Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Amber Rose

Hi there, for all you resin jewellery lovers meet Amber Rose

Amber Rose was created during a very unique and special workshop at Earth Spirit Crystals in Nuneaton, Warwickshire back March.  It was a bitter cold day outside but inside the workshop the atmosphere was warm, light hearted and a little emotional for all concerned as we were creating some very special and unique memory jewellery.

Amber Rose was my demonstration piece made using a variety of R F Bright Enamels Chemset Resins and includes a piece of Amber set into orange transparent resin. These resins are superb quality with such clarity, click the link to find authorised stockists.

I am writing a project on how to make a piece like this very soon so if you like it, keep them peeled or join me for a Resin and Mixed Media Jewellery workshop at Earth Spirit Crystals on 12th August.

Amber Rose will be off  soon to her forever home with a very special lady.  

Bye for now

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Mermaid with a Message

Hi there hope you are having a great summer so far...I have been loving this gorgeous warmth!

My favourite place is the beach, I love beach combing and seeing what's been washed up that can be used in art like bits of wood and sea glass.  But more and more I feel sad that our oceans are being cluttered and devastated by plastic, discarded fishing nets and so much more, and it is damaging marine life.  So I created a Mermaid with a Message for a recent Mannequin's and Mermaids workshop.

I used a polystyrene torso and and wood/metal base from Powertex UK .  I then used some 2mm aluminium wire to create the tail shape and extended up her body.  I secured using masking tape and used cheap tin foil to create the tail shape and then wrapped with masking tape.  I used Powertex Lead  and Stone Art to cover the torso.  I used knitted scrim for the tail on the reverse as this gives the impression of scales.  

I added Powertex to some lace trim and placed around the top of the tail fabric and added small  3D balls to the body and tail for texture and to imply those little balls of plastic that are found in cheap cosmetic scrubs that find their way into the water course and out into out oceans.  I then painted the base with more Powertex and embellished with tissue paper and more 3D balls in varying sizes.  Finally I rubbed Powertex into some net fabric and draped over her, as if she were caught while swimming.  I then left her overnight to dry.

I then used Easy Varnish with Powercolor and Colortricx pigments to add colour, I didn't go too far with this as I wanted to help her to get her message across, plastic and waste are damaging our oceans!

Finally I used some rusty wire to make some barbed wire and added to her body. This will be available in my etsy shop once I've had time to create one!

Hope you like this project and want to have a go yourself.  Post some photos on Powertex Addicts United  if you do we love to see what you create.

Bye for now
Fi xx

Friday, 9 June 2017

A Perfectly Pink Powertex Jelly Fish

I'm loving the POWERTEX shows on HOCHANDA today and I hope you are too!  Tracey and Anna have done us proud and I am so inspired! 

A day without Powertex is a day...well let's not even go there!

So here's another project to help you create your own Powertex art work.  It's time for a Jelly Fish! 

I remember my brother being stung by one of these critters in Llandudno when we were kids and that was not fun at all!!!! This however was....

As before, I did a rough layout of where I thought I would place my embellishments and textiles.  

TIP: Take a photo!  Once we swipe them off to get started it's easy to forget!

I started with Ivory Powertex and spread this all over and in the joins between the top and bottom peices.  I then spread it all over the strengthening piece.  

I love the way these have been designed!

I dried it with a hairdryer (then picked up all the embellishments that were blown over the floor by the hairdryer - woops!!)

Once dry I turned it over and did the same on the front.

I then poured a tiny bit of the Red Powertex into the Ivory and mixed it up. This gave me a soft to medium pink!

TIP: less is more in colour mixing as Powertex tends to dry darker!

I spread the pink Powertex all over the front and then started to add my texture.

First I started with some of the lace and ricrac braid.  Using the lace around the curved top of the jelly fish and moving down to the two outer tentacles with the ricrac braid.

Next the embellishments, circles and cogs.

