Select Page
Technique Thursday – perfecting painting

Technique Thursday – perfecting painting

So you have made your Powertex creation and let it dry. Make the magic happen with dry brushing with pigment.

Take a flat, broad brush (¾ inch is ideal) , dip it in the Easy Varnish, and after that in Colortrix Bronzegold or other Powertex pigment. Mix well on a plastic dish. If it is too runny or too transparent add a bit more pigment to your brush and mix everything well again. Take a rag or piece of kitchen towel and wipe the brush on this a few times to remove the excess paint. You’ve almost got a dry brush, as it were, with which to can add colour to your creation.

Holding the brush at a 45 degree angle, lightly drag the brush over the top of your Powertex creation.

When the brush stops giving off colour, repeat the previous treatment: make up some paint, wipe the paint onto the rag and continue brushing until you’re happy with the result. Don’t put too much pressure on the brush so as not to make any stains or huge dollops of colour.

You can finish off or emphasise the higher parts of the fabric, or the structure of the figure beautifully by brushing a lighter Powercolor colour onto it. Depart from the base colour, for example turquoise and add a little bit of white acrylic paint or white pigment to it. Wipe it on a rag again, as is required for brushing, lightly paint the highest structures of your piece. The result is stunning; the structure becomes perfectly visible and you start to play with lighting effects.

But don’t worry if you make a mistake! If you haven’t been careful enough with the brush or if the brush was too wet when you used it, or if you’ve used too much paint or made a stain or applied the colour too lightly? No problem: apply another layer of Powertex Bronze over the colour, dry with a hair dryer and brush once more with the correct colour and a sufficiently wiped brush. If you start to work with Colortrix (metallic pigments) on Powertex Bronze or on a black background, make sure the brush has been wiped sufficiently in order to avoid noticeable blotches or streaking effects.

If you are creating a sculpture with a face;  first apply a layer of Powertex Bronze on a plaster figure and allow to dry. Mix a little Powertex Bronze and Colortrix Bronzegold. Brush the entire figure with a rather dry brush. The result is a dark figure with a light bronze sheen. Add more Colortrix to Powertex Bronze and brush the highest relief points of the figure once more. Take a little Easy Varnish and Colortrix Bronzegold or Richgold, mix well on the brush and wipe onto a rag. With a dry brush, apply additional light accents onto the mouth, nose, cheeks and highest structures. The figure is now getting a true bronze effect.

We hope this has helped, but don’t forget, practice makes perfect. Enjoy.

Kim & Jane

Tim Holtz Distress Oxides now in stock

You may have noticed I am in the process of adding lots of colours of the Distress inks and Distress Oxides to the craft store.  For those of you who have not been to one of our creative workshops and are unsure how to use these gorgeous little darlings, let me refer you to the man himself!

Here is the link to the video of Tim Holtz demonstrating the Distress Oxides for you. Enjoy.


Creating a Curio Cabinet and Album

Creating a Curio Cabinet and Album

Sometimes I get my best ideas when sat contemplating in the bathroom.  Years ago, I inherited a little black gloss Chinese cabinet with little drawers and shelves; I keep bits of jewellery in there.  Anyway, I thought I could have a go at making one of my own out of grey board and paper.  Well it was a challenge but loved how it turned out.   I wanted to create little windows in my curio cabinet that would show what was inside.  I made a drawer in the bottom for keepsakes and a mini album for photos and journalling to go into the top of the cabinet behind the doors.

I mostly used black card for the base design but then went completely outside mu comfort zone and used the 8 x 8 pack of Stamperia Hortensia papers.  I managed to get the whole cabinet and album decorated with just the single pack of papers and a few flowers for the front.  I love how its turned out.

I have added the cutting guide and instructions if you want to make your own to the  website shop if you wan to download the printable guide HERE.

A few photos of the album inside.


Sneak Peek of a new Vintage range

Sneak Peek of a new Vintage range

A couple of years ago when I was poorly with my mental health as a result of burn out at work for the NHS, I could not even look at a computer or mobile phone.  The thought of switching it on and attempting to use it had me in so much anxiety I would be physically sick.   Thankfully after support from my GP and some medication to regulate my brain chemicals, I got better and could stop the medication.  We are all aware of how the lock down restrictions and pandemic have affected out mental well being and there is no shame in talking to others about what is going on and what you are feeling. People are much more supportive than you imagine they will be.

