Horned Headpiece using Powertex

Designer: Abigail Lagden

This month we were given the challenge of recreating a project created by one of our fellow Design Team members. When I heard this, I knew exactly which project I wanted to try… Shell North’s fabulous Taurus Headdress from earlier this year. I loved every second of making my version, this horned headpiece.

Her step by step instructions were easy to follow and allowed me to put my own twist on the project. I sculpted curly horns rather than straight. Rather than adding silk flowers at the end I used flowers coated with bronze Powertex universal medium. I coloured them with powertex pigments.

Sculpting wearable art, horns sculpted. By Abigail Lagden
Horns sculpted from foil
Creating a wearable art By Abigail Lagden
Horns attached to base headband
Powertex fabric sculpture By Abigail Lagden
Wrapped with Powertex coated fabric
Powertex flowers added. By Abigail Lagden
Flowers added

It took me a couple of days to decide on the right colour for this piece. I was very tempted to go for rainbow horns but in the end went for something a bit more simple and I hope, sophisticated. Bronze gold over the horns and a mix of reds, oranges and yellows for the flowers.

Powertex horned headpiece wearable art by Abigail Lagden
Horned Headpiece by Abigail Lagden

Keep an eye on my Curiously Contrary facebook page to see where they turn up – I can’t wait to show them off.

Horned Headpiece by Abigail Lagden

If you’ve been thinking of trying one of the projects you’ve seen in the Powertex magazine then go for it. There are so many step by step articles that will guide you through lots of different projects. You are sure to find something to suit your style. Please do share your creations in our Powertex Studio facebook group.

If you’d like to see the inspiration for my horned headpiece, revisit Shell’s original article for her fabulous Taurus Headdress.

If you’d like to see more information about my upcoming workshops, please visit my Curiously Contrary website.

Until next time

Abs xx

Leo the Powertex Lion

Designer – Abigail Lagden

Every now and then I have to grudgingly accept that a brush has gone past it’s usable life as a brush. The clue is usually when only the top 2mm of the bristles bend! However, I hate to throw things away, so I have almost three years worth of dud brushes hoarded away, awaiting a purpose. Well, that purpose has finally arrived and here is Leo the Lion to give a few of them a new life.

Leo the Lion

One of my favourite animals has to be the beautiful and majestic lion. Not really very surprising as my star sign is Leo. So when I was asked to create an animal sculpture using recycled materials, it just had to be a lion using my dud brushes.

Leo the Powertex lion by Abigail Lagden.
Leo the Powertex Lion by Abigail Lagden

Materials List

Step by Step Guide

Remove the brush heads

Firstly, I removed the brush heads from the 14 old brushes (tip: soaking in boiling water will help loosen the adhesive).

Removing the brush heads
Step 1

Arrange the brush heads

The brush heads were then arranged in a sunburst to created the outline of the lion’s mane.

Create the mane with brush heads
Step 2

Stone Art clay

I mixed stone art with bronze Powertex universal medium to form a clay and used this to hold the brush head arrangement together.

Use Powertex Stone Art clay to hold the brush heads together.
Step 3

Sculpt the face

I then built up the central area using some tin foil before sculpting the face of my lion over the top with the bronze stone art clay.

Sculpt the face
Step 4

Create the mane

To create the lion’s mane, I used pieces of powercotton soaked in bronze Powertex universal medium. For the whiskers I used some of the bristles from the brushes.

Add Powertex Powercotton mane
Step 5

Dry brushing

Finally, I applied copper, bronze gold and rich gold Colortricx pigments mixed with easy varnish.

Dry brush technique to paint metallic pigments onto the lion.
Step 6

I hope you have enjoyed seeing how I created my Leo and that you are inspired to get creating your own project. Please do share any of your makes with us over in the Powertex Studio Facebook group.

If you like astrology themed projects, why not visit Shell’s article about how she made her stunning taurus inspired headdress.

You can also see more of what I’ve been creating and information about my workshops on my website and my Curiously Contrary facebook page.

Until next time, Abs xx

Feeling Grey? It’s not a bad thing with Powertex.

Feeling grey? Using Lead grey Powertex Fabric hardener by Abigail Lagden

Feeling grey? One of the things that people often comment on when they see my creations, is the colours. Words such as rich, deep, bright and vibrant are common.

Therefore, they are often surprised to hear that almost all of them are made with either the bronze (brown) or the lead (grey) Powertex universal medium as the base colour.

Why Bronze & Lead for the Base Colour?

