Horowhenua art lovers will soon have the chance to try out a sculpting medium that sets hard and solid yet looks like soft, flowing fabric.

Paverpol workshops will begin in April at Jack Allen Hub in Levin, offering people the chance to learn how to use this liquid polymer textile hardener under the guidance of accredited instructor Kathy Gabriel.

Paverpol is applied over a sculpture base of a wire frame and tin foil, setting hard and weatherproof enough to be used for indoor or outdoor art works.

It has Arts, Crafts and Materials Institute certification, which means it is safe for humans, animals and the environment.


"It is exclusively water-based," Gabriel said. "After using, you simply wash your hands and tools with warm water and soap."

In her workshops, Gabriel guides people through making their own sculpture which they take home at the end.

"We start with a wire armature (frame) and sculpt in tinfoil, a very underrated sculpting medium, to develop the form of the sculpture," she said. "Participants can make a sitting, standing or lying figurine."

Gabriel said Paverpol can be used on natural fabric, such as cotton, wool, wood, leather, paper, hemp, bamboo, linen, silk, self-hardening clay, dried flowers or plaster. It doesn't stick to synthetic materials or plastics.

The material is dipped into the Paverpol to wrap and dress the sculpture.

"If participants want to use their old cotton t-shirts to recycle this is a great way to do that," she said.

"Paverpol dries naturally and in the heat we have been having in Horowhenua that can be quite quick. The sculpture participants take home will still be a little soft, so they have time to move things around if they get bumped on the car ride home. It is best to leave your sculpture indoors for at least two weeks for a full cure before putting outdoors."

Paverpol feels hard and stiff when cured, but the flow and folds of the fabric make it look like it is natural and soft, and you can make anything out of it, Gabriel said.

"The only limit is your imagination."


Gabriel is an art and creativity student at The Learning Connexion (TLC), majoring in jewellery and sculpture.

"My sculptural tutor told me about the medium, [which is] not currently offered at TLC," she said.

"I attended a workshop and fell in love with the versatility of the medium and went on to train to be an accredited Paverpol Instructor."

She is planning to run workshops in Levin on the last Saturday of the month, but is open to running more on other days if there is interest.

The first Paverpol workshop will be on Saturday 27 April at Jack Allen Community Hub, 32 Bristol Street, Levin, inside the RSA building.

Full day workshops will run from 10am to 5pm and cost $100, with everything required to make a sculpture provided, although people are welcome to bring any natural fibres or fabric they might like to use too.

No experience is necessary, Gabriel said.

"Everyone can do it, even those who say they do not have an artistic bone in their body do it and go home with a sculpture they are proud of."

For a sneak peek at Gabriel's work, she has some bronze sculptures on display at Phoenix Gallery in Shannon, and some of her Paverpol creations will also be on display there soon.

For further information contact Kathy Gabriel on 021 146 5038.