It’s certainly turning chilly in the mornings this month, although we could be due another burst of summery weather, you never know! As the children go back to school, my mind turns to the last quarter of the year, the traditional Harvest festivities and what I’d still like to achieve in 2019.
I spent a wonderful couple of days on the South Coast with Powertex Tutor Rosie Casselden (www.facebook.com/rosiecasseldenart/), learning some new Powertex techniques and creating a wonderful crow sculpture – more of that later.
I also had another go at glass blowing last month, to improve on some skills learnt on a pervious course last September and it was such an inspiring experience (www.facebook.com/pages/Creative-Vibe-Glassblowing-Limited/).
I loved the way the molten glass moves and how it’s difficult to control. It is fascinating to see how different materials react as they change from a liquid to a solid state. With Powertex coated fabric, I can at least manipulate the structure a bit as it dries.
Both these encounters got me thinking about where our creativity comes from and how we develop our ideas over time. The two sessions with these wonderful artists stimulated my imagination and made me want to get right back into the studio and create!
In July I’ve been taking time to learn new skills by visiting Powertex UK HQ for the annual Tutor Retreat. It’s a weekend I look forward to every year as it’s a brilliant time to meet up, share ideas and learn new techniques from some really inspirational Powertex tutors.
Visiting the Tutor Retreat this year was Abyssimo, a super-creative artist. I’ve met Abyssimo (Maria) before and was really impressed with her work and artistic talent, and this year we were able to interpret her work with Powertex Stone Art and take away some great new ideas from workshops and projects taking place over the weekend.
Mini travel sized versions of our favourite toiletries are now a staple of our bathrooms. The world is shrinking to suit our lifestyles! From shower gel to sewing kits, everything has become more convenient to transport and try out. The smaller price tag of these toiletries also makes us more likely to try out a different shampoo or deodorant as it won’t break the bank and doesn’t matter so much if we don’t like it!
The travel size phenomenon is also hitting the art studio with the launch of the Powertex Easy Mixed Media Starter Pack. This small and perfectly formed kit includes sample sizes of Easy Structure, Easy 3D Flex, Easy Coat Matt and Easy Varnish – all you need to begin your very own mixed media project.
This month I held triptych workshops for four lovely ladies – nothing new there, I hear you say. A triptych piece of art consists of three panels that make up the overall image. I usually offer students the chance to create a piece of abstract triptych art using Powertex and recycled fabric and moulded items.
This time, two of the ladies wanted to try the abstract approach, another wanted to create a landscape scene featuring her dog and a pond, and the fourth planned a horse’s head on her triptych panels.
Spring is well and truly here – despite recent weather telling us to get the winter coat out again! I just love the burst of colour that heralds the start of lighter, warmer days. Gardens are full of daffodils, tulips, forsythia and cherry blossom and the trees are tentatively sending out the most vibrant green new leaves – a real treat for the eyes and the soul!
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a Powertex Tutor is being able to pass on the skills for people to create their own amazing sculptures and artwork using Powertex. The sense of satisfaction that I get as a tutor when I see that a student is really happy with their creation never dims over the years I’ve been holding workshops and private classes for people.
This month I’ve been able to take my fulfilling lifestyle to a new level as I, and five other tutors, were taken through a gruelling(!) course learning to train others to become Powertex Training Academy tutors. This is the first time that Powertex UK has opened up the training process and it is a testament to the popularity of the product that the teaching is to be expanded across the country.
With the headlines full of global warming and record high temperatures, it’s lovely to be able to enjoy a frosty morning while we can. I’m lucky to live in the countryside and be able to walk from my village down the lanes and love to do this on a chilly, bright day – especially when you can come home to a roaring fire!
I’m so excited to be able to start the New Year with some amazing news! I am able to offer a five-day Cornish ‘artistic retreat’ Art Holiday in September 2019. This is a dream I’ve had since setting up Artistic ReTreats and with the purchase of our inspirational cottage and studio in West Cornwall last year, the dream is turning into reality.
The advantage of a five-day holiday is that we can explore even more Powertex techniques and products well away from the distractions of home and the clock. This course is ideal for people who like to explore their interests alone or for a couple of friends who love to share their experiences.
Christmas provides us with the perfect opportunity to make lovely memories with our families but the manic festive preparations can also rob us of these opportunities. It’s really important to spend quality time with friends and family but this is sometimes easier said than done, with all the shopping, cooking, partying and decorating to be done.
There’s a lovely Facebook post doing the rounds this month that talks about the memorable moments that children recount when they return to school after Christmas. They are rarely what they ‘got’ but are more about the time they spent with their parents and grandparents, playing games and the silly things that happened.
So how do we find that time within this hectic festive season to enjoy each other and create those cherished memories?
Every year, the Christmas build-up seems to start earlier and get bigger and more stressful, with a ludicrous amount of over-indulgence in food, drink and present giving. Don’t get me wrong, I love giving and receiving gifts at Christmas, but if we think a little more carefully about who we’re buying for and what we’re getting them, it would make the festive season so much more enjoyable and meaningful.
Three great ways to make Christmas really special are to share a lovely experience together; give a gift to help the person enjoy their hobby; and create something totally unique and memorable to present to your loved ones.
Autumn is widely thought to be the most beautiful time of year – all that gold, red, orange and yellow on display. This season has been the favourite subject of many artists over the centuries but is a bittersweet celebration as it’s a process of change and decay when the natural world puts on its final show before winter takes hold.
Autumn colours are right up there with misty mornings, log fires, conkers and dew-laden webs as the highlights of the season and I absolutely love to reflect these glorious colours in my Powertex artwork.
This hot, hot summer is creating challenges for many people in the garden, on farms, at work and at home but it’s also creating some fabulous inspiration for art. As I travel around, I’ve been amazed by the array of vibrant colours and different textures that this incredible heatwave has brought us. Whether travelling abroad or taking a ‘staycation’ in the UK this summer, lift your eyes to the sky and the environment around you for some new inspiration.
As we head full pelt towards the school holidays, many (mostly) Mums will be dreading the loss of time and the change of routine that having kids around all day will enforce upon them.
Whether art is your hobby or your profession, it can be really hard to find the time to invest in it – you feel guilty for leaving the children to screen time or relying on friends and family for an afternoon of childcare.
But you really mustn't feel guilty - it’s so important for your mental wellbeing to keep up your commitment to your artwork. Life might be hectic but giving yourself some creative space will help you feel more fulfilled and enjoy the time you have with your children.
Here are my tips for finding time for your art, around family and work: