of Janet’s journal covers.

Whilst the canvas’s were in the drying box Jill demonstrated how to mix up the 3d flex. She showed what the right consistency with the 3d flex was to aim for. 

Then showed how to apply the paste onto the canvas.

Then it was their turn, with guidance from Jill.

Getting ready for the next stage

Whilst the makes were back in the drying box, we all sat down and had a natter with a cuppa and some chockie biscuits. I took this opportunity to ask them what they thought of the workshop so far.

One said that it was so different to what they normally do and it was good to come without any expectations.

Another said that they have learnt so many new techniques already and we haven’t finished yet.

Another said that is was nice to do something different.

After the coffee break, all the pieces came out of the drier. Look at those amazing cracks on Anita’s canvas.

Now the fun begins, adding the colour. The hardest part seemed to be choosing which colours to use from this huge selection. Everyone was encouraged to move out of their comfort zone.

Jill chose purple and green, these aren’t her normal ‘go to’ colours.

Jill demoing on her canvas, how to use the wax with the pigments and acrylics and how to built up the layers and blend the colours.

Everyone well under way with their colours.

Really coming along now.

Fabulous blending.

Anita was building up layers to replicate the colours she had in a photo on her phone.

Finishing touches

Once everyone was happy with their canvas’s, the last thing to do was to touch up the sides to make them black again. The black just seems to make the colours pop.

And here are the proud owners with their finished pieces.

This Powertex workshop took around two and a half hours from start to finish. Just look what you could do with the right guidance. All these ladies really enjoyed themselves today.

How many of you have a bottle of Powertex sat on your craft desk but haven’t opened it yet. A workshop is a great way to get started. 

Find your local tutor

There are over 100 Certified Tutors dotted all around the UK. To find the one nearest to you, click on this link which will take you to the Powertex Tutors directory. Login and find your nearest tutor who will be happy to help you with a workshop. They cater for everyone, groups, one on one, two on one, a group of friends or join a scheduled workshop and meet like minded people, the possibilities are endless.

I hope this has given you an insight into how a workshop runs. I hope that it’s nowhere near as scary as what you thought it might be, just go along. You will be made to feel very welcome and you’ll love it so much, you’ll want to go back. Most of the tutors have their own FaceBook pages and list their planned workshops under events. So if you see something you fancy, get it touch. Nothing is out of reach with the right guidance.

Would you like to become a Powertex tutor? Be inspired by an article from Jan a Powertex UK certified tutor and find out how here.

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