Inspired by Buddha?

Designed by – Shell North

One thing I love about being a part of the design team is getting asked to do pieces for upcoming Hochanda shows. Being a part of such a great team keeps me focused and gives me a huge sense of purpose. Eager to get creating and inspired by the Buddha kit, I knew exactly what my mind was being inspired to bring to life. I put my whole heart and soul into creating it.

My creative process

I created a scene of tranquility, calm, love and peace with the items I had been asked to use. For this piece I sat peacefully and envisioned creating textural scenery of bamboo, blossom trees and mountains, a place I could imagine Buddha sitting in contemplation.

Being unique

Use paperdecoration to cut out bamboo shapes and the main part of the blossom tree. Use mixed Stone art powder into a spreadable paste for the textural mountains and water. Utilise small and medium art balls for the blossom on the tree. Instead of using just the red Powertex universal medium as it’s stand alone colour, I mixed it with ivory Powertex to create the pink blossoms. I wanted this piece to show the unique and limitless ways you can use Powertex products.

If at first you don’t succeed, take a moment to walk away!

Sometimes, when you envision an idea in your head, it doesn’t quite come out as you imagined. Nearing the end of the piece, I actually didn’t like what I had created and had to walk away. In fact I wanted to throw it in the bin!

I cleared my head and looked at my work with a new perspective. I removed a part of the piece that wasn’t right by scraping away part of the blossom trunk and started that bit again. A clear mind was what I needed to feel more content with my piece.

and here it is…

Powertex temple inspired by Buddha project pack by Shell North
Powertex Buddha temple by Shell North

I hope you enjoyed this this article? Please do leave a comment below so we know you love what we are doing for the love of Powertex.

Feeling inspired and want to come and create one of these with me? Look at my website to see when the next course for this is being held at The Crafty Little Corner.

With the clocks going back in a few days here’s a link to my article last month, my Powertex clock. Also please do check out other design team members blogs like this rusty letter piece by Kore.

Anyway that’s all from me,

Peace, love and tranquil crafting.

Shell x

Powertex Clock, fall back

Designed by – Shell North

This month the design team were challenged to follow and complete a design team members step by step from a previous article. This came with one stipulation that we did it with our own twist. There were so many I wanted to do but in the end Abigail’s bright summer canvas caught my attention, it had a clock face! After all, the clocks go back very soon! My twist was to make it a real working Powertex clock with an autumn/fall styling.

List of materials:

Canvas, clock parts from my stash, Bronze Powertex fabric  hardener, Ivory Powertex fabric hardener, Pre-mixed 3D flex paste, thin cardboard packaging, dies from my stash, die cutting machine, Bister’s in Brown, mahogany and black, Power colour powder pigments Red ochre and white, Colortrix powder pigments. Easy varnish.

The making of my Autumnal clock

Step 1

Measure the center point of the canvas, mark and then make a hole big enough for the clock part.

Step 2

Paint with bronze Powertex fabric hardener. Dry, spread 3D flex in one direction, spray bister pigments. Followed by drying with hair dryer to create cracks.

Step 3

Using the cardboard die cut your shapes and arrange on canvas. Make sure the numbers fit over the top of any die cuts.

Step 4

Mix bronze and ivory Powertex to lighter brown, coat backs of shapes, attach to canvas followed by painting over them. While wet spray with Bisters.

Step 5

Dry with hair dryer thoroughly or leave over night, drying with a hair dryer thoroughly may create smaller cracks for extra texture.

Step 6

Dry brush with red ochre, adding a little white on second layer, finishing with bronze gold and terragreen colourtrix pigments mixed with easy varnish.

TIP: Do not dry brush if canvas is wet or even damp in anyway.

Finishing touches

To finish the piece add your clock mechanism.

Powertex clock with working mechanism in mixed media. Powertex clock by Shell North.

I hope you enjoyed my article in this months magazine, don’t forget to check out the other design teams blogs for further ideas. Additionally you can follow me on my website The Crafty Little Corner.

Ever thought about becoming a tutor yourself? As a creative team leader, I’m always looking to grow my team in Dorset. If you’ve ever considered it, read this article for inspiration.

