Off to Film at F+W in Colorado


I’ve been a little quiet the past week on my social media and blog because I’ve been concentrating and working like a little elf in my studio for an upcoming project with F+W where I’ll be filming four online classes for Craft Daily. I leave Tuesday morning (Dec. 16th) and will be there for the remainder of the week.

I wish I could tell you or even show you what I’ve been working on, but, unfortunately I’m not allowed to reveal anything. I just couldn’t help myself though so I’m showing you an extreme sneak peek of one of the projects. Can you guess what it is? (bottom pic) I will be talking more about these projects in the future so please subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already.

What I can say is that I had a blast making these and working on the upcoming filming. I incorporated so many mixed media paint-y, inky, ICE Resin, rubber stamping, cold enamels, casting, molding, drilling, annealing, forging, wireworking, found objects, vintage photos, riveting, air dry clay, freeform wire shaping…..and the list still goes on….into these awesome projects. I really am hopeful people love them and get a lot of education and value from my work.


If you’ve never heard of Craft Daily, it’s an online subscription-based site by F+W media chock full of how to videos and classes from some of the top names of artists and instructors in the business. Currently, there are over 350 videos to choose from. If you get a chance, check it out and see if it’s of interest to you. I’m hoping 2015 is going to be my year of videos and online classes. I’m seriously working toward this goal. This is a great step as a follow up to my Breaking Out of the Mold video (which I’m pretty sure is available currently on Craft Daily).

I’m excited to be going. Wish me luck!


Mixed Media Mystery Box

1 p.m. MST UPDATE — ALL THE MYSTERY BOXES ARE SPOKEN FOR. Thanks SO much everyone for your quick and overwhelming response. You have seriously MOTIVATED me. I’m going to do a huge purge in January and I’ll be doing this again. I’d love for my treasures to go to good homes. 



I spent 10 hours on Saturday cleaning my studio in order to get flat surfaces for me to work on again. Sometimes I think mixed media = hoarder. There’s just too much cool stuff in this world that I look at and want to re-purpose into ART. As I was cleaning and coming across multiples of items that I’ve used in past workshop kits, I was trying to figure out what to do with all the great bits and bobs. I mean, seriously, there were big piles of awesome trims, brand new stamp sets from Indigo Blu in the UK, items from the Spellbinders Media Mixage line with Susan Lenart Kazmer, Industial Chic by Susan Lenart Kazmer goodie bags that I put together three years ago for my CREATE classes, buttons, old brown bags from the 1950s with writing on them, beads, bobbles, dies, vintage papers, Connie Crystal, things I have left that are onesie and twosies, etc. You can see a sample by this pile here. Just know I kept adding to it even after I snapped a pic and, silly me, forgot to take another photo. I was on a cleaning roll.

Jen's Studio Mystery Box

I grabbed seven medium sized brown boxes and decided to make up mixed media mystery boxes that I’d offer to my fellow hoarders….ummmmmm… I mean artists. I’m selling these for $20, plus $10 shipping. I guarantee you that what’s inside is worth way more. I’d love for a little piece of my studio to now be in your capable creative hands. Here’s the deets:

  • There are only 7 boxes. First come.
  • Send me an email to and tell you you want one. I will send you an invoice for $20 plus $10 shipping via Paypal. Once you pay it, I’ll ship that box out immediately.
  • No returns. Since this is a mystery box, what you get is what you get. Consider it an art game. Play at your own risk. If you’ve ever taken classes from me, you know how generous I like to be with art supplies.


I’ve decided that after our two big shows — CHA in January and Tucson the first week in February — that I am going to do a giant purge of my studio. I am paring down my studio to the essentials. If my little mystery box flash sale goes well, then I’ll make it even bigger and better next year. Now go make some room for my stuff! (grin)

Here’s wishing you a super Artful week.



Coupon code for Creative Jumpstart 2015


If you’re not familiar with CJS, it’s a one-of-a-kind online event run by Nathalie Kalbach to fire up your creativity in Jan 2015 . Learn techniques, discover new materials, and connect with artists. I’m thrilled to be one of the participating artists again. I joined Nat the very first year she began CJS and I’m so proud to see how she’s grown it better and better every year. This year’s sneak peeks from the other artists on their social media channels look amazing!

Here are the deets:

  • Throughout January participants get 25 videos from 23 featured artists. I’m proud to be one of those artists, called “JumpStarters.” 
  • Head on over to Nathalie’s site to sign up and for more details:
  • You get 25 videos for just $25 (USD).
  • But wait – it gets better: if you sign up today using my personal coupon code you’ll get $5 off. Just use this coupon code during checkout: cjsnewsiceresin
  • *This code is valid until Jan. 15th, 2015

So what are you waiting for? Sign up here, and apply the coupon code during check out process

CJS 2015 is proudly sponsored by Liquitex.