Oh boy I had fun with this, it was kind of like karma thinking back to my unfortunate brother falling foul to their nasty sting!  

I have to say I haven't had so much macabre fun in ages!!!

Once they were all in place, I used some of the Powercotton from the embellishment pack to add a bit more texture.

I then sprayed with black bister for a bit of dimension and dried with the hairdryer and left the piece to dry overnight.

NOTE: you can dry this in a drying box to speed up but it was more convenient to me to leave overnight.  I also find this gives the metal embellishments chance to dry to a really hard fix.

I had fun on day 2 adding lots of colour to bring out all that fabulous texture and detail.

The first lot of dry brushing I did was with the Powercolour burgundy pigment with Easy varnish and my 3/4" Powerex Brush to go back over some of the areas I had covered with bister, this can be seen in the image above right.  

I then moved onto blue and green, as shown on the left.

Next one of my favourite colours, Yellow Ochre - you can seen this around the tentacles in the image to the right! 

As I always do, I added bits and bobs of colour in various places sometimes overlapping with what colour I had already laid down.  This really creates so much interest.

Finally I used my most favourite of the gold pigments Colourtrix Bronze Gold.

Here is my funky Perfectly Pink Powertex Jelly Fish in all it's glory!

Hope you like it and hope to see your Jelly Fish popping up on Powertex Addicts facebook page very soon!

Have fun and bye for now!
Fi xx

Oh so pretty Powertex Seahorse

So what did you think of the fabulous PowertexUK launch shows on HOCHANDA last night with Tracey Evans and my hugely talented Powertex DT teamy, Anna Amelia Howlett of Rosehart Studio?  What fabulous products they have bought us and oh my... their projects!!!!!

I love all the hustle and bustle that preparation for live shows bring with them and I have been very blessed to have been able to play with some of the gorgeous products they have bought you to create this rather pretty Seahorse and in a later blog today there is a perfectly pink Jelly Fish.

Before I started I spread out the embellishments and textiles on my workbench and came up with a rough idea of placement.  I chose to work mainly with the floral elements for my seahorse so that I could get two very different looks.

So to get started, I brushed some Ivory Powertex along the seam of the two main pieces and then brushed more Powertex onto the back of the square mdf piece and pressed this down over the join.  This gives great stability and you can also use this area to put the hanging loop on.

I then spread Ivory Powertex over the entire back and dried off with a hair dryer. I then turned it over and spread Powertex of the front and edges.

Next I started to put the embellishments into place having first coated with Powertex.  I tend to drop them into the Powertex and then rub with my hand.  This ensures that the Powertex gets into all the nooks and crannies and means we will get a superb bond ...you know the kind that Powertex is famous for!

I began at the head of the Seahorse, I used one of the circles that I snapped in half and placed in the nose area to accentuate the smile that I always think of when I look at Seahorse.

I also left some clear unembellished areas so that I could work with the Black Bister later.

I gradually moved down the body of the Seahorse adding some lace to the outer curve accentuating the spine and then some of the RicRac braid on the inner curve.

I pressed some flat and left some proud of the base as this will give extra texture and dimension.  I also left some overhanging the edge, again to add dimension.

I continued to build up the texture using the embellishments and under some of the metal pieces I rubbed some Powertex into some kitchen paper and scrunched up to raise them further and also to aid the bonding with the metal and Powertex.

Once I had added all my embellishments I added some more Powertex to the areas I had left empty.

I then sprayed liberally with the black bister and then used a hairdryer to dry off some of the bister and create a bit more textural interest with a bister split.

I then left the piece to dry overnight.

Day 2...let's get colourful and bring out the character using the various pigments that are in the One Day Special as well as the Easy Varnish.

As with the embellishments I made to colour palettes from the pigments in the kit so that the looks were very different. 

I used the Turquoise and green first and then moved on to burgundy and lilac.    

I don't add all the same colours over everything, I tend to pick out areas but allow some overlap so there is little or no evidence of a join.    