Anyway that’s all from me this month, don’t forget to put your clocks back on 27th Oct this year!

Peace, love and autumnal wishes,

Shell

Powertex Creature Comforts

Designer – Shell North

What inspires me?

As a tutor I’m often asked how I come up with all my ideas and what Inspires me. My first answer is everything. I’m sure we all know a Powertex crafter that is inspired by everything around them and has a list longer than their arms of inspirations.

Creature Comforts

Creature comforts Powertex by Shell North
Creature Comforts by Shell North

Are you like me, someone who hoards every Powertex-able thing in sight from recyclables to a plethora of textures? The thing is all these inspirations form ideas and grow into creations. Could it be an inanimate item in a charity shop you imagine as something else. Could it be a feeling or connection in a place, maybe a vision or inspiration from another artists work?

Whatever your inspiration is, there’s usually a theme. My theme is often nature and animals or a bit of fantasy. In this month article I’m going to show and briefly talk about a few of the animals and creatures I’ve created since finding Powertex.

In the early days with Powertex fabric hardener

One of the first animals I created was this Frog. Now I thought he was ugly, even for a frog! But someone at an event fell in love and begged for me to sell her him a few days after creation, she adored him.

Frog sculpture in Powertex by Shell North
Ugly frog. Made from an inflated balloon base and Powertex coated cotton scraps.
Moon gazey hare bunny sculpture by Shell North
Moon gazey ‘bunny’ By Shell North. Made using Wire amateur, foil, masking tape and Powertexed hessian scraps

Inspired by moon gazey hares now, but wanting to try a stronger base to work on. I studied images to try get the shape right, without a 3D model it can be tricky to get anatomical correctness. This little guy however turned out more bunny sized than hare. I loved it all the same, as above, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Practice pays off

As time has gone on I learnt from ‘happy accidents’. They give you a learning curve, room for growth. I’ve also learnt that I do prefer to sculpt with the stone art clay as a first go to material. I find it easier for me to manipulate and build up the shape more naturally. These black bird and octopus are sculptures I’ve made with Stone art clay.

Black bird Powertex sculpture
Black bird, by Shell North. Made from Powertex stone art clay on polystyrene egg base.
Powertex octopus by Shell North
Powertex Octopus by Shell North. Made using wire armature, foil, Powertex stone art clay and Powertexed fabric
(Find Octopus tutorial here)

Getting a little quirky

Ginger cat Powertex by Shell North
Ginger quirky cat by Shell North. Made using bottle base, Powertex ivory stone art clay mix and red bister.
Black cat sculpture in Powertex by Shell North
Black quirky cat by Shell North. Made using bottle base, lead grey Powertex stone art clay mix and black bister.

Adding a twist of fantasy

The exciting thing about fantasy animals is that you can work on inspirations of nature’s animals and add a fantasy touch to it. Let’s face it, when you see some of natures wacky designs on many animals, birds and creatures, it does make you wonder if unicorns and dragons were actually real?! My first blog for the Powertex team was just this kind of unique style (see here).

Blue bird of paradise sculpture Powertex by Shell North
Powertex birds of paradise by Shell North. Made using mdf bird template, foil masking tape and blue stone art clay.

Final fantasy animal

My last piece of inspiration is to finish with one of my all-time favorite makes, my ‘wicker basket’ dragon. Another piece that spoke to me of it’s purpose at the tutor retreat challenge.

Dragon Powertex by Shell North
Dishy the dragon by Shell North. Made using a wicker plant basket, foil, masking tape, Powertexed dish cloths and Powertex stone art clay.

Inspiration isn’t always easy, sometimes we need to be shown an idea through tutorials or going to a workshop. Still needing inspiration? Find your nearest tutor in the tutor directory here.

Fancy making an animal sculpture with me? Find me here at The Crafty Little Corner.

Well that’s all from me this month, I hope I have left you with plenty of animal and creature inspiration.

Peace, love and creature comforts,

Shell x

If Medusa could Stone Art you

Designer – Shell North

For my July article we are delving into ancient Rome and looking at incorporating Medusa and Stone Art. The Romans were renowned for their love of wine, both producing it and drinking it. So a wine Medusa jug is what I will teach you to make this time.

