Bee Creative Challenge winner

Powertex UK Mixed Media art Bees

A huge thank you to those who entered the Bee Creative Challenge this month. We hope you have found some comfort in your crafting. We had some gorgeous entries using a bee theme for Spring.

The bee silicone moulds from Powertex UK made appearances in these Powertex creations. They make beautifully detailed embellishments for mixed media art and craft.

Here’s a round up of some of the entries from the March photo album in The Powertex Studio.

Powertex Bee Boot by Crista
Crista Logan
Powertex Bee flower by Mandy Pawson, Bee creative challenge
Mandy Pawson
Powertex flower and bee by Alison BIrch, Bee creative challenge
Alison Birch
Powertex journal by Angie Forster Bee creative
Angie Forster
Powertex Journal by Patricia Williams
Patricia Williams

The winner is

Congratulations to Faith Waddell with her beautiful Ivory and Bister vase. Her embellishments are layered beautifully!

Powertex Bee vase by Faith Waddell, bee creative challenge
Faith Waddell

If you would like to take part in the Powertex UK monthly challenge you can find all the details here on the magazine or over on Facebook in The Powertex Studio Announcements. The new challenge is announced on the 5th of the month. See you there.

There’s snow place like gnome

Designed by Shell North

For my last blog I’m reminiscing from 4 years ago when I made my first ever Powertex Gnome ‘Amon the Shaman’. He was inspired by a supposed origins story of Santa, collecting Fly agaric, flying with his reindeer and delivering presents.

My original Powertex gnome seems to have inspired a flourish of gnome making. They are one of my most requested items to make in my workshop schedules. So I decided this, my last article of the year would be dedicated to them.

Powertex gnome by Shell North
‘Amon the Shaman’ First Powertex gnome by Shell North inspired by the legends.

So the legend as I heard it…

*Take this tale as you please, a bit of fun or maybe something to make you think…*

The image as we know

Long before the early 20th century Coca Cola adverts, Santa was commonly depicted as more of a gnome-like little man.

Gnome Santa

As old as tales

The origins of Santa’s style, and his bag of goodies, flying reindeer, entering through a chimney to deliver gifts, Pine tree’s may link way back to the ancestral traditions of a number of indigenous arctic circle dwellers. (He may well have come from the North Pole after all!)

On the run up to solstice the village shaman would go out to gather mushrooms, they would wear a mainly red outfit with either white trim or white dots, in honor of the mushroom’s colors.

The eve of festivities

On the eve of the Winter Solstice the shaman of the village would gather Fly agaric mushrooms. They would use them to travel on a spiritual journey to the (pine) tree of life. The tree of life located by the North Star held the answer to solve all the village’s problems for the coming year.

The Shamans would feed the Fly agaric to reindeer, their digestive systems can filter out most of the toxins. This makes (dare I say it) their bodily excretion safe for humans to drink.

*Warning* Fly agaric mushrooms are seriously toxic for humans to consume. So I am in no way promoting it! Maybe this is where the saying don’t eat yellow snow comes from?!

Solstice celebrations

The legend says that the shaman and reindeer would journey (fly) to the tree by the north star to retrieve the gifts of knowledge. These gifts would then be taken back to distribute to the rest of the village.

Returning home to the village yurt, for solstice. He would enter through the hole in the roof. The hole acted as a chimney with a central pole that held the yurt up over the fireplace. In gratitude for these gifts they would decorate Pine trees with offerings.

So that’s it, the story I’d heard that inspired my original gnome creation

Modern celebrations

It seems that maybe some of these traditions were carried down to the European pagans, taking on elements originating much farther north. Inevitably different cultures influenced one another due to migration and intermarriage, becoming merged with many other cultural traditions that we celebrate differently from one another today.

However you celebrate at this time of year, give thanks for any gifts, kind/wise words. Share precious times with your loved ones, and in your community (never let anyone go lonely). look towards the New year and the light that builds ever brighter from now until summer.

More about gnomes

Of course after my first gnome I loved making them, you can make them for any time of year. Here are a few of my gnomes that have developed over the years

Powertex gnomes by Shell North
Gnomes from top right to left: Amon the Shaman, Dumbledor, Norma,
Bottom right to left: Oakley, Noel, Nose-stradamus.
By Shell North
Powertex gnome by Shell North
‘Nose-stradamus’ the gnome.
My latest up graded gnome with new nose design made from Powertex stone art clay
– He predicts gnome domination 🙂

If you fancy making one of these little guys with me, my next gnome workshop is Feb 1st, find more info here.

Well that’s all from me, thank you for taking the time to read my blogs this year.

I hope you all have many festive blessings.

Peace, love and cheeky gnomes,

Shell x

Craft foam – Made for altering

by Annette Smyth

Hello everyone

By the time you are reading this the Yuletide season should be in full swing. I’m sure, by now, you will be ready for a little escapism with your crafty stash.

Powertex Picasso art by Annette Smyth
Powertex art by Annette Smyth

Did you manage to catch Tracey Evans on Hochanda on Thursday 21st November? If not click here to watch her on Rewind.

