Sunday, 30 July 2017

Sophies Summer Superhero Project - Part 1

Sophie's Summer Superhero Project - Part 1

Hi there I hope you are having a great summer with lots of creative fun!  I am having fun with my granddaughter Sophie and this weekend we have started on a major Powertex project.  Let me introduce you to Sophie aged 7 and a half!  [She told me the half is very important because that means she is nearer 8 than 7!]

Sophie has a wonderfully vivid imagination and loves crafting and creating with her mum, her sister and me.

When she is with me we do lots of Powertex.  So far she has made some fairy houses for the garden and also a bird house.  She loves watching films and reading comics with her dad and her brother and writes lots of stories about her own superheros.

Stage 1:

Recently I acquired an old tailors dummy from a car boot sale and that gave me the idea of a super summer project for Sophie.

Together we are going to create her very own full size superhero!

Sophie was very excited when I showed her the dummy and talked about my idea.  Within half an hour she had come up with her superhero...



Rosalina, also known as Ace the Teleporter!

Ace has lots of superpowers - 

  • Strength
  • Supersonic Swimmer
  • Hypnotic eyes (apparently we will make her head too)
  • Superb speed
  • and on her costume there will be buttons. One of the buttons will release a hidden superpower...she will become camouflaged!
  • On the base she will have fast release rocket boosters too!





I have promised that we will mix different colours of Powertex so that she has her own unique colours to match Ace's design.

So I think I have my work cut out to help her create her dream character!

We will be working in short sessions so it is fun, and Sophie has lots of creativity to look forward to.  Also for her mum and dad, the mess will all be here and not at their home!!!

I am going to blog the whole process so I hope you have fun joining us along the way. 


 Getting Started!

We popped on some small vinyl gloves and held them on with masking tape.  I made sure Sophie was well covered with a big apron.

We mixed up Ivory Powertex with a little red and some yellow to get the colour Sophie wanted for the base.  To that we added a small amount of Easy 3D Flex to make the mixture just a little thicker.  

As the dummy is made from some sort of foam we wanted to give it a really good base cover, and did 3 layers.  Over the upper body that we added some kitchen paper for additional strength.  Only the arm socket and neck will not be dressed but I felt this would give us a good base to start with.

This all took about an hour.  We left it at this stage to dry while we went off to search for fabrics and other interesting goodies to add next time.  

So join us next time when we start to create the clothes and look for Ace - the Teleporter!

Bye for now
Fi and Sophie

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Magical Mirrors with Powertex

Learn how to make Magical Mirrors with ‘POWERTEX’

Designed by  Birdy Heywood

A LITTLE ABOUT POWERTEX
Powertex is an environmentally, water based fabric hardener and comes in a great range of colours. if using natural fabrics that completely absorb it, after 3 weeks it is entirely weatherproof. The Transparent however is not weatherproof unless varnished afterwards with Powertex Easy Varnish. Powertex is more than just a fabric hardener as it comes with a great range of related products. Textures, colour pigments, moulds, Stone Art Clay, Fibres, Bister (A water based product that sprayed on to a canvas gives amazing effects) Check out the website for a list of trained tutors in your area. www.powertex.co.uk



I have been working with Polymer Clay for over 30 years and I wondered what it would be like to create similar things out of Stone Art Clay. In 1. you can see all the lovely colours I mixed in readiness and also the little flowers made from the Powertex Daisy Mould. 2. Shows my little tubs of rainbow colours.  The paints were made by mixing Transparent Powertex with some of the Colour Pigments.  If you would like the shades to be more pastel then mix in a little Ivory Powertex to lighten it up. When mixed cover with cling film and the colours will last for quite a few days.  The little plastic shot  glasses can be washed out afterwards to use again. I will explain next how the Stone Art Clay was created.
Creating the Coloured Clay


To mix a nice green shade I used a little plastic container that once contained a tasty strawberry mousse. Powertex does not stick to plastic so it can be washed out and used again. I mixed Yellow Ochre Powertex with an equal amount of Green Powertex. I added a little Stone Art powder and stirred. Then kept adding a little more and stirred it in.