Medusa was a Gorgon and one of the most frequently repeated motifs in Greek and later, in Roman antiquities. The Legend has it that if you were to gaze into her eyes you would turn to stone. Or in our case…Stone art!

Powertex Stone Art Medusa jug by Shell North

Materials List

Powertex materials list for Medusa jug
Powertex item list

How to make a Stone Art Medusa jug

Make some Stone Art clay

To start I mixed my own colour using the Bronze, Lead and Ivory Powertex Fabric Hardener to make my own shade of stone art clay. I mixed it with equal parts Stone Art powder to make the clay.

Mixing Powertex

TOP TIP Leave some of the Powertex mix aside before mixing in the Stone Art powder as you will need some for the cotton later.

Making the jug shape

Insert the bottle into the large yoghurt pot, add foil to create shape and cover in masking tape. Shape foil to create a handle and tape as above.

Make the jug shape with foil

The messy fun bit

Using the Stone Art clay, smooth pieces over the base little by little until covered. Shape a spout as desired with the Stone Art clay.

Add Stone Art clay

Adding the motif

Cover the back of your plaster face with a little Stone Art clay and smooth around the edges into position.

Plaster face
Use a plaster face

Creating the deadly snake hair

To create Medusa’s hair use some tiny strips of cotton and work them into the Powertex Fabric Hardener colour mix you made earlier.

Making fabric snake hair
Making snake hair

Creating moving hair

Using the wet strands, apply one by one in a wiggly position, over lapping and layering to create movement like living snakes!

Snake hair Medusa
Medusa

To finish

Dry brush lighter shades of Grey and Red ochre Powercolor pigments and Easy Varnish, finishing with lighter colours last to give a worn/aged appearance.

Powertex Stone Art Medusa jug by Shell North
Powertex Medusa jug by Shell North

Handy tip

TOP TIP To get even coverage with stone art, why not use a pasta machine to roll out your clay all in one equally level sheet. I have found many cheap second hand ones for £5 in charity shops! Just make sure your clay is not sticky before rolling through.

Did you see Kore’s planet canvas recently? I was hugely inspired by it so if you missed it, find it here and you too may find inspiration.

Hope you enjoyed this article? If so please comment below or share your inspiration on the Facebook Powertex Studio page.

Well that’s all for me this month,

Peace, love and a little splash of wine from my jug 😉

Shell xxx

Sweet dreams upon a Powertex night sky

By Shell North

I love the simplicity of using something like string or twine and knots to create something magical and unique. Wanting to step away from the full circle dream catcher I drafted a moon with star idea for sweet dreams.

I wanted to use techniques to create vegan feathers with twine. A lot of my past customers have been vegan and dislike the use of animal products so creating an ethical dream catcher was up there on my to do list. Created with a ‘boho’ style making from twine, a recycled lampshade ring, recycled jewellery (charity shop) and Ivory Powertex to make weatherproof for outdoor use.

Powertex sweet dreams dream catcher by Shell North
Dream Catcher by Shell North

What are dream catchers exactly?

Sometimes referred to as “Sacred Hoops”, Ojibwe dream catchers were traditionally used as talismans to protect sleeping people, usually children, from bad dreams and nightmares. Native Americans believe that the night air is filled with dreams, both good and bad.

When hung above the bed in a place where the morning sunlight can hit it, the dream catcher attracts and catches all sorts of dreams and thoughts into its webs. Good dreams pass through and gently slide down the feathers to comfort the sleeper below. Bad dreams, however, are caught up in its protective net and destroyed, burned up in the light of day.

Sweet dreams

Make as a soothing tool for kids! I made dream catchers for my children when they were young. Explaining how these would help ease their nightmares, quite handy indeed.

Call it a placebo effect for non-believers but my children believed what I said and they worked at soothing their nightmares, happy days!

Note – Use real feathers with children however as the twine ones will be slightly shape and pointy when hardened.

Putting it all together

Twine dream catcher for sweet dreams by Shell North
Pre Powertexed dream catcher by Shell North

I made the twine feathers first, using a knotting technique  around a length of twine, next I wrapped the lampshade hoop with twine. Using the standard catcher webbing but didn’t go all the way around so I could create the moon shape. I added a hanging beach wood cut star and then covered everything in Ivory Powertex hardener.