Here’s wishing you an Artful day!


Light bulb Jewelry and Sonoran Living


It was cool to return to Sonoran Living Live with the gorgeous Terri Ouelette on Monday (Dec. 1). This time I showed how to upcycle old holiday light bulbs into cute Christmas pendants for jewelry. These would make great teacher gifts or girlfriend gifts. They’re fun to make with the kiddos at your side too. For a festive necklace that’s a little more glam, you can completely cover a light bulb in ICE Resin and then roll it in German Glass Glitter, or keep it simple and paint just a half dozen snowflakes or stars on the glass. Here is the video link Sonoran Living’s website and the segment.


Here’s a stepped out tutorial on how to make these lightbulb pendants. Be sure to scroll to the end to see a few more pics from my segment.



Using the pilot hole in the metal top of the bulb from the manufacturer insert the tip of the drill bit and  begin drilling.


Using oil based paint markers, paint a snowman or whatever imagery you wish onto the bulb.



Add a few more finishing details, like dots for snow and snowflakes.


Use different colors of paint markers to add more detail to the imagery. Here I’m adding a carrot nose, eyes, buttons, etc.


Cut a 5 inch piece of 20 Gauge wire for your wirewrap.


Insert the wire through the hole, leaving a smaller piece on one end and a longer on the other. Begin to make a briolette wrap by wrapping the short end around the longer piece of wire.


Use your chain nose pliers to finish the briolette wrap and tuck the tail of the wire.

HolidayBulb8.jpgTo make a wrapped loop at the top, use round nose or small bailing pliers to make a loop just above the briolette wrap. Transfer pliers to your non dominant hand and use the chain nose pliers on your dominant hand to wrap the wire until it runs out. Use the chain nose pliers to crimp the end to ensure there is no pokey end.


Mix up some ICE Resin according to directions and use the craft stick to “paint” a coat onto the light bulb. This will add strength so the light bulb won’t break. It’s also for safety because if the light bulb does happen to break it won’t shatter. Poke a hole in cardboard so you can insert the wrapped end into the hole and allow the bulb to dry without touching anything else.


Finish it off with some chain and a jump ring. I used pearl rosary chain here because I thought it looked a little like snowballs and went with the snowman theme of the bulb. Special thanks to Carol LaValley for shooting all these step-out photos!

A few more pics from the studio…



Rev your engines, it’s Creative Jumpstart 2015 time

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be participating as an artist in Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2015, run by Nathalie Kalbach. If you’re not familiar with CJS, it’s a one-of-a-kind online event to fire up your creativity in Jan 2015.

Learn techniques, discover new materials, and connect with artists and crafters. 

Throughout January participants get 25 videos from 23 featured artists. I’m proud to be one of those artists, called “JumpStarters.” See my intro video for yourself:

Head on over to Nathalie’s site to sign up and for more details:

You get 25 videos for just $25 (USD).

But wait – it gets better: if you sign up today you’ll get $5 off. Just use this coupon code during checkout:


*This is a limited offer valid from 9:00 am Dec 1, 2014 to 8:59 am EST on Dec 2, 2014.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up here, and apply the coupon code during check out process

CJS 2015 is proudly sponsored by Liquitex.


I’m featured in Jewelry Making Daily!

JenMakingMetalJewelry (1)

How exciting that the day before Thanksgiving — a time for reflecting on all the things one has in life to be grateful for – that my book Making Metal Jewelry is being featured so prominently by Jewelry Making Daily Editor Tammy Jones. I am sooo super excited for her review of my book. Be sure to check out Tammy’s post 6 Tips and Solutions for Making Artistic Jewelry from Jen Cushman and Making Metal Jewelry. Also, my book is half off at the Interweave store now as a Black Friday special.

Because Tammy is tuned into all things jewelry and metalworking, she was astute enough to realize and hone in on the one technique I use in almost every piece of jewelry I make; drawing a bead on wire. In the book’s introduction I talk about how the Heavens opened up for me creatively when I first learned how to ball the ends of wire. I have found endless possibility for ideas with this very simple technique. (Rather than going into it here, be sure to read Tammy’s great blog post where she explains how to use a torch to ball the ends of wire).