I kept adding the Stone Art a little at a time until the mixture was nice and firm and came away easily from the sides. Next just like when making bread dough, I sprinkled a little of the powder on to a ceramic tile then added the clump of mixed clay. Then I kneaded it until it was no longer sticky adding a little of the powder when needed.



 

14. Like a responsible ‘recycler’ I washed the tile, the spoon and the container. 15. Shows how I created a little lilac daisy.  I placed a tiny ball of yellow clay in the centre of the daisy mould. The Lilac Clay was created by mixing a little Lilac Colour Pigment with Transparent Powertex before adding the Stone Art Clay.  I just pressed it firmly on top of the yellow and hey presto, a beautiful daisy!  With some of the clay I added Ivory Powertex  to create a lighter colour.  Experiment! Remember to wrap the clay in cling film and it will remain pliable for quite some time.

 
Some of the little flowers I created using the daisy mould and Bramble Leaf Veiner.


 
Flexible Texture Sheets used  for the mirrors. Available from www.clayground.co.uk Daisy and daisy leaf mould available from www.powertex.co.uk.  Bramble  Leaf Veiner available from www.sugarcity.co.uk
 
Just a little bit more info before we get started on decorating the first mirror tile.



This is rather a funny story really, but true. When I was chosen to be on the Powertex UK Design team this year, there were these sheets of sort of soft cottony stuff in with my samples. I recognised it as a material I had used ages ago with a different fabric hardener and had found very useful. I wanted to use them on my mirrors so I asked  Tracey Evans of Powertex UK Headquarters where I could find more.  She answered that it was just the packaging but thought it might be clinical swabs. Well I got the proof  a couple of weeks later when I had quite a bit of it plastered to  my face after an operation on my sinuses.  Great stuff and I will be using it in future projects too. Not a very flattering photo of me though.
Now the exciting part begins! 26. Shows how I bent a length of gardening wire so that it had a loop on each end. 26. I also cut out two lengths of t-shirt material. 27. I used jute for the back of the mirror because it is really absorbent. Besides I was given quite a quantity of it.  I laid the mirror tile on top of the jute then cut around it so that about an inch protruded on the sides. I must also add that most of the project can be created in a seated position.  Also no need to dip large bits of fabric into the hardener as I designed this project so that I didn’t have to stand for any length of time.
28. Using a paintbrush I painted a generous layer over the whole of the back of the mirror. 29.  As I mentioned, jute is really absorbent so it was easy to paint a little more over the surface to bond with the Powertex on the back of the mirror. Ooops, nearly forgot…..I used Ivory Powertex. 30. I used a hair dryer to dry the back slightly before using a pair of scissors to trim the jute so that it was flush with the edge of the mirror. 
31. I fixed the wire to the back of the mirror  ensuring the strips of t-shirt material were well saturated with the Powertex.  Now it was time to use the clinical swabs from picture 24.  They were so easy to attach to the back of the mirror just using the paintbrush and Powertex. One could use ordinary material but that would require dipping it into the Powertex so that it was entirely saturated. I don’t get messy if I don’t have to! I applied each folded sheet so that it overlapped by about 1 ½ inches.  Next I used a hair dryer to dry the edges then laid a plastic bag over the wire hanger so that I could turn the mirror over.
34. I turned the mirror over and used a paintbrush to coat  a layer of Ivory Powertex directly on to the top of the mirror.  35. After I had folded it over I added another thin coating of Powertex.  You will be surprised at just how easy it is using these absorbent sheets!  I repeated the procedure all the way around until  all the sheets were neatly adhered to the mirror.
37. As you can see I wasn’t too careful to get it all even. I like to have wet wipes handy to clean up the over painted bits and paper towel to dry it. Much easier to keep it clean as you proceed. 38. Some Stone Art Clay I had mixed earlier. I used Ivory and a dash of Transparent Powertex. This was to be grass so I laid it on quite thickly leaving little lumps and bumps. 39. A wire brush is great for creating texture! (You could also use Green Clay instead.)
40. This is where the ‘Paint’ I had mixed earlier came in. It was made with Transparent Powertex and Green Colour Pigment. 41. After I had coated it all I used the hair dryer to dry the surface, then very gently, with a wet wipe stroked over the top to remove a little of the surface colour. Then I dried it again before pinching here and there with my fingers to give the grass even more texture. This works well at this stage because the clay will still be soft enough to manipulate.