1. Final Colour Considerations

Bronze and lead are both neutral colours and therefore will look good when dry brushed using any of the powercolor pigments. In fact they are perfect for my signature rainbow colours created using Powercolor pigments!

Rainbox fairy house by Curiously Contrary
Rainbow fairy house with bronze base

If you start with a bold base colour such as red, blue, green, etc you have already limited what colours will work well on top and the final pieces can look a bit ‘flat’ and lacking in depth.

Fabric sculpted bottles by Curiously Contrary
The bottle on the left has green Powertex as the base colour, the middle bottle has black and the bottle on the right has a terracotta base. I think the middle bottle appears to have much more depth than the other two which look a little ‘flat’.

2. Depth vs Brightness

The thing I love most about fabric sculpting is the textures and depth that can be created. To create the illusion of greater depth, the colours within the folds of the fabric should be as dark compared to the top of the folds.

Therefore black and bronze Powertex will give you the appearance of greater depth. My preference is bronze as I like the warmth that it creates.

Rainbow dragon treasure chest by Abigail Lagden
This dragon’s treasure chest uses a bronze base colour, creating lots of depth.

Feeling grey?

To achieve a slightly lighter/brighter feel I use the lead Powertex. Whilst it loses just a little of the depth that bronze creates, the lighter base colour lifts the overall brightness of the piece.

Sea themed treasure chest by Curiously Contrary using Lead Grey Powertex Fabric Hardener
This sea-themed treasure chest has a lead base colour giving it a lighter, brighter feel.

Here are a few more of my creations to demonstrate the colours that can be achieved using black, bronze and grey Powertex with powercolor pigments :

Blue bird box by Curiously Contrary
Bird box created using lead Powertex with ultramarine blue and turquoise Powercolor pigments
Bird box created using bronze Powertex and a rainbow of Powercolor pigments
Feeling grey? Using Lead grey Powertex Fabric Hardener by Abigail Lagden
Business card holder created for ‘The Ugly Duckling’ using lead Powertex with lilac and ultramarine blue Powercolor pigments
Custom made business card holder made using black Powertex with red and burgundy Powercolor pigments

See more uses of bronze and lead Powertex in my previous articles. I used Bronze Powertex for my Steampunk Top Hat and lead Powertex for my Storage Caddy.

What are you favourite colour combinations? Let us know in the comments.

Curiously Contrary

Many of my creations are available to purchase and I also make customised pieces and take commissions. If you’d like to see where in the north east of England I’ll be with my creations over the summer, pop across to my Curiously Contrary website or facebook page.

Until next time, Abs xx

(Please note that the images I have shared in this article are of my own designs and are there to illustrate my points around colour. Please respect the time and creativity that goes into generating original designs by not recreating these pieces for sale or for other commercial purposes. If my designs inspire you to create something similar, that is fantastic, and if you are sharing them online, it would be lovely if you would acknowledge my designs (and the Powertex Magazine) as your source of inspiration.)

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

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November…

 

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November. Gunpowder, Treason and Plot!

I love this time of year as the autumn moves towards cosy winter nights. Halloween has passed and bonfire night awaits before the count down to Christmas. And a cup of hot soup in front of a big bonfire takes me straight back to my childhood and my childhood bonfire nights wouldn’t be complete without a Catherine Wheel – the inspiration for this project.
I started with a 20cm square canvas and painted it with black Powertex. I then used Easy Structure to stencil a swirl design onto the canvas and once dry painted over this with black Powertex.
Although very little of this pattern would be visible on the final pieces it also provided me with a basic shape to follow when adding the paperdecoration.
First I used small pieces of white paperdecoration which I laid slightly randomly but following the swirl pattern and painted over it with black Powertex. (You could use any colour paperdecoration for this part as it is completely covered with the black)
Once this was dry, I mixed rich gold colortricx pigment with Powerwax and gently applied it over the raised parts with a sponge.
To add some extra depth and texture to the corners of the canvas, I mixed some red Powertex with Easy 3D Flex to make a paste and applied this roughly to the corners and left it overnight to crack.
I then carefully painted the top surface of the cracked area with black Powertex. Using the red Powertex with the Easy 3D Flex made sure that there would be nice bright red colour in the cracks.
Next, it was time to add the gorgeous coloured paperdecoration – burgundy, light pink, red wine and red.
I tore off long thin pieces of paperdecoration and fanned it out towards the end. I laid these onto the canvas following the swirl pattern and painted over them with a good coating of transparent Powertex. Although this goes on a milky white, it dries clear allowing the original colours of the paper dec to show through.
Once I had added enough paperdecoration I left it to dry overnight.
The final part was to add some gold and copper tones to give it the warmth of fire. I did this by mixing colortricx pigments (copper, bronze gold and rich gold) with Powerwax and applying it over the tops of the texture with a sponge.
I am still undecided if I need to add anything into the centre. I am keeping my eyes open for a nice bit of fiery bling…
Until next time, Abs xx

 

Tremendous Textures by Abigail Lagden

One of the things that drew me to Powertex was the amazing textures and depth that can be created. I now look at everything for its texture potential and powertexability. So this month I thought I would share with you just a few of my favourite textures that I have encountered over the years that I’ve been creating with Powertex.