Finally once dry I finished by attaching the junk jewellery and beads I have collected from car boot sales, donations or charity shops. I don’t think I’m going to colour this, I like the simplicity of it. I enjoyed this so much I think I’m going to re-purpose some more broken lamp shades though and create different colours!

Sweet dreams dream catcher with Ivory Powertex by Shell North

Inspired?

Why not try create one of your own sweet dreams and share on our Powertex studio group page on Facebook? We always love to see what you create that’s inspired by our blogs. Also don’t forget to comment below. What would you have done differently? Does this inspire you to create your own? Share your inspired dream catcher in the Facebook group.

Did you like my charity shop upcycles here? Catch my February blog where I used a lot of recycled items along with the Secret Art Box subscription box.

The subscription boxes are exciting boxes of exclusive Powertex goodies that are delivered to your door each month! Don’t miss out on the fun, get yours today HERE .

Well that’s all from me this month,

Peace, love and sweet dreams,

Shell x

Mindfulness Mandala Triptych

Designer: Shell North

In this article I will be showing you how to create a Mindfulness Mandala Triptych. I wanted to incorporate one item as my focal point, the product of the month Easy structure paste. Wood was chosen to work on as this is something I haven’t done for a while. Easy structure works well on any flat surface that’s a natural element such as wood, metal, fabrics. This technique would also look great on an artist’s canvas, a sheet or grey board or wooden box. Even a sheet of metal, a glass pane and so much more could be used.

While looking for inspiration, mandalas came to mind. Mandala is a Sanskrit word, meaning circle. They can be used to focus attention and create a state of mindfulness. A universal symbol of wholeness and unity. The circle mirrors the universe, the movement of the stars, creation, cycle of life and the passage of time.

Mindfulness is often used as a therapeutic technique. It is being present in that moment, but being accepting of our feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations and our senses. Often what brings us into our senses is doing something, but in a mindful way.

I often find myself in a state of mindfulness while creating.


Each person’s life is like a mandala – a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life.


Pema Chödrön

MATERIALS LIST

Tools

  • Various ¾ inch flat brushes,
  • Small plastic pallet knives,
  • Large pallet knife
  • Paper cutting knife,
  • Hair dryer,
  • Kichen roll/paper towels,

*Because Bister spray can stain, make sure the area you work on is covered and protected.*

Step by Step

I selected a series of Mandala stencils from my personal stash and played around with the composition on my Triptych. I decided to add texture around them and a few embellishments to add depth to the piece. 

Creating texture with Powertex Easy structure.

Scrape Easy structure paste through each of the positioned stencils, holding with masking tape where needed. Dry with hair dryer.

Tidy it up.

Using a paper cutting knife, cut down the seams where any stencils overlap between the triptych pieces, so the edges are tidy when separated.

Give it a base coat with Powertex liquid hardener.

Using a wide flat brush, give the wood triptych pieces a coating of Powertex liquid hardener in Ivory.

Adding colour with Bister

While the Ivory liquid hardener is still wet, spray generously with 2 colours of Bister, over lapping the colours in the middle. Dry with hairdryer immediately.

Mindfulness Mandala Triptych

Adding another 3D layer

Apply transparent medium to the backs of all embellishments and place in centre of random mandalas. If they over hang, trim with scissors.

Mindfulness Mandala Triptych

Creating 3D flex paste

Using Powertex liquid hardener blue, 3Dflex powder and yellow Bister spray liquid, mix together until a thick ‘dryish’ paste. Adding more 3Dflex if needed.

Creating more texture and interest

Spread the 3Dflex mix between mandalas using a large pallet knife. Spread in one direction to create torque within the 3Dflex paste to encourage cracks!

Getting 3Dflex to crack

Spray over the 3Dflex paste with Bister in co-ordinating colours as before, 3Dflex also needs heat to crack so dry with hairdryer closely on hot setting.

Mindfulness Mandala Triptych

Highlighting

Now everything is dry, drybrush with Powertex liquid hardener-Ivory, this will absorb some of the bister pigment so will darken after a few moments.