43. For the blue clay to adhere to the mirror I coated a layer all the way round. If halfway through adding the blue you find it has dried out, you can always add a little more. 45. I love this shade of blue. I created it with Blue Powertex and also Ivory and Stone Art Clay. If you do not have Blue Powertex then use the colour Pigments instead. The Clay is wonderful for just spreading it out with your fingers. I created a long sausage shape laid it slightly over where the wet Ivory had been painted and pressed  the inside down first to create a nice, neat contour. Once stuck down I just pushed the clay towards the edge. 
46. I gently manipulated the blue clay and coaxed it to the edge adding more when needed. 47. Next I chose one of my texture sheets and pressed it firmly all over. 48. I covered the top with the blue and chose a different texture sheet and did the same. (I love these texture sheets because they are flexible and can be pressed over the curved bits.) When I later dry brushed Ivory Powertex over the surface the patterns really showed up.
49. I chose another different sheet for my final side. 50. It doesn't show up too well but I also created some brown clay using The Stone Art, Ivory and Bronze Powertex.  I the formed some long, thin, sausage shapes for the tree trunk. I must apologise for the bad quality of some of the photos but it isn’t easy to create and take photos in between. 51. I added some Transparent Powertex so that the tree had something to adhere to.
52. This whole project was an experiment for me so I tried creating little roots at the base of the tree. I didn’t like them so later covered them over as you will see in photo 57. This is where things really started to come alive! 53. Using a small paintbrush I painted Bronze Powertex all over the tree, making sure it went into all the grooves. 54. I allowed it to soak in for a bit, so had a cup of coffee! Well a girl does need a break sometimes! Wet wipes are handy things and here was a good use for them. I very gently rubbed over the surface to remove the colour from the protruding bits. Later I dry brushed it with Ivory Powertex.
55. I have no idea where the little drinking straw came from which ‘just happened’ to be on my table (probably the fairies) so I used it to create some lovely texture on the blobs of green clay which I had added. As with the grass at the base I gave it a coating of the green paint. Photo 56. shows how it looked after I had dry brushed it with Ivory Powertex. 58. I still had a little of the plain clay left so formed it into a rainbow shape, stamped it with a texture sheet then painted on the colours with a paintbrush. This was then adhered to the mirror using the Transparent Powertex.
59. Once I had added the rainbow I realised it looked a bit lost and didn't reach the edges. Instead of removing it and creating a bigger one I decided to add a little more foliage to the corner instead. I think you will agree, it looked better like that.
61. It now just needed a finishing touch to the top. Instructions for using this Magic Mirror. You see if you follow the instructions a smiling face will appear! Look how great the dry brushed areas look! For those of you who do not know what dry brushing is: Place your brush into some Ivory Powertex then remove most of it on a paper towel and I mean MOST of it. Then lightly stroke over the raised areas. This will give your creation fantastic depth.
62. All the little flowers I had created using the daisy and leaf mould from www.powertex.co.uk were added using the Transparent Powertex.  This mirror just seemed to evolve as I discovered more and more about the properties of the Stone Art Clay and mixing the colours. That is what it is all about, having fun and experimenting.
Just a little about the other 2 mirrors



With both of these I began the same way. Stuck jute to the back then the hanger. With the stone mirror, I create some bronze Stone Art Clay and stuck it to the mirror using the Transparent Powertex. With a paintbrush I added more bronze and pushed the swab sheets in position leaving them wavy in places.  I haven’t any photos of adding the Stone Art Powder but will cover that in a later blog when I work with the lovely ammonite moulds again. (These are available from www.powerex.co.uk)
Some close ups of the lovely stone effect. This is great fun to do and it really does resemble stones and rocks.

I call this one my fancy mirror. I used the Texture sheets for this and had great fun doing so. This time though I applied coloured Bister with a paintbrush (another Powertex product) After I had applied the colour I varnished the whole thing.
I hope you enjoy the projects, Check out the other blogs on the Powertex website. Loads of inspiration and examples of how to create some really exciting projects. I have no idea why the script has suddenly become large but there you go. Technical stuff is not my forte.