At our studio, we are a safe space. A place to chat, to voice your concerns and even get a bit of supportive counselling with your cuppa.  Our workshops are designed to let you have a little bit of meditative time in your art work, whether it is gently rubbing in Powertex into the fabrics on a mixed media class or in getting your thoughts and feelings written down and then splashing paint all over to hide it from prying eyes in our art journalling classes.   Of course there is still plenty of fun and chat going on.

Now my own mental health has improved I am enjoying being back on a computer and designing digitally again.  I have been updating the website and although there are a still a few tweaks to make,  I am  feeling quite chuffed with the outcome.  I have also returned to designing my own paper range again.  Digital papers can be downloaded onto a computer and printed out before use as many times as you like. The downside is that they usually take up a lot of digital space.  My next junk journal  printable paper pack will feature vintage elements and ephemera.   I hope you like the style as much as I do and watch for it being published as a download.

Distress Inks in Monochrome

Distress Inks in Monochrome

Most people think of monochrome as black, white and shades of grey, but it can be any colour within the same palette.  A challenge was to create an item using only a single coloured inkpad, for this I chose the #TimHoltz #distressink Dusty Concord which is a gorgeous purple shade.  The distress inks are translucent and water activated.

To achieve this tag effect, I rubbed the distress ink pad directly onto my glass craft mat and gently sprayed with a water mister.  By dipping the tag substrate into the ink on the glass craft mat several times, it built up a few layers.  I used a heat gun to dry off the excess moisture and repeated the process with the ink pad again. this gave some areas a darker mottled effect and a deeper purple shade.

As Distress inks are water reactive, I sprayed a little puddle of water from the mister onto my hand and then dropped it like a splash onto the tag and let the water rest there for a minute. I then dabbed off the excess water with a paper towel.  This has a faux bleaching effect like rain drop splashes.  Once the tag was dried again, I used a little text background stamp with the ink pad to create a little bit of interest in one corner.

I was using an set of Indigo Blue stamps for the main images.  I attached the gorgeous deeply etched red rubber stamp of  the lady image into my stamping platform and inked the stamp up directly from the same dusty concord distress ink pad.  Using a plain piece of white card, I stamped the image of the lady and also the wording which was also in the stamp set.

Distress inks can also be used to paint with. So I dabbed the ink pad onto my glass mat and sprayed with a water mist again. then using  a fine paintbrush, used the ink to colour in the outfit of the lady.  Once dry, the lady image was fussy cut around the image and glued onto the tag background.  The words were cut out in strips and the same ink pad wiped around all edges to add a bit of colour.  These were then glued onto the tag.

Why not have a go with a monochrome  project using a single ink pad colour to create a background and stamp. We would love to see what you create.


2021- The year to learn, to create, to relax

2021- The year to learn, to create, to relax


The only positive thing to emerge from the 2020 lockdown was the time to reflect and create. Did you try out a new hobby, a craft skill? Was there something you wanted to learn but struggled in isolation?

Jane and I missed the social aspects of our workshops and struggled in 2020. Not for the finance side, as we only ever wanted to cover our studio rent, materials and expenses, we never planned on working a profit and being highflying business executives!

This coming year we are going back to our workshops roots, setting up our creative learning space with a range or regular group sessions around a particular creative theme. We will be running group learning sessions in creating Powertex sculptures and art. There will be papercraft sessions ranging from scrapbooking, mini-book and card making. There will be textile sessions teaching sewing, crochet, needle felting. All equipment is provided in the sessions so you can get to try our ideas and tools before you commit to buy your own. As always there is expert advice and training on hand, including guest tutors.

So if there is something you wished you could have a go and learn in 2021, make a resolution to come and visit us in February and book onto one of our creative learning sessions. Stay safe and we look forward to seeing our previous and new customers in 2021.

Happy New Year

from Kim & Jane

Click and Collect your supplies

Click and Collect your supplies

So many of our lovely regular customers have not managed to get to our studio or workshops with the virus outbreak . Messages back and forth about wanting stock orders has been time consuming. As I have lots of available time at the moment, I am in the process of loading up the art supplies onto the website. You can then browse at your leisure at home (hopefully with a glass of something chilled). I have finally figured out how to make the web store show local collection if you want to Click and Collect your order, otherwise posting is still available.