T-shirt Yarn
I have to start with t-shirt yarn. Made from the off cuts from the textile industry, not only is it a great use of otherwise waste material, it was t-shirt yarn that first led me to Powertex. Originally, I was using it to crochet chunky bags and doorstops and wanted to make a plant pot that could go outside… so on the hunt to find something that would harden it and make it weather resistant, I discovered Powertex. (and then I discovered all the other amazing stuff you could do with Powertex, and the rest is history!!)
You can pick up t-shirt yarn from the Powertex website.
Embossed Wallpaper
If you’ve seen my previous work and blogs, or been on one of my workshops then you will have seen wallpaper crop up here and there. Perfect for creating background textures quickly and easily, it is also available in such a huge range of patterns to suit any style or project. This is definitely one of my go-to’s.
I used a tree bark effect paper on the roof of my fairy house.
Stockinette Polishing Cloth
I am told this stripy cloth is for polishing cars, but it is even better Powertexed. Whilst the colours get lost under the darker Powertex, each stripe is actually a different knitted stitch and so the stripes are still visible as texture. I have used it for the cloak on this little hare.
My ‘hideous fabric’
I have always jokingly called this fabric my ‘hideous fabric’. I really don’t like flesh coloured fabrics and the elasticated embroidered pattern on this would make it a nightmare to try and make anything from. But the texture created by the stitching is absolutely gorgeous.
I found it reduced in a fabric department (probably because no-one normal would want it) and I bought all that they had left. Sadly I haven’ t been able to find anything even similar since and I am reaching the last of my stash!
Halloween decorations
This time of year is great for finding interesting spooky decorations that can be incorporated into projects. My favourite discovery this year is this fabulous netting from Wilkos (thank you fellow tutor Lin Shields for sharing her find with the rest of us).  Looks great on this bottle wrap created by Lesley in my workshop the other day.
Web fabric
Made from jute, this florists fabric creates beautiful effects, particularly as an interesting background texture. I love the irregularity of it.

 

 

Well, that’s enough from me, now get out there texture hunting…

Until next time, Abs xx

 

Let’s Get Organised by Abigail Lagden

 

It’s been a magical summer for me running many workshops for children (and adults) during the holidays. I’ve helped budding wizards create over 100 wands and 50 spell books!
But now, as they all head back to school, I felt it was time to treat myself to some special storage for my everyday essentials. And this fantastic MDF storage caddy by Candy Box Crafts fits the bill perfectly.
As it comes flat packed, I started by trying to work out how all the pieces fit together to make the organiser and I have to say it was quite a bit easier than I expected.
Once I knew where all the pieces were going I used bronze Powertex to glue them together by painting a very thin layer on the joining surfaces and fitting them all together (I also painted all of the inside surfaces with bronze Powertex as I wanted a dark interior).
Top tip – I used elastic bands around the outside of the organiser to hold all of the pieces tightly together whilst the Powertex dried.
I confess, with this project I didn’t really know where I was going with the decoration at the start, I just knew that I wanted it not to be too bulky so that it would fit onto my already jam packed work surface. So I started by using Easy Structure paste through stencils to add an embossed pattern to all four sides – as well as some other stencils from my stash, I used the fabulous Fossilized and Wonderland stencils by the Secret Art Loft.
The structure paste was allowed to dry before all four sides were painted with Lead Powertex and small 3D Balls sprinkled into the wet Powertex.
I then mixed a paste using Lead Powertex and Easy 3D Flexwhich a spread over some of the blanker areas of the sides using a palette knife and pushed some pieces of a jigsaw puzzle into the paste on the front. This was left overnight to allow the paste to dry and crack.
I then used Powerwax mixed with Powercolor pigments to apply layers of colour using a sponge. I used the following pigment colours – turquoise, green, white, blue, burgundy and lilac. And finally dry brushed using Rich Gold Colortricx mixed with Easy Varnish.
To brighten up the centre piece I decoupaged it using EasyCoat Mat and pieces of this gorgeous rice paper.
Once it had all dried it was time to put it to use. Apologies for the state of my bottles and brushes but was made to be a working storage caddy so it would have been unbelievable for everything to be brand new and spotless. Two 1kg Powertex bottles fit into their compartments perfectly and then there is still plenty of space left for brushes, and your other crafty essentials.
Hope you have enjoyed this month’s project and have been inspired to get organised.
You can see more of my work, my workshops and my antics on my Curiously Contrary facebook page and website.
Until next time, Abs xx

 

Rainbo the Elephant by Abigail Lagden

An exciting design team pack arrived this month. Imagine my surprise to open it up and find an elephant inside!!