Mindfulness Mandala Triptych

I added the finishing touch to this triptych by dry brushing with a mix of Powertex powercolor pigment powder in white mixed with a little easy coat varnish adding the final textural layer to the piece.

Mindfulness Mandala Triptych
Finished Powertex Mindfulness Mandala triptych

Top Tips

  • Have a bowl of warm soapy water to hand to put the stencils in after use so they are easily cleaned as the structure paste dries fast.
  • If you are not getting cracks with the 3D flex, try leaving item for a few hours in a warm place such as on top of a radiator or sunny window sill on a hot day.

Feeling inspired by this Mindfulness Mandala Triptych? Why not try this at home and post your creations on the Facebook Powertex Studio page?
Powertex studio

If you would like to come and learn this workshop find more details to future Triptych workshops here. Or send me a message at The Crafty Little Corner.

We love to hear your feedback so please leave a comment below. Did you catch my last blog? Find it here.

Well that’s all from me for now,

Peace, love and mandala’s Shell x

Stone Art Clay Powertex Birds

Mixed media Blue Powertex bird Stone Art clay sculptures

Stone Art Clay Birds of Powertex Paradise by Shell North

In December my first Design team blog goodie box arrived! I was so excited!!! I was given the theme of a pair of birds and these are some of the items I received to create something with stone art clay to hopefully inspire others. (eggs, molds and dies are my own)

I did some research for birds in the style of these new MDF bases. I’m usually quite inspired by nature but nothing I found tickled my imagination. So decided to create something whimsical and a little different. Something from my imagination that may represent a bird of paradise. Because sometimes we need thoughts of warmer places of tropical paradise in these colder month in the UK….

thumbnail_20190121_221319

Powertex uk’s favourite product of the month is Stone Art, I decided I was going to use stone art as a clay to cover this piece. I also pulled out my bottle of Blue Powertex liquid art medium. Although I love this colour, I just don’t use it enough! Mixing equal parts of Blue Powertex to stone art powder until I couldn’t stir it anymore. I kneaded it like dough until the stone art granules could not be seen. This was wrapped in cling film and left for a few hours while I prepped everything else.

thumbnail_20190120_191901

First step was to create the bird shape was cut two polystyrene eggs in half long ways and attach them to the breast areas of the MDF bases with masking tape. Molding the 3D shape of the birds with foil and covering in masking tape. Keeping the holes in the MDF bases open for the wire wings by piercing through the eggs with wooden skewers.  Then threading some wire through the bottom holes, I created a wing shape. Inserting the ends of the wires back in through the top holes on both birds, covering in foil and masking tape again. I built up the rest of the birds bodies as before with foil and masking tape.

Now the birds were fully covered in tape I pushed them onto the 2 pin metal base and molded legs for the birds with foil and tape as before to secure them.

The clay I had made earlier was now ready to use, so I warmed it slightly by kneading. I took clumps and rolled it out into sheets about 5mm thick. Wet the underneath with a little water and smoothed onto the birds piece by piece. To blend the areas as one, I again used a little water my finger tips and a small pallet knife. I also made some feather molds from the clay and added to the tail area of the birds.

For the wings I used one of my favorite texture products…. paper decor, available in a variety of colours. Today I used pink because the blue Powertex is quite dark the colour of the paper decor won’t show through. I cut feather shapes out of it and worked blue Powertex liquid hardener into each piece before smoothing on both sides of the wings.

thumbnail_20190121_223100

Next I took Bronze (brown) stone art clay. Made with stone art and bronze brown Powertex art medium from a recent workshop. Rolled a long thin sausage shape and molded the beak shapes smoothing them into place. I covered the legs using stone art clay with my finger tips, a little water and small pallet knife.

thumbnail_20190121_101242

I created a small repetitive feather texture all over the birds body on the still wet clay. By pressing the silicone texture pad against areas I needed texture. I wanted to create webbed feet, using left over wire from the wings I shaped bird feet. And covered in masking tape before paining them black with black Powertex universal medium.

