Mosaic Madness

Designer – Annette Smyth

Hello Everyone, this month’s theme of Ancient Rome has got me really excited.

Why I hear you ask?…….Well, my Dad was born in the village of North Leigh in Oxfordshire.  It is here that the remains of one of the largest Roman villas can be found.  At its height, around the early 4th century it had 4 bath suites, 16 mosaic floors and 11 rooms with underfloor heating.  I expect the inhabitants found our climate a little cool!  

Mosaic madness

It was the mosaic floors that really grabbed my imagination and so I did a bit more digging into their symbolic meaning.  I found that homes often had a mosaic with medusa in. This was considered a lucky talisman as  it was thought to ward off evil,  as her stare would turn the viewer to stone.

Powertex Mosaic Madness by Annette Smyth

I immediately thought of using stone art to create the tiles and rather than Medusa I chose to use the Green man plaster , a more gentle image. The piece needed to be rustic and aged so bister was the perfect choice and having missing and misplaced tiles around the edge also gives it a timeworn feel.

If you would like to read more about the history of the villa please click here.

Materials List

Mdf circle or old hardboard place mat – mine was 28cm wide
Ivory Powertex Universal Medium
Stone Art
Green Man Plaster face
Brown Bister
Colortricx pigments – Red Ochre, Yellow Ochre, White, Mocha, Ultramarine blue
Easy Varnish
Powerwax (can be replaced with Stone Art see step 12)

You will also need
Non stick rolling pin
2 pieces of wood to be used as guides for rolling out your clay in step 2 – mine were just under 1cm thick 

1 Make Stone Art clay

Make the Stone Art clay by mixing the Ivory Powertex with the Stone Art.

2 Roll out the clay

Using the wooden guides, roll out the clay on a non stick surface.

Using guides allows you to roll to the same depth each time.

Texture added with sponge

3 Adding texture

Using a texture sponge, press into the clay to create texture then cut up into 1cm squares with scissors.

4 Dry enough tiles

Place these tiles to one side to start to dry.  I used 122 on my piece.

Designer tip – make spare tiles to test dry brushing colours on later.

5 Paint the base

Paint both sides of your base with Ivory Powertex and dry.

Place the plaster face on the base and roughly draw around it.

6 Make up your “grout”

Make up a paste of Stone Art powder and Ivory Powertex.  Think of this as your grout.

7 Attach the plaster face

Place some paste inside the line for your plaster face, paint the back of the plaster with Ivory Powertex and then place onto the base.

8 Place your tiles

Spread out more of paste, in a thickish layer, around the face and start placing your tiles in your chosen pattern.  

Mosaic sprayed with Bister

9 Spray with Bister

Spray with a light misting of brown bister and leave to dry overnight.

10 Add colour to the face

With a damp sponge, remove excess bister.

Using the Red and Yellow Ochre pigments mixed with Easy Varnish colour the plaster face.

Add Ultramarine Blue to the eyes.

Dry brushing the tiles

11 Colour the tiles

Using the Red Ochre, Yellow Ochre and Mocha pigments with Easy Varnish I coloured the outside 2 circles of tiles.

12 Colour the grout

Using Powerwax mixed with Yellow Ochre I created a paste to fill in the gaps between the tiles and up to the plaster.  Remove excess with a damp sponge.

Allow to dry overnight and polish with a soft cloth.

Top tip

Why not try using the Stone Art paste mixed with Yellow Ochre if you don’t have any Powerwax.

I have really enjoyed creating this piece and can see so many more projects that would work well with this technique. How about making your own plaque with your house number on?

I would love to know what you create following this article. Why not share your creations on the Powertex Studio Facebook group.

If you would like to see more inspiration ideas why not have a look at my previous article or join me for a workshop at my home studio.

Until next time, Happy Creative Adventures………Axx

Textured top hat for beginners

Hi it’s Kore! Take a look a this adorable little Top Hat project. This cute kit size makes a great project for an afternoon of crafting and all you need to add is some Powertex Universal Medium and a couple of pigment colours. As always you can include fabric, lace and embellishments from your own stash.
Powertex Top Hat project
Powertex Top Hat Project pack
Ingredients
Top Hat project kit
Apron, gloves, Paper/plastic plate, flat brush, paper towel.
Optional
Length of string to wrap around hat
Small piece of cotton/muslin to wrap front of hatband
Piece of t-shirt yarn/strip of fabric to make a bow
(Remember natural fabrics and fibers work best with Powertex)
You can see the decorative pieces I’ve chosen below. The MDF pieces and the wallpaper from the pack plus a length of string, tshirt yarn (enough for a bow) and a piece of cotton muslin, enough to pleat and wrap around the front.

 

Powertex project choosing embellishments
Pour a few tablespoons of Bronze Powertex into your plate and paint the base pieces. You have about an hour of working time. This seals the MDF and is used to glue the base pieces together. Dry them on a plastic surface or craft mat.

 

Prime MDF with Powertex Bronze
I had a play with laying out my pieces and decided to tear up the wall paper so I could get the texture all over. When you know which pieces you like, paint them with the Powertex.

