Improving Mental Well Being the Arty Way


Whether you feel you have any artistic talent or not, we were all born with the need to express ourselves in whatever form that may take. I believe that creative expression benefits our brains and our mental health, making us happier, healthier people. Read these 5 ways art makes a difference: 

1. Stress Relief
Creating artwork provides a distraction that gives our brain a break from the norm. Activities like painting, sculpting and drawing are relaxing and rewarding – lowering stress levels and leaving us feeling mentally clearer and calmer.
We’ve all been in ‘the zone’ when we get totally immersed in a creative project? This focuses our mind and pushes aside all worries, we’re concentrating on the art and don’t have time to think about the bills, it acts like meditation.

2. Creative Thinking
Art enhances our problem-solving skills, encouraging creative thinking so that we come up with our own solutions. This alternative thinking also stimulates our brain to grow new neurons. We can use art to stimulate the brain, like exercises that use our senses in new and novel ways.

3. Boost Self-Esteem
We all proudly display our children’s artwork on the fridge and we should do the same for our own artwork too! The ‘happy hormone’ dopamine has been shown to stimulate the creation of new neurons and prepare our brain for learning. Craft hobbies like knitting, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography, sculpture, woodwork, gardening and even home DIY all increase our levels of dopamine, ward off depression and protect our brain from aging.

4. Quality of Life for Dementia Patients
I’m a firm believer that music and art can enhance cognitive abilities and memory for people with dementia. Dementia is not just about memory loss, patients also experience agitation, aggression, anxiety, depression and insomnia. When dementia patients are encouraged to create visual art, sing or make music, their pleasure is clear to see and it can improve their social behaviour and reduce their symptoms.

5. Chronic Health Conditions
Millions of people deal with chronic health conditions, along with the stress and anxiety that accompanies them. Studies have found that music and visual arts have a positive effect on chronic illnesses:
  • It lets patients forget about their illness for a while, focussing on a positive experience
  • It enables people to rediscover their identity from before their illness took over
  • It gives sufferers a sense of achievement
  • It helps people to express their feelings
  • It reduces stress by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol

So if you’re suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, there are many ways that art can help. Whether it’s picking up a colouring book in your lunch hour or joining a week-long sculpture retreat, you can express your emotions and overcome some of those negative feelings.

Art Nouveau Canvas

Art Nouveau Canvas by Liz Dixon

Hi Everyone.  Have you seen the beautiful new rice papers & all the lovely MDF shapes that Powertex UK now have in stock?  I couldn’t wait to get making as there are so many Mixed Media possibilities (as if there weren’t enough already within the Powertex range!!)
I particularly love the Art Nouveau papers – elegant ladies in flowing gowns, which go perfectly with the swirls & curls of the Acanthus MDF shapes.
The canvas was given a base layer of Ivory Powertex & once dry, the Rice Paper was applied with Easy Coat Mat.
I raided my stencil collection & added texture to the canvas & MDF using Easy Structure, before getting busy with the Bisters.  The Rice paper was a great place to start for colour palette inspiration!
Paper trim, more MDF, paper flowers & some self-coloured Stone Art clay Ivy leaves completed the complilation, before dry brushing with Easy Varnish & Colourtrix Pigments 
I wonder what your Powertex inspiration will be today?

Mixed Media Steampunk Book Box

I have been looking for an excuse to make a steampunk-inspired project for a while & the perfect opportunity came up a few weeks ago in the form of a friend’s 40th birthday fancy dress party. The theme was ‘school uniform’, but instead of the obvious St. Trinians outfit, I opted for a Steam Punk School Mistress, complete with book (which doubled as a handbag for the evening).

Of course, being part of the Powertex UK Design Team 2017, it was much more fun to create my own steampunk book box/handbag than to try to find one to buy!  Here’s a brief explanation of how I did it…

I started with a paper mache book box, a selection of steam punk embellishments, corrugated cardboard, cotton lace, teabag papers & of course, some of our lovely Powertex products – Powertex transparent and ivory , Silk Paper Mechanisms, Easy Coat Mat & brown bister.

The spine of the book was decoupaged in pieces of tea bag paper sprayed in bister.  The Easy Coat Mat was used to fix them in place before applying a 2nd coat to seal. Then the ‘Mechanism’ silk paper was applied to the front & back covers.  I love how the teabag papers look like old leather!

The ‘pages’ of the book were made using the corrugated card.  Cut to size, paint with a mix of ivory Powertex & brown bister, & spray with more bister to ‘age’ the pages.  Leave to dry before attaching.

Finally the cover design.  Arrange your embellishments & lace, then attach using Powertex transparent.

I finished the whole thing off with a little sprinkle of Powertex Rusty Powder, sprayed with a water/vinegar mix & left overnight to react before sealing with Easy Varnish.  Great fun to make & perfect to complete my outfit for the fancy dress event.

To find out more about Powertex art supplies, find a certified tutor near you or ready other blogs by Powertex UK & the Design Team, visit www.powertex.co.uk & don’t forget to share your makes on our Powertex Addicts facebook page.