I carried on with the colours over the entire piece.

Once the main piece was coloured I decided to add a pop of colour.

So using the orange I hightlight just a few of the flower centres and the wings on butterflies.

Finally I used silver to add a bit of lustre to what I think is a rather pretty Seahorse!

Below are some close ups to show you how I created the detail, highlights and shadows.

I hope you like her and enjoy using your Powertex One Day Special and create a fabulous Seahorse of your own.

Please share your makes with us over on our facebook page Powertex Addicts United.

Keep watching Tracey and Anna on HOCHANDA and pop back later today and there will be another step project for you to follow using more of today's fabulous POWERTEX products.

Bye for now
Fi xx

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Powertex: A window on Jurassic

One of our many "favourite" locations on the English South Coast is the cliffs along Burton Brandstock and eastward to Lyme Regis.  I love the contrast between the types of rock and their the colours and the little secrets of the past they reveal.  I remember one of our visits to Burton Bradstock not long after a cliff fall.  I was in awe of the rock formation, the layering and the little windows the fall had opened up in to the past.  

So with that in mind and having also loved working with Tracey Evans on our Jurassic themed shows on HOCHANDA TV where my remit was a on jewellery, I decided to create a piece of wall art using the Stencils and Ammonite Moulds and remembering that fabulous holiday and location.  

Before starting with the frame, I got out my Powertex Ammonite Moulds (they come in three sizes) and mixed various colours of powertex with 3D sand to make a collection of ammonites.

For this piece I used Powertex Yellow fabric hardener to paint over the frame which was from my own stash, we all have stashes don't we? 

I then added some 3D sand and more yellow Powertex to make a fairly stiff paste.

Using a palette knife I spread the paste onto the painted frame in a vague linear patter until the whole frame was covered.  I then painted some more yellow Powertex loosely into the linear grooves and dropped on some 3D small balls for added texture.

Next I mixed more sand into yellow Powertex to make a fairly sloppy mix, rather like wet plaster.   I poured this into the cavity and then arranged my pre-prepared powertex ammonites.  

Some I laid flat and others i places a varying angles, as they may have done naturally.  I dropped in some more of the 3D small balls.

I then tool some Powertex Easy Structure - boy I love the texture of this stuff!!!

I used the three sizes of ammonite stencils from Powertex Jurassic Stencil.

I laid large one in one corner and carefully pressed through the East Structure.  Then in the opposite diaganal corner I did the same but using the small and medium stencils.

Next I used some Green Bister (mixed into a fluid with water) and sprayed across diagonally to add some weathering as seen in the image to the right.  I also added a few squirts of Red Bister.

As well as spraying evenly, I did a few short squirts to leave some blobs of bister randomly.  I felt this added to the natural weathering and formation of my cliff seen.  

I then left the piece to dry naturally overnight.

Once the piece was dry, I dry brushed over the non stenciled corners with a little more yellow Powertex that I had slightly lightened with Ivory Powertex, to give the impression of a shaft of sunlight passing over the shadows of the cliff as it revealed it's secrets.

Finally I used Powercolor Red Ochre, Colortrix Bronze Gold and Colortrix Power Pearl Red  Pigments with Easy Varnish to bring out the highlights and features.

I hope, if you got the ammonite moulds and the jurassic stencil from our Hochanda shows, that you have had fun using them and that maybe this project will inspire you to create some more.  
Don't forget to share them with us on our Powertex Addicts Facebook page! We love to see what you create!

Bye for now...

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Drying Flowers with the Microfleur

As promised this is a guide to drying and pressing your flowers using the Microfleur for the Fuscias and Forget-me-Knots Projects in 
Making Jewellery Magazine Issue 106

Hi there, did you get your copy of Making Jewellery issue 106?  For those who did, thank you for the many messages of support I really do appreciate each and every one.  As a thank you and as promised on my facebook page, here are a few tips to pressing and drying your own flowers.  In this example I am using Forget-me-nots as they feature in the design and are in flower at the moment.