 

Powertex project layout
Now pour out a few more tablespoons of Powertex and use your brush to paint and stick down the wallpaper pieces and paint over them. You may want to wear your gloves for this part!
To add the fabric hatband use your fingers to apply Powertex to half the fabric, not too wet, and then massage it through the whole piece. Ensure the whole piece is covered but don’t saturate it or it will take a long time to dry. The fabric should be sticky to hold. When it’s ready, you can wrap it around the front of the hat, creating pleats and wrinkles as you like. The Powertex will stick the fabric to the base and when dry will hold it’s shape.
Use the same technique with the string. Tuck the feather into the hat band while the fabric is wet.
Use Powertex to adhere any other embellishments such as the small hearts, the tag or anything else you fancy! Just remember that Powertex doesn’t stick well to plastic. If you prefer you can colour your embellishments before sticking them to your finished project.
Leave to dry. Depending on room temperature this may take 1-4 hours to be touch dry. My art table on a sunny day will dry this nicely in half an hour!

 

Project coated with Bronze Powertex
There’s lots of texture on here so now we need to bring that to life with some colour. We use Powercolor pigments for our colours. They come in powder form so can be mixed with many mediums but here we are going to use Easy Varnish to create a paint that is also weatherproof!
I chose Red Ochre and Yellow Ochre as these warm pigments really complement each other and look fantastic against the Bronze Powertex.
Use a flat 3/4 inch brush and put a small blob of varnish on a plastic plate or craft mat. Pull a tiny amount to the side with your brush and then dip the tip of your brush into the powder pigment. Tap off any excess and then mix this with your varnish. The varnish dries quickly so mix small amounts.
For the dry brushing technique in this project your paint mixture should be quite dry. Wipe excess paint from your brush on a paper towel before you touch your project. Keep your brush flat and brush your project in the same direction each time. Your aim is to highlight the textures you have created and leave the Bronze coming through.

 

Powertex Top Hat Powercolor pigments
I used more of the red at the top of the hat and more the yellow at the bottom. Also if you’re not sure about the colour, you can brush over it again until you’re happy. The Yellow Ochre was great for highlights against the Red Ochre background.

 

Powertex top hat close up
I made, dried and dry brushed the bow in Yellow Ochre before I attached it with Bronze Powertex.

 

Powertex top hat close up
I brushed pigments straight onto the feather piece.

 

Powertex top hat close up
The Yellow Ochre hearts really stand out against the dark background  but I used white for highlights.

 

Powertex top hat close up
Products can feel overwhelming when they do so much but these techniques are simple and fun for   any age. The project packs make it easy to get started and you can add treasures or scraps from your stash to make it really personal.
Powertex top hat project
I really hope you’ve enjoyed this project. Don’t forget to check out the YouTube channel for instructional videos and projects or The Powertex Studio on Facebook for inspiration or to chat to other Powertex Addicts! You can also contact Powertex UK to find a Certified tutor or workshop near you.
Ok, now it’s your turn, have a go and let your art out!
Kore x

 

What a hoot!

What a Hoot! – by Abigail Lagden
I have loved the owl templates since Powertex first introduced them, so imagine my delight when I opened my design team parcel to find not just the owl, but lots of extra embellishments and shapes too in the Project Pack Owl. Here they all are:

 

I wanted my owl to have lots of texture and ruffles, so I also used the following bits I had lying around (very little gets thrown away in our house if it is deemed to be powertexable and I judge just about everything on a texture rating) :
  • Some part-shredded cardboard packaging (courtesy of my Powertex parcel!)
  • Some zig-zag corrugated cardboard which had been protective packaging around a plant pot
  • Some embroidered, stretchy peach fabric which those of you who have been to one of my workshops will know I affectionately call my ‘hideous fabric’ – I hate all skin coloured clothing and also know this would be a nightmare to sew with.
  • Some t-shirt material
  • Some flat cotton yarn
  • Some cotton lace with a circle design
  • Some elasticated, ruffled, cotton lace

This is how my owl was created:

1.   I used the wings as templates to draw around and cut the embossed paper to size. These were coated with bronze powertex and stuck onto the mdf wings and the top surface painted over.
2.  The owl shaped mdf base was fully painted with bronze powertex
3.  The ruffled lace was used in strips for the tail and the shredded cardboard laid across this to form the branch.
4.  One of the mdf rings was wrapped with the flat cotton yarn. One of the circles from the lace was cut out and attached to the other mdf ring.
5.  The corrugated cardboard was cut to make a shape to cover the owl’s belly. This was attached using powertex and painted over.
6.  The ‘hideous fabric’ was used to add some ruffled texture around the corrugated cardboard.
7.  T-shirt fabric was used on the face and ruffled around the two mdf rings which became its eyes.
8.  The feet, beak, button and butterflies were then positioned, and finally the gorgeous eye.

 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words… so I guess a video must be worth at least a thousand more. To prove that point (and also because it easier than stopping to take photos when ‘in the zone’) I have included a couple of time-lapse videos in this blog to show you my project’s emergence.
This one shows the owl being ‘built’.

And this video shows the colour being dry brushed onto the owl. I used different blends of burgundy, red ochre, yellow ochre, orange and white powercolor pigments, followed by some rich gold and bronze gold colortricx.

 

 

I hope you found the videos useful. You can see more of what I have been up to on my facebook page.

Take care. Until next time, Abs xx