I decided to add wire crests to the birds to give extra interest. By pushing thin wire through the clay and curling them at the ends. I chose some green glass eyes and pushed them into the clay. I decided to be a little quirky with the colour of the legs, as I’m creating whimsical birds. So I painted the legs stripy using licorice twist and clotted cream acrylics.

thumbnail_20190121_175436

I left them to dry for a few hours so the clay would harden a little. So it was now time to bring them to life, by dry brushing with colours. For this I used Powertex powercolor and colortrix powder pigments mixed with easy coat varnish. I used orange and then faded yellow ochre in onto the beaks. I used ultramarine blue, then turquoise mixed with a little white. This makes the turquoise pop on the body and wings. Finishing by lightly dusting rich gold over the body and terra-green on the wings.

thumbnail_20190121_181126.jpg

Well the finished piece can be seen below…..Thanks for reading my first blog as part of the Powertex UK Design team. I hope you all enjoyed what I created this time. Do join me again next month when I’m back with another article.

thumbnail_20190121_210700

Don’t forget all the items used are hyperlinked. Click the highlighted text and it’ll take you straight to items you require, to save you time searching. Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions below.

In the mean time why not look through all the new and old blogs. Provided for you by the Powertex UK Design team and guests. You can also find me at The Crafty Little Corner. Send me a message if you would like to do this workshop with me. Or find me on my Facebook page sharing new ideas, hints, tips and a whole lot of Powertex inspiration.

Please spread the love and share this and other blogs.

Peace, love and Paradise 😉

Shell x

When crafting dreams come true…….

Our tutors at Powertex UK are made of strong stuff even when adversity rears it’s ugly head in sad circumstances! Here is another example of how a situation can be transitional in life and you guessed it Powertex is at the forefront . What a beautiful space Shell now has to hone her skills and share her talents and knowledge with her students.

Here is her story:
Well it dawned on me the other week, (actually I had a reminder through facebook) that a year has gone by since we left with a situation that we had a couple of weeks to build my art studio.  We had a workshop booked at a venue where the business had just gone into liquidation so our options were slim as we already had people booked in. We tried a few other venues but it wasn’t looking hopeful.
Now this studio build was supposed to be a leisurely ‘project’ build by my partner over a few months in the summer but now I had to ask if it was even remotely possible to build my dream in the time frame we had until the workshop date or should I cancel? To be honest I wasn’t hopeful at all but I’m not one who likes to cancel and let people down where I can help it, so I had to ask my man.
To my surprise he thought for a few moments and said confidently he would book the time off work and get started the next day, and so it began!
First he asked me how big and roped it out, drew up a plan, then we ordered parts. We had a few issues with orders and deliveries but piece by piece he worked hard to support me by trying to getting it done by the dead line. Not wanting to let me down, he was up at the crack of dawn and there until late each night. He wouldn’t let me lift a finger more than make him cups of tea and sandwiches.
The base, then the frame, supports and flooring were all coming together. The roof, weather-proofing,  insulation, cladding, door and 2nd hand windows before a rush to the finish with the insulation and plasterboard interior.
We were still loading the studio with stock and furniture up until well past midnight the night before the scheduled workshop the next day. But he did it, he pulled it off, we made the deadline!
 
 
The workshop went ahead, which I have huge amounts of gratitude to Trefor for his skills, support, time and effort he gave despite the pressure. It wasn’t perfect by far, it still needed a lot of work but it was water tight safe and useable. 
A year has gone so fast and there is still landscaping around the studio to be finished as well as the odd touch up. I wanted to upcycle and reuse 2nd hand furniture where I could, add stock and storage still with a place to make art so its taken time to get there.
But for a year now I have had this amazing space to create in, to relax in or escape in, its both a work in progress still but a blessing in disguise and yes I’m living my crafting studio dream as it came true! Find Shell at The Crafty Little Corner on her website or Facebook.
 Feeling inspired by our tutors story’s? Know you have what it takes to join the family and fly the Powertex banner in your area. Want to inspire, enthuse and share your knowledge? Want to make a real difference by offering an escape from life into the creative? Want to share what makes your soul tick with others? Want to engage students in your passion and watch them grow? Send us an email at info@powertex.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you. Want to go to a workshop to be inspire. Find your nearest tutor here. Toodles Anna xXx