FREE Downloadable version of Rainbow Mirror
















































Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Excited to be joining the Powertex Team as a guest blogger

I am so excited to be joining the Powertex Team as a guest blogger and am really looking forward to sharing my new creative journey with you all.

I am an ex medical scientist now self employed in jewellery and textiles. I also enjoy mixed media and card making too and am on the Design Team of a stamp company and a textile trimmings maker, so regularly blog my projects. I really enjoy helping people along on their own creative journey.

A couple of weeks ago I ventured up to Powertex UK HQ to take my Level 1 training. Tracey, Garry and the lovely team were all so welcoming and made me feel instantly at ease. I met some lovely people on the course and we spent a wonderful couple of days creating in Tracey’s studio. There were many wonderful projects on display from Tracey and the Design Team. Amazing talent and such an inspiration.

I managed to catch a pic of myself and Tracey in the garden. Tracey is the attractive one – tee hee.


 
 
The course was very intensive and we each created a wide range of projects, ranging from mixed media canvases and journal covers right up to a figurine. We were also given masses of useful guidance and information on setting up workshops for ourselves too. I learned so much and we all had a lot of fun and plenty of laughter along the way.
I have had a busy couple of weeks on my return and still have to put the finishing touches to my Level 1 projects. I will share them soon. In the meantime I thought that I would share my first ever ventures into the world of Powertex, following one of Tracey’s shows on Hochanda.





 
 
I created a couple of 30 cm square fossil themed canvases and a covered bottle – I hope that you like them. I was really pleased with the natural organic feel. Some of my friends thought that I had used real fossils. Being my first projects I hope that you will see what a beginner can achieve.





Below I have included a materials list and the step by step of techniques used to create the canvases, including some hints and tips to get the best results. The embellished bottle was created in the same way.
Happy crafting, Anne x.
 
Materials used:
 
How they were made:
  1. The canvases were already primed with gesso so I first gave them a coat of Powertex to colour and create a good surface for adhesion.
  2. I mixed up some Powertex with sand to make a thick paste. When the canvases were dry to the touch (it doesn’t take long) I applied the paste to the background using a palette knife through the stencil to create fossil textures. I then left them overnight to dry.
  3. I mixed more sand with Poweretex, this time to make a thicker drier clay. I think that the mix was about 50:50. Basically I gradually added sand until I had a workable clay that wasn’t too wet and sticky. I then pushed the clay into the silicone moulds to create the 3D fossils. I left them to dry for several hours until they could easily be released from the moulds without distorting. Some of the bigger ones needed to be left overnight. I then placed them on a drying tray (old kitchen wire grill tray – so air could get all around) and left them overnight to dry and further harden up. I made the clay up in small manageable batches so as not to waste reagents. Any clay that wasn’t being used straight away was wrapped in cling film to stop it drying out.
  4. Next I worked the Powertex into rough strips of hessian, and some pulled threads. I did struggle a bit with this at first as I used far too much Powertex. If you overdo it, like I did, grab another strip of fabric and use it to dab and squeeze out the excess. These were then ruched and applied to the canvas using a little extra Powertex as a glue where needed.
  5. I then applied my fossils using Powertex to glue. In some of the more textured areas I dunked some of the kitchen towel in Powertex to make a 3D glue ‘gel’ in which to embed my fossil embellishments. I also used strips of kitchen paper to create more areas of texture. I found that it was best to separate the paper into a single ply (i.e. split the double layered tissue into 2 sheets) to ensure that it fully coated and soaked up the Powertex more easily.
  6. Next I drizzled Powertex onto the canvas and sprinkled with texture balls and sand, plus a few glass beads. It is best to apply the largest balls first, then work down to the smaller sizes which fill in the gaps between the larger ones. Oh so much fun. I then left them to dry overnight ready for colouring.
  7. My canvas board was a cheap cardboard type and I found that it did warp quite a bit. When dry enough I clamped it down on my rigid art board to help straighten it out while drying. A thicker strong board (MDF type) does work better. It needs to take a lot of wet media. This was obviously not an issue when working on the stretched canvas.
  8. I was then ready to start adding more colour and depth with Bister and coloured varnish. Here is where I did have a slight panic. I first sprayed over my canvases with black Bister. When dry I then used a damp sponge to lift away some of the colour from the top layers. The idea was to emphasis the deep crevices and texture. Eeek – I thought that I had ruined it! The soluble Bister did lift off some areas but it was difficult to remove from others. My texture balls soaked it up and the hessian held onto quite a lot of it too. So where I had planned my colours and light areas got covered in darkness! Oh dear I thought (me swear? Tee hee).
  9. After I had calmed down, it then came to me. I could go over some of the areas using the Powertex as a paint. In addition I had opaque white Powercolor in my stash so I could use that too at the varnish stage. I over painted some of the areas with the coloured Powertex. I also used the Powertex to dry brush over areas giving more highlights. So all was not lost after all. Some of the Bister dissolved back into the Powertex as I worked giving a lovely natural organic look. Ooooh happy again.
  10. When the Powertex was touch dry I then dry brushed with the pigments and varnish. This stage takes a little practice. You need to mix just small amounts of varnish with the pigments (just a drop on your craft mat), remove most of it from the brush (brushing off onto tissue), then apply to the top layers lightly and gradually building up the colour. I mixed a tiny bit of ochre into white pigment (so not a harsh white) to dry brush some areas. Other areas I dry brushed with copper colour.
  11. To fully seal my canvas I mixed a 50:50 mix of varnish and water and sprayed it over the canvas. Spraying enabled me to get it in and around all the crevices and 3D embellishments. I applied several coats (leaving to dry between coats). This then makes the canvas easy to clean as it can simply be run under the tap (where cleaning with a duster or cloth would be tricky). If mounting your piece behind glass this stage would not be needed. Note: Coloured Powertex is weatherproof so complete sealing with varnish is not essential unless you have used Bister (remains soluble so would wash off unless sealed with varnish).
  12. Finally I added a bit of gilding wax around the edges of my canvases (this could be done with coloured varnish).