Tracey introduced a crafting foam substrate which works beautifully with all of the Powertex product range. Available on the Powertex website in 2 sizes – 30cm x 30cm or 15cm x 15cm both 5cm deep.

Altering craft foam

This craft foam base is crying out to be altered. Using files, rasps, old carving knives, scissors and other mark making tools, you can change the shape anyway you choose. I also tried using a hot wire cutter (designed for home use). However the density of the foam made this a more difficult option.

Keep all of the bits that fall off. Mix this into your Powertex later and reapply to the base to give even more texture.

Here are a few examples of how you could use the foam …..

Powertex craft foam art clock by Annette Smyth

Example one

Here the foam would be fashioned into a more circular shape before using the files etc to breakdown the edges to give a more worn stone effect. This piece has bronze Powertex Universal Medium, Stone Art, Yellow, green and brown Bister and is finished with matt and metallic pigments and Easy Varnish. The flourish and clock face are MDF and are available here.

Powertex craft foam clock by Annette Smyth

Example two

In this sample I drew out the shape I wanted onto scrap paper then used this as a template to draw around on the craft foam before cutting. I used white Powertex Universal Medium and Stone Art for the base and Stone Art clay in the Bee trio, Queen Bee and Ivy leaf moulds. The piece was then sprayed with yellow, brown and green Bister before being finished with pigments and Easy varnish.

Powertex craft foam Picasso art by Annette Smyth

Example three

In this piece, based on Picasso’s work, I again drew out a template on paper before transferring it to the foam and cutting. Use 2 pieces of 30cm x 30cm foam pieces for the elongated style.

This piece was achieved by using an extensive range of techniques and colourings across the full Powertex product range. Using White Powertex Universal Medium and the Acrylic Ink Sprays gives you a more vibrant colour scheme to work with.

Well that’s all for this year folks. I hope you have a Happy Yuletide season and look forward to creating with you again next year.

Until then please post any of your makes into the Powertex Studio group on Facebook. If you would like details of my workshops please visit my website here. Read more about my Picasso inspired art in this article.

Happy Creative Adventures

Annette xx

A kelp forest – under the sea

Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter

It was a beautiful, clear blue sky morning in the glorious heat of Summer 2018 we arrived at Porthgwarra Beach in far west Cornwall just as the tide was receding.  It’s such a beautiful cove and we kept spotting something in the water around the rocks and went to investigate.  It was a whole area of kelp – a Kelp Forest! Wandering through the pools left by the tide there were beautiful shells, stones and shiny pebbles.  This was my inspiration for this Under the Sea piece.

Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter
Under the sea: Kelp Forest

Supplies

How to make a Powertex kelp forest

Step 1: The ingredients
Step 2 - Setting in the wires

Step 1: Use either Stone Art or other air dry clay to push into moulds, leave to dry. Cut 9 or 10 lengths of wire and randomly drill holes into the mdf base.

Tip: I had a tennis ball size piece of Stone Art clay left over from a previous project that I kept. Spray water lightly over a piece of clingfilm which I wrapped tightly around the clay. I sealed it in a reusable plastic bag.

Step 2: Push wires into holes, secure with masking tape then rip lengths of masking tape sticking it the full length of both sides of the wire to create lengths of kelp.

The base

Step 3: Building the composition

Decorate the base

Step 3: Build a thick random layer of Easy Structure on the base, push shells, moulded sea shapes etc into the easy structure. Spray with bisters, set aside to dry.

Tip: If you use a large central shell like I did, it is worth masking off with some cling film or paper before you spray with bister

Step 4: Washing back and adding a top layer

The kelp

Step 4: Wash back the bister from shells and shapes. Use red ochre to colour some of the coral like shapes. Add a generous layer of transparent Powertex fabric harder on the base and drop in mixed art stones.

Step5: Adding the Kelp

Metallic colours

Step 6: Bringing out the colour

Step 5: Rip up lengths of pale green tissue paper and paste onto the kelp using transparent Powertex. Leave to dry. Transparent Powertex helps to keep the transparency.

Tips: Paint the transparent Powertex onto the masking tape and press the tissue onto it with a Powertex soaked brush.

Step 6: Using the blues and greens metallic pigments bring out the highlights of the bottom of the sea.  Brush Mojito Lime and Golden Olive, Limoncello Gold randomly on the kelp. If you leave lighter patches the sun will shine through enhancing the kelp.

Leave it in a place where you get the sun. Watch it at various times of the day to see where the sun lands and where you might want to add further metallics and maybe a pearl or crystal.

I hope this easy but interesting focal piece inspires you to create your own under the sea project. You might also like this lovely fish sculpture project by Annette.

Don’t forget to share your makes in The Powertex Studio and if you can give me a shout out that would be awesome.

That’s me for now, check back in June when I’m upcycling one of my early Angels that has been keeping watch in my garden for the last couple of years.

Bye for now

Fi

Powertex Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter
Powertex Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter

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