 

I love all the animal MDF templates by Powertex UK. But these new ones are a bit more exciting. They have been cunningly designed to fit across the pins of the large 2 pin metal stand which means you have the option to make a 3D, free-standing sculpture.
Now, you may have seen that we had the annual Powertex Tutor Retreat in July which was follow by a fabulous Abyssimo workshop run by Maria Fondler-Grossbaum. All of the projects we completed over the three days were all very different and all well away from my comfort zone. But I adore learning new techniques and mingling with other lovely creatives, so it was the most wonderful weekend. Anyway, here are my three completed projects…
Rosie Casselden’s Fish Workshop
Abyssimo Workshop
Tracey Evans’ Workshop

 

What I took away from the weekend was a need to do something bright and funky with my elephant project as well as (among other things) the three new, scrummy acrylic paints from The Secret Art Loft. I was also inspired by all the gorgeous unicorns created at the Secret Garden Party.
For this project you will need:

 

And here is what I did…
First I covered the base in cling film so it wouldn’t get covered in mess!
Then I attached the MDF elephant to the large 2 pin metal baseusing masking tape. I used some 1mm armature wire to form the shape of the ears, which was fed through the two holes in the template and secured in place using masking tape.

I then built the elephant out using tin foil and masking tape, so it was no longer just a flat piece of MDF. All of the foil was covered using masking tape before being coated with a layer of white Powertex universal medium.
I mixed some stone art clay using white Powertex and StoneArt. I used about four fist sized balls of stone art clay for the whole thing. I prefer to leave my stone art clay overnight before using as I find it easier to work with after is has rested for a bit.
Taking small pieces at a time, I covered the elephant with the stone art clay and used a clear stamp and a wooden printing block to impress flowers and patterns into the clay.
I used the remaining clay to mould some daisies using the Powertex Daisy Mould and attached these with a little white Powertex.
For the ears I used white Paper Decoration to get a texture rich wrinkly surface.
I added some fish net fabric over the elephant’s back and some flowers on the trunk but changed my mind at the colouring stage and removed them.
The project was left to dry. Where I have added stone art clay embellishments, I find it is a good idea to let project dry before colouring as the clay shapes can shrink a little and expose some of the white surface underneath them.
Once dry I used the Secret Art Loft acrylic paints to transform the elephant into a rainbow (Is this getting a bit predictable now?). I applied the paints using a mixture of a brush, a sponge and my fingers!
The paint was left to dry before using white Powertex to dry brush the surface to enhance the appearance of the textures, followed by clear gold colortricx mixed with easy varnish.

 

And, after my Abyssimo workshop, I couldn’t resist adding a little bit of bling too!

I hope you like my rainbow bright elephant and will be inspired to get creating with Powertex.

Please feel free to have a look at what I am up to on my Curiously Contrary facebook page and website.
Until next time, Abs xx

 

From Special to Steampunk Extra Special by Abigail Lagden

From Special to Steampunk Extra Special by Abigail Lagden

One of the many things I love about Powertex is how easy it is to take old and unwanted items and turn them into something spectacular. But it doesn’t have to be unwanted items, you can also take cherished, sentimental items and preserve them by incorporating them into a piece of art . We all have pieces of clothing or jewellery, even toys or other keepsakes that are safely hidden away in boxes, cupboards and drawers. With Powertex you can find a way to display them.
In this blog I will show you how I transformed an old hat into a fabulous piece of wearable art, incorporating all kinds of special trinkets and fabrics into the design.

The idea grew from a few events that I had planned over June and July this year. At the end of July I will be selling my creations at the Whitby Steampunk Weekend and anyone who has been will know how spectacular some of the outfits and costumes are. So, I wanted to create something a bit special to wear myself, that would also demonstrate how Powertex can be used.