I make something I call metal fibers – a cool term I learned from Susan — which is simply drawing a bead on both ends of a piece of wire. I use these pieces a lot in my wireworking for coiling, lashing, strength when attaching fibers to metal, and as pure design elements. Metal fibers are one of the easiest way for me to incorporate the look of mixed metals even into the most minimal of my metalwork pieces. (see the hoop earrings project in my book, as well as the forged bracelets). Every pair of earrings I make are pretty much finished off with a bead on the end. I do this not only for design, but also to keep any sharp, pokey metal from catching and snagging on clothing or hair. It’s actually a safety issue for me because I would be mortified if a piece of metal jewelry I made and sold was sharp or spiky or hurt someone.


When I wrote Making Metal Jewelry over three years ago now (It’s been out for nearly 2 years, but like all books from a publisher it was 18 months in the making), I wanted to write the beginning metalworking book that I was looking for when I first grew interested in silversmithing. Because I come to jewelry as a mixed-media artist with a foundation in collage, I had no desire to do absolutely perfect silversmithing. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge admirer of people like Susan Lenart Kazmer, Richard Salley, Lexi Erickson, Helen Driggs, Robert Dancik,Thomas Mann and a hundred other people whose incredible talent and work knocks my socks off every single time I look at it. These artists (most of whom I luckily get to call my friends) inspire me to continue honing my skills in the sanctuary of my studio. However, a goldsmith I shall never become. I love my paint, ink, ephemera, fibers and found objects too much to jump ship. I think that’s why I’m so honored that Tammy Jones understands my work and where I was coming from with Making Metal Jewelry. Truly, I can’t think of anything better as an artist for one’s soul to be truly seen and accepted.

Blessings to you my friends. I hope you have an opportunity this week to reflect on the million and one things in your life you are grateful for. Tis’ the season.


Sad to see it go

It was a rough week for me last week when I found out that F+W will no longer hold the CREATE mixed media art retreats in conjunction with Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine. (If you haven’t seen the announcement yet, please read to the end where I’ve posted the email to attendees). I’ve been teaching at CREATE since the beginning and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The other instructors are like family to me, and many of my students have become my friends. While we often don’t see each other anywhere other than Facebook, it’s friendship born from the face-to-face interactions from these wonderful retreats.

Trust me, running my part of ICE Resin has taught me a ton first hand about business, even more so than when I was a business reporter. I know that the bottom line drives business and that, at some point, the plug gets pulled on ventures that are not supporting P and L. (Profit/Loss). This knowledge, however, doesn’t make it any less emotional for me. As an artist, I will continue to make art. As an instructor, I’ll continue to teach. As an entrepreneur, I’ll continue to seek out new opportunities to manifest my time and talent into ways that nourish both my soul and my income. However, I can’t deny feeling a little sad for my students. I’ve had the sincere fortune to meet some of the most amazingly talented women (and a few good men) over the years at the CREATE retreats who’ve shared their stories of how important it was for them to find their Tribe while improving their art making skills. What eases the hurt is the knowledge that other retreat organizers will benefit from the loss of the CREATEs. Students are savvy and once they know they’re part of a Tribe, they’ll seek out the other retreats run by individuals, rather than corporations, to fill the gap. I suspect we’ll see more smaller, localized and 3-day weekend retreats begin to surface and cement their place.

I realize there are many ideas floating around about what is happening and why it’s happening and, ultimately, what does it mean for our mixed-media community. I have my opinions, of course. The one thing I do know is that online is not the same as individual or group instruction when it comes to something as personal and hands-on as making art. Online is great for many people. I plan to finally start teaching more online classes myself in the future so it absolutely has its place. Technology harnessed truly is an amazing thing.

Human beings, however, need to look into each other’s eyes. We need touch, we need to be in each other’s energy fields so we can have a physical exchange of creative vibes. I can tell you that there are times when I’m teaching that the happy energy coming from a group of people pursuing their passion is palatable. Sometimes, my room is electric; the charge so intense that I can’t even settle down at the end of the day and go to sleep. I’m not ready to give that up.

Of course, I’ll flow with the changes and see what comes next. I’m still teaching at next year’s To Bead True Blue and also the Bead and Button Show. There are a few venues that I’ve applied for that I’m still waiting to see if my proposals were accepted. I have plans in the works to teach at some studios, which I am totally jazzed about. But I also find myself grateful for a bit of a breather in my schedule now to concentrate on a few important things I’ve been trying to get to — like a better website, more frequent blog posts and even an online store to sell my work.

Onward and upward, my friends. All is well. I just wanted to take a moment to ensure you’ve heard the news.






NOTE: The ideas and opinions above are my own. In the spirit of full disclosure, I write a column for Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine and am a frequent contributor to Interweave publications. I’m also an F+W author. As an independent artist, I’m supportive and grateful of the opportunities I have to work with this amazing media company.


[A Message to CREATE Attendees:

As much as we have all worked together to make our CREATE retreats special for everyone involved (