Please note that comprehensive instructions come with the Microfleur press, these tips and how to's are from my own experience using the press.

I use the Microfleur flower press.  This comes in two sizes - 5-inch and 9-inch square -  and is available from Amazon at around £25 for the 5-inch and £40 for the 9 inch. So it is an investment but if you love your resin and working with real flowers it is a worthwhile purchase in my opinion. 

Below is the Microfleur 5-inch.  It is a neat and sturdy press.  The clips each side hold the sandwich together as explained below.

Microfleur flower press
Sandwich layers
The press is layered as such: outer base, cotton pad, 100% cotton fabric.  Onto this you place the flowers to be pressed, then repeat the layers in reverse, i.e. cotton fabric, thick pad, then the top cover. 

Tip 1:    Check there are no little bugs on the flowers, apart from the fact I dread to think of them being incinerated, they also raise the temperature of the flower heads and you risk them over heating.

Using a sharp pair of scissors carefully remove the flower heads and place down onto the cotton layer.  I use some individual heads and some on stem.

Tip 2:  Make sure that when you pick your flowers, they are dry and not covered in rain drops or dew.

Tip 3: Try to put the flowers in the same direction, I have found it works best to place them face down.

One you have placed all the flowers in position, complete the sandwich layers as above. Then place a clip on either side of the press.  

Next place in the microwave and heat for 10 seconds, then check progress and repeat until sufficiently dry.  Watch carefully as it is very easy to nuke them!  I did mine for 30 seconds in total in 10:10:5:5 second blasts.

Once done, remove the clips and the top outer layer and let press sit either on a warm windowsill or in the airing cupboard for 24-hours.  [I do this because the very centre of the flower heads are thicker and take a little more drying than the petals.] The flowers must be 100% dry before you can add them to your resin or they will continue to decompose within the resin and your resin may also go cloudy.

This photo shows the flowers after they have been dried.

Tip 4:  I keep my flowers in a sealed plastic box with a little silicone sachet and in a box to keep them out of the light. This helps reduce any fading.

Tip 5: Waxier and larger more dense flowers may take longer, I suggest you place a single flower to test before doing more. 

Tip 6: I also keep a diary so I can refer back to see what settings and time worked best for each flower type I do.

The benefit of using the Microfleur is that the beautiful colour is retained and you they are ready to use within a day or two as opposed to a few weeks or months using the traditional method.  

If it is pressed flowers you are after you cannot, in my opinion, do better than invest in one of these presses.  I use the 5-inch far more than the bigger and costlier 9-inch (although I do have both) as it fits in the microwave more comfortably.

So that's it, have fun and don't forget to share your makes on my Facebook page and look out for more tips and tricks on here and on my Instagram page. 

Bye for now

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Wrapping a Powertex Ammonite

Wow what a busy start to the new year and what a fun one too!  

Did you see Tracey and I sharing some of our Powertex ideas on HOCHANDA on 5th/6th April?  Did you get the fabulous one day special and Jurassic Jewels kits? If so then maybe you were tempted to make yourself some Powertex Ammonites using Tracey's new sand technique and some of my jewellery.    

So as promised, here are the steps and they are really simple and you don't need to have any previous experience to get started.  Here goes...

Step 1

Gather together a finished Powertex Ammonite, 0.9 and 0.5 wire and beads from the Jurassic Jewels kit.  
Tools: flush cutters, round nose and chain or flat nose pliers and some medium grade sand paper.

In thise project I am using a medium ammonite.  I have also created it in ivory and not added pigment. If you do want colour add it before wrapping.

Step 2

Use the sandpaper to gently rub off any sharp areas and smooth the back and sides of the ammonite.

Pull of 5 x 30 cm lengths of the 0.9mm wire making sure you follow the direction of the wire (this is your structural wire). Cut 1mtr of the 0.5mm (this is your wrapping wire).  Use the natural cure of the coils to your advantage.

