Monday 28 March 2016

2016 #6 Fabric Flower Lady {by Elizabeth Borer}

2016 Topic 6: Liquid Sculpting Medium

Hi there, Liz here working with the current topic using Powertex universal medium. I've not used this medium before, but I have used Paverpol. So I decided to try Powertex, they both do a very similar job because they cause fabric to become hard so that it can be used to create wonderful sculptures. I really don't mind which one I use because the result for me was great with both of them. However, if like me, you are a messy crafter and always get your hands covered in whatever you are using then I found Powertex to be slightly easier to use. When I used Paverpol I found it difficult to get off my hands but I found Powertex much easier to remove! Of course I could have worn gloves, silly me. I don't want to give long instructions about how to use this medium. There's lot of information available if you get interested, I'm just going to give you some ideas and hopefully inspiration about what I did .

To create a base for my little lady, I stuck a small mdf box onto an oval mdf plaque. I then coated a large piece of white cotton fabric with Powertex and draped and folded it over the MDF. The Powertex not only stiffens the fabric but sticks it to the base.

I have seen pictures of wire used to create a figure shaped form to drape the fabric on but I had a mad idea which worked quite well. I used a wooden manikin (often used by artists for drawing figures) as the base for my lady. I used strips of fabric  about 2 cm wide soaked in the medium to wrap around the arms and legs. I then used a larger piece to completely cover her head and neck. Finally I used more fabric to cover her chest. I didn't need to cover the whole figure because it was going to have 'clothes' added. The medium starts drying quite fast but there is plenty of time to position the figure on the base so that it all sticks together and hardens in place.

Once the figure is in the right place she can be dressed! I used rectangles of fabric to create the main part of the dress and then added the sleeves. I twisted fabric and added it around the head before adding longer pieces hanging down from the head.

 I used artificial fabric flowers, again soaked in the medium, to create a little garden around the lady and also added flowers to the figure. It doesn't matter what colour the flowers are because they will all be painted. I then left the whole thing to dry overnight. It's amazing once dry because it is so hard, like stone. This picture doesn't show that I added pearls to the centres of the smaller flowers and across the top of her head. They can be seen on later photos.

I then painted the whole piece with Fresco paints. I used Nougat because I like the fact that it is quite neutral with a warm tone to the colour. It also is a good skin tone so the areas of skin on the figure won't need extra colour. The coloured flowers needed two coats of paint.

The sculpture could be painted any colour and left at this stage. It looks amazingly like stone in just a single colour. However I am going to show you a few more ideas about adding colour to the sculpture. In this picture I used a darker colour to add shading and an aged effect. I used Squid Ink thinned and made more transparent by mixing it with Matte Glaze. This can be painted into the nooks and crannies of the fabric folds and into the centres of the flowers. Also add the colour anywhere there would be shadows. Again the sculpture could be left at this stage. If the base colour had been grey and a darker grey was used for the shadows it would look like stone.

Finally I decided to add colour to the sculpture. Again I mixed Matte Glaze with some Fresco paints so that the colours weren't solid. The main coat/ dress is  painted with Lake Wanaka and the largest flowers were painted with washes of Plum. I used shades of purple and pink and blue for the other flowers. I noticed that the fabric felt softer when the wet paint was applied but once dry it was solid again. Once dry I dry brushed Nougat over all the colours to soften them and tone them together. I finished by adding some gold highlights by mixing Treasure Gold colours White Fire and Florentine together. I mixed the Treasure Gold with alcohol ink blending solution to create a paint so that I could paint the centres of the flowers and pearls and add highlights to the petals .

Here's a closer photo of one of the larger flowers and the boots of the figure. I created the boots by cutting a shield shaped piece of fabric and folding it around the feet .

It didn't occur to me until it was too late that although the sculpture was hard it was made of fabric, So I used a new paintbrush. Oops ! Painting fabric is not good for brushes, it damages the bristles, so I would advise using an older brush for this work .
I hope you have enjoyed seeing my ideas and this sculpture. Maybe you will be inspired to have a go with one of these mediums. I had a lot of fun and am now thinking of stamping a design onto fabric before sculpting with it. I know it's a bit late, but Happy Easter to all. 

Liz .

Thank you Liz for sharing this exquisite art creation with us. This is so reminiscent of one of those fine art ornaments we all know and love. The folds of the fabric sit beautifully and the soft pastel colours tinged with Treasure Gold is just wonderful. ~Gillian

We would love to see how you interpret this topic by linking what you make to our 2016 Challenge #6: Liquid Sculpting Medium, on this page HERE.
All of our bloggers love to see your twist on their ideas, particularly if you were inspired directly by their post. 

All links go in the draw to win a £50 voucher to spend on products of your choice from the PaperArtsy online store. The Liquid Sculpting Medium link will close 17:00 (London Time) Sunday, April 3rd. The winner will be announced 2 hours later at 19:00.


Helen said...

Liz, this is staggeringly beautiful! Such a clever idea to use a mannekin as the base. the colours are gorgeous and I love how easy it seems to paint over the light Powertex. the flowers are amazing.

Miriam said...

gorgeous project Liz. I love the way you created your sculpture and how you coloured it. I love the soft feel to it too.

JoFY said...

Stunning project Liz - and clever to use a wood mannequin as a base! x

Kirsten said...

Lovely piece.

rachel said...

stunning work ... love it x

Julie Lee said...

What a thing of beauty your flower lady is! I love your choice of Fresco Colours and the painting with Treasure Gold. xx

Lucy Edmondson said...

This is wonderful, Liz, like a collector's piece! You have demonstrated so well how fabric hardeners can be used with frescos. I love the idea of the mannekin as a base. I bought some large and small ones the other week for the art doll challenge and then didn't use them so this suggestion is perfect for me!

Lucy x

Lauren Hatwell said...

Wow! Your flower lady is just fabulous Liz. Lx

craftimamma said...

What a beautiful figurine you created Liz. Fresco Finish paints and Treasure Gold paired eith Powertex....what more could we want.

Lesley xx

PaperArtsy said...

Oh wow, how fun is this stuff!!! Love how you coloured it so softly!! And the TG touches are fabulous too!