Recently we have had a few kit orders which the buyer wanted to post elsewhere as a gift for a loved one. Just remember to let us know its a gift and we will add gift wrapping and a card with your personlised message free of charge. Its an ideal Christmas gift.

In addition, we have not been able to attend any craft fairs this year, so we have quite a stock of small stocking filler items and art works available for sale. Please pop back and have a look once they have been loaded into out Handmade Art category. Each piece is unique and will not be replicated. Support a small independent business this Christmas and shop local.

Stay Safe, Kim & Jane

Something positive…. at last!

Something positive…. at last!

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve really struggled with technology. My network at home just wouldn’t play nicely! I got soooo frustrated not being able to print Kim’s fabulous designs to finish our album as the network just wouldn’t stay connected to the printer. Next my personal emails just wouldn’t synch with Outlook on my laptop. Then, my NOW TV box refused to play, and just to add another layer of frustration I’ve spent far too much times on support calls with my software provider for my family history application as it refused to integrate with Ancestry (which has been working fine for a number of years…..)

I then started to feel somewhat under the weather (non-COVID related, I hasten to add) and with a couple of close friends experiencing really challenging times I just felt like hibernating until 2020 was over….

So, I decided to start my week looking at those issues over which I had at least some control. Here I am, some 6 hours later and I think my network is performing better (though it will never be perfect); my NOW TV box is happily streaming; Outlook is sorted (or so it appears) and I’ve completed a back-up of my family history, ran an update, applied a patch and that too is now integrating with Ancestry! Okay, so I still have some housework to do but I definitely feel I’ve had an achieving day.

Kim is still away so I have some time to spend on our collaborative album, though not feeling creative at the moment….. that too shall pass! Especially as I have a private booking at the studio tomorrow and then it’s Ladies Night on Thursday so feeling optimistic for the rest of the week.

Shout Out to BloomInArt!

Shout Out to BloomInArt!

The last few months have been extremely hard for most people with the international Covid restrictions. It has been especially hard for us here as all our workshops had to be cancelled and out income stopped, unfortunately, our rent didn’t stop at the same time. Of course the time out did mean we could concentrate on other aspects of the business.

We may not ever go back to ‘normal’ workshops so we dabbled with trying to create ‘virtual’ workshops online. We soon discovered lots of pitfalls in this as well as a major deficit in our skill set and out existing website and technology.

But then along came our local saviours which is why we want to offer a huge shout out and thanks to BloomInArt, The Annexe, the Wharton trust, Community Organisers, Mortal Fools Training, and not least The Arts Council England.

We were delighted to be supported with by BloomInArt and the Arts Council England Emergency funding to support and develop our own practice and work with BloomInArt to test new remote routes to engagement exploring community organising principles, community arts and social action.

This support received not only provided us with excellent digital delivery and facilitation training delivered by Mortal Fools. we also had an Introduction to Community Organising for our local community, linking with other artists and creatives in Hartlepool.

The funding grant from the Arts Council England helped us to purchase and build a more robust website where we could integrate our online training and video tuition which could be purchased via the website.

So a big thank you to Emma and Rachel from BloomInArt for organising it all.

Kim& Jane

Introducing Online Classes

Introducing Online Classes

Introducing Online Classes

So many people have asked for classes to be made available for those who cannot attend one of our workshops. Whether they want to give the gift of a class to a family member or friend who lives elsewhere; or whether the person is not yet comfortable with going out into the world at the moment.  

Our Online classes can be purchased through the website as a video embedded tutorial, which incorporates a range of learning styles to suit everyone; including, written instructions, clear photographs and hands on video tutorials.  A full list of items required for the class is included, 

We are also introducing mini kits into the web shop.  We already have the large Powertex starter kit but are introducing a smaller mini starter kit which will work alongside our online classes.  

Each class will have a ‘Project’ kit available to buy with most of the items required to complete the project.

These are physical goods which will be mailed out to you.  The online class will be a virtual experience, accessed securely via the website with your unique customer code.

We are just finishing off the editing and will let you know once they are available, with a special ‘early bird’ price offer, so keep watching.