Saturday, 22 July 2017

My Secret Friend - Powertex Reference Journal



Hello again

Hands up if you get a bit jittery........

....When it comes to dry brushing your project
....When you want to try a new colour scheme
....Using a new fabric/embellishment etc
....Your trying something new for the first time

Lets admit it, we all like our comfort zones

Well, I wanted to share with you my secret friend - a Powertex Reference Journal using the new Powertex MDF Journal Covers where I can experiment to my hearts content.

This is the place to play, to create, to experiment and be bold, this is your journal and you don't need to share it with anyone unless you want to and as the quote on the cover of my journal says "the object isn't to make art'


I started with the MDF covers, the perfect base for fabric sculpting, Structure Paste, Stone Art, Stencilling and 3D Flex play. I used different bisters to see what would happen if ......... then dry brushed over parts of it.  Ive left some for another day when I may want to try different pigment blends.  The inside covers give you even more play areas and you could always add a second set of covers inside the journal.



For the pages I used 100% cotton fabric to create pages in each base Powertex colour.  As you finish working with a colour why not use any remaining product to create these.  They don't all have to be completed at once and the idea is to build up your journal as you have more tex adventures. These are just the base colours but imagine what other shades you could get by mixing these colours!!



I leave these to dry flat on the side, then use the cover of the journal as a template to mark where to cut.  Normal scissors will cut through the hardened fabric and a Sharpie pen can be used to write on the fabric to make notes of colours/ fabrics etc that you have used.

The holes in the binding side have been made using a crop'o'dile or standard hole punch,  If you lay the mdf cover over the page and mark through the holes with a sharpie pen you can see exactly where the holes need to go,

TIP - if using a hole punch, turn it upside down and remove the plastic tray from the bottom, slide your tex page into the punch then line up the dots you made with the hole punch holes and punch away.





I've bound it with book binding rings to make it easier to slip pages in and out and also to allow it to lay completely flat whilst I'm working in it.



So I now have the perfect place to test dry brushing colour combinations, adhere fabrics that I want to try, play with bisters, rust, structure paste, stone art, 3D flex and every other product in the range and I can add notes so that in the future I'll know just what I've used.

And when Iv'e used up these pages I can just create more and keep adding them in to my own personal reference guide.

Hope you have fun creating your journal, the map to your very own creative adventures.

Bye for now
Annette


www.annettesmyth.co.uk
www.creativeadventurer.co.uk