Scarecrows in September

Wow, it’s September already! I love September the start of autumn and all those fabulously rich warm colours.  As a farmers daughter the harvest was always such a special time, I loved helping dad bring in the harvest when the whole countryside appeared to turn rich rusty gold, snuggly nippy nights, warm mellow days…oh and scarecrow trails!

Did you know that scarecrows have been around for over 3000 years? The Egyptians were the first to use Scarecrows along the Nile River to protect wheat fields from flocks of quail (see link to a great source The  History of Scarecrows). The Greeks, Romans and Japanese all had a form of scarecrows.  I think the scariest story of scarecorws was from medieval Britain who use living Scarecrows!!! 9-year old boys and older patrolled wheat fields carrying bags of stones to pelt the crows if they landed in the fields.

I hope you find my interpretation a lot friendlier!

To get started I needed to make an armature, now forgive me here because I was doing it all in a rush and didn’t remember photographs until it was made ready to StoneArt.  I will try to explain…
First I used a wooden base and some 2mm aluminium wire.  I pulled off around about a meter and starting from the centre I made a circle for the head by wrapping the wire around a jam jar. I extended out each side to made shoulders and arms and then wrapped the tail of each around the pole on the wooden stand.
Once this was done I used masking tape to secure it in place and padded out the body, arms and head with a lot of cheap kitchen foil.  I then masked the whole thing with masking tape.
I then made up a quantity of StoneArt Clay – around 150ml of Ivory Powertex – once this was made I painted Powertex onto the masking tape to give the StoneArt clay something to key onto and then added pieces of clay that I had flatted between my fingers.  Once it was covered I used the end of a paintbrush to mark out eyes, mouth and nostrils.  I then painted a thin layer of Powertex over the clay and gently rubbed in more dry StoneArt Powder.  I left this quite rough as I wanted a rough weather work finish. I then set aside to dry.
Now it was time to dress the Scarecrow.  I used Transparent Powertex which I worked into some ivory paperdec to cover the the arms and head to give the impression of being stuffed with straw.   Next I used two similar sized pieces of natural paperdec and worked transparent Powertex in. Tip: it uses a lot more than you think but once dried it is clear and hard.  I draped them over the shoulders and about two thirds of the way down on both front and back.
I used additional pieces to cover the wooden pole and base to give the effect of a tree trunk.  I also covered a little mdf mouse that was left over from another Powertex MDF kit. Finally I added some more ivory paperdec to make a scarf.  I then left it to fully dry, it took about 3 days!
Now to add colour! I could fill the whole blog with the very many colours and layers I added. However I wont but I will say that i started with Powercolor ultramarine blue and a tiny spec of black pigment mixed with Easy Varnish.  to colour the blanket coat.  I used dark green for the base, orange and red for the scarf.  For the straw, I used yellow and red ochre in varying degrees and used red ochre on the mouse.  I then built more layers of colours to get a well weathered look on his coat using Colortricx in pearl and copper.  I coloured the tree trunk with Secret Artloft Pigment in Golden Olive.
I then made up a small quantity of StoneArt Clay using Bronze Powertex Fabric hardener. I used a golf ball sized ball of the clay and pressed onto the top of the Scarecrows head
 I rolled this with a craft rolling pin and shaped into a circle and draped over a yogurt pot to shape
Then I layed it over the powertex ball on the head and finished the shaping.  I also pressed a little butterfly into the hat that was left over from some other project.
I added two mdf ravens which i painted with Powercolor Black mixed with Easy Varnish. Once they were dry I used Secret Art Loft Pigments in Interference Lilac to add some shimmer and Tequila Sunrise to colour the beak. I stuck these on using some matte gel for speed and added some tiny rhinestones for the eyes on the mouse and ravens.

 

Hope you like my rather friendly but scruffy weathered Scarecrow!
Have a fabulous autumn and don’t forget to share your makes with us over in The Powertex Studio and Powertex Addicts United.

Hipsters and Lattes

Hipsters and Lattes

Autumn; a beautiful and retrospective time of year. I love winter best but that means I appreciate autumn all the more because we’re one step closer to the magic season. I don’t normally get excited about Halloween (too British, too boring, too old maybe?) but Powertex has worked it’s charms; who wouldn’t be excited when faced with the dreamy new gothic goodies on the Powertex website?!

So I momentarily forgot my stuffy Englishness and threw myself into the autumn vibe. Hello October

A trendy friend came to visit and we were heading out for a walk around the lake. The autumn sun was shining, massive sunglasses were on and I pictured us clutching a cup of something hot and delicious strolling through the red and gold leaves. 

“Lets go to Starbucks!” I suggested, determined to try a Pumpkin Spiced Latte (I’ve seen them on Instagram, it’s what the cool people drink apparently). I honestly don’t know what possessed me. I am not adventurous with food, (ditto drinks). I like a cappuccino or if I’m feeling really wild, a mocha with cream. Trendy Friend ordered a ‘flat-white’ (seriously) and I nonchalantly ordered a Pumpkin Spiced Latte, as if I, unfashionable and rural as I am, always order such exotic drinks (of course I added a bacon roll too).  

Let me tell you it was singularly the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted (aside from Pernod, and no-one wants to know how that story ended). Of course, I couldn’t throw it away, I’d look like a provincial nerd. I wanted to continue with my vision (which was already slightly marred by the bacon roll), so I bravely finished the lot. 

For the next 24 hours, that Pumpkin Spiced Latte reminded me I had drunk it; everything else I ate that day was laced with Pumpkin Spice (not as pretty as it sounds) and I had to admit to myself that I am not a hipster. Never mind, I need reminders every now and again that my vision does not always equal my reality, especially when it comes to all things hipster. But there’s always Powertex to comfort myself with! 
                        The Vision                                                                     
The Reality! 

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?

Walk like an Egyptian!

When we all saw the ‘wonderful things’ Egyptian collection bought out by Powertex Uk. It was like being at a fireworks display! The ooooo’s and the ahhhhhhh’s. And then when we all saw the samples together in training they just got progressively louder.
I think this has to be my favourite theme so far and Tracey put some cracking products together. From rice papers, to mdf shapes, moulds, plaster busts, rubber stamps and more! So without further a do here are some of the luscious Egyptian pieces of art created. Toodle pip Anna xXx