Hold all wires in your non dominant hand and keeping the wires side by side, leave approximately a 4-5cm tail and in the centre of the wires make 7 wraps on the wire bundle, keeping some tension and keeping the wire flat.  

Once the wrap is complete and with both end to the inside curve of the wire, trim the ends and firmly squeeze with the chain or flat nose pliers.

Moving 22mm along from the end of the first wrap, repeat making a second 2-wraps and then repeat on the other side of the central wrap.

These measurements are for the medium sized ammonite and you will need to adjust if you are wrapping either the small or large ammonites.

The wire now look like this one on the right.

Step 4

Hold the ammonite and gently coax the wire around the shape of the ammonite with the central wrap opposite the outer edge as shown here. 

Holding the ammonite and wire wrap firmly with your non dominant hand, use your pliers to push the wires into the right angle of the ammonite.
Step 5

Gently pull forward the front wire of the anti-clockwise wires and encourage it to work into a curve stroking your fingers along its lenght, the warmth and direction from your fingers will help with this.  Add 3 off the little beads and then turn a neat loop and continue to curve following the inner curves of the ammonote.

Use the front wire of the clockwise wires to make 2-3 wraps around all wires to secure. 


Step 6

With your fingers or flat nose pliers and from the middle, gently pull the top outer wire just over the front endge of the ammonite on each side of the wire wrapped groupings, repeating on the back.

Try to make them as even as you can but work with the shape of the ammonite. Press firmly on the outer edges so the wires lie flat. repeat so all 4 sections are wrapped and the ammonite sits firmly within.

Step 7

Next you need to bend the wires comping anti clockwise so they fit closely along the back from top edge to bottom edge where the centre wires. 

Tip: I find it easier to use my flat nose pliers to turn the wire and then use the back of the plier to press down so the wire sits nice and flat.

Step 8

Use some of the 0.5mm wrapping wire to secure the structure wires either side of the bottom central wrap.  These structure wires will become the bale on which you will thread your cord.

I continued up the length of the wire after I had bent the bale into shape so I suggest you leave the wire attached in case you choose to do the same.

Using your flat nose pliers to hold the structural wires bend the wires forwards 1cm up from the base.

Then holding the wires together bend down approx 8mm from the first bend and so that all wires are sitting over the front of the ammonite.  

Leave as they are while we work on the tail wires.

Step 9

The wire coming clock wise of the bottom of the ammonitte now need gently curving, these are the tail wires. Do this with your fingers, gently stroking them all together between your thumb and forefinger and in a clockwise direction.

Trim the wires so that the front wire is shortest and back wire is longest.  I made mine around 8mm shorter than the one it was next to.

On the short front wire add 5 beads. Turn a loop so they don't drop off.  Continue the coil trapping a bead in the coil and leaving the others to find their own level.

Repeat this on each wire, adding 7 beads to wire 2, 9 beads to wire 3 and 11 beads to the longest wire.  Trapping a few beads in the tighter coils as shown in the photo below.

Step 10

Hold the wrapped ammonite in your no dominant hand and use your flat nose pliers to make a couple of bend in the rear wires, this helps give strength and tension.

You can see here where I have done a basket weave wrap on the back of the bale. 

Turning to the front, trim the bale wire so the centre wire is a little longer than the other two.  Turn a loop on the four outer wires.

Thread 3 beads on the centre wire and turn a loop to secure them

And that's it!  

Here is the finished Powertex Ammonite Wire Wrapped Pendant.

All you need to do now is make a corded necklace that you can hang it from.  

This is a very basic wrap and there are lots of ways you can change the bale, or even leave off the bale and using powertex and a little bit of kitchen paper or fabric add a brooch back.

Look out for more tips soon on finishing your Powertex circles jewellery pieces.

Have fun and make sure you share your creations with us over on Powertex Addicts United we love to see your makes!

Unitl next time... Fi xx