 

In June, I also participated in a couple of events where I was demonstrating Powertex and allowing visitors to have a go. So, I decided to create a piece of art that visitors could add to throughout the two events. What better than a hat, which once complete, could double up as something I could wear at the Steampunk Weekend!
Original hat
Converted hat
The old hat I started with was a fedora style hat, so first I needed to make this a bit more Victorian and convert it into a top hat. I did this by just using cardboard to make the desired shape. (The lace band and flower on the original hat was removed and is waiting in my stash for another project)
The whole base hat and cardboard was then painted with bronze Powertex and the cardboard secured onto the hat using a strip of fabric coated in Powertex. It was now ready to be transformed. Over the two events, a variety of embellishments and trinkets that I had stashed away were added to the hat, sitting in scrunched up pieces of different textured fabrics all coated with bronze Powertex.
After the first event, Make in Durham
After the second event – Clervaux Fair
By the end of the second event the hat was approximately two thirds covered, so I didn’t have too much left to do myself other than add the unzipped cogs and cover the top and brim.
Back of hat
For the final colour I wanted it to have a Victorian feel so I opted for burgundy powercolor pigment over the fabric elements and copper, bronze and gold colortricx over the embellishments. I couldn’t resist a rainbow in there somewhere though, so the unzipped cogs got that honour!
Front of hat
I can’t wait to proudly wear my hat in Whitby at the end of July – watch out on my Curiously Contrary facebook page for photos from the weekend.
Until next time, Abs xx

 

A Powertex Masquerade Ball by Abigail Lagden

A Powertex Masquerade Ball

by Abigail Lagden

Well, as someone who loves an mdf embellishment or two, thismonth’s project pack had me drooling over the number of lovely pieces included. Just look at all these flourishes, florals, feathers and fans:
Add in Easy 3D Flex and this is almost my ideal kit!
As this kit contains so much to play with I was easily able to make two projects and had a few bits left over at the end. This blog will describe how I made the Mask on a Canvas project.
 
 
Project 1 – Mask on Canvas
Products used in the final version of this project:

 

I wanted my mask to sit on a canvas and decided the beautiful cracked effect of the Easy 3D Flex would make a lovely textured background. So I painted the canvas with a coat of black Powertex first to make the cracks look darker – although this isn’t necessary.
I then mixed Ivory Powertex with Easy 3D Flex to form a fairly thick paste and spread it around the areas of the canvas that would show around the mask. I varied the thickness of the paste to give different texture and depth of cracks across the canvas.
Brown bister was then sprayed over the canvas and it was left overnight to dry and start cracking.
I used Easy Coat Matt to stick some of the Venice rice paper onto the full face mask. This was positioned to show through underneath the half face mask. Some lace was then coated with ivory Powertex and ruffled up along the side of the base mask.

 

For the half face mask, I cut a piece of swirly wallpaper to fit over the whole surface. Ivory Powertex was used to attach the paper onto the mask and to coat the top surface of the paper.
I changed my mind a few times throughout this project. Initially I painted the feathers with different colours of Powertex and used bister and a hairdryer to create a crackled look. I also painted the flourishes and florals with red & blue Powertex. Here are the feathers.
However, when I came to put it all together I felt it looked a bit disjointed so I painted all of these bits over with ivory Powertex and I also sprinkled 3D sand and 3D small balls onto the florals and flourishes while they were wet. I love that the texture of the bister crackles is still visible on the feathers.

 

All of the florals and flourishes were then added to the half face mask using ivory Powertex.
I covered the rice paper on the base mask using cling film to protect it, and then positioned the half mask over the top. To get nice vibrant colours to blend with the rice paper, I used the violet, egg yolk and aqua acrylic inks from The Secret Art Loft and sprayed them onto the layered masks.
A lesson learnt! – I put the project out in the sun between sprays to dry – sadly a bad idea as the cling film ended up welding itself onto the Easy Coat Matt and did not peel off nice and easily as expected to real the lovely paper. Hence, if you look closely you will see some wrinkles of cling film still left in places.
Once I was happy with the colours, I removed what cling film I could from the base layer and attached the half face mask on top using transparent Powertex (any colour Powertex can be used to stick the bits together if applied with care).
The dried bister was gently wiped back off the cracked canvas with a sponge to lighten the colour before the masks were attached using transparent powertex.
Then just a touch of dry brushing using white powercolor pigment mixed with easy varnish to give it some highlights, and it was finished.

 

As mentioned I also made this second project using the MDF from the kit, black Powertex, and Easy 3D Flex. Coloured using red ochre powercolor pigment and the beautiful pearl pigments from The Secret Art Loft.
And I had these bits left over!!
To see more of my creations and workshops, pop over to my Curiously Contrary facebook page.
Until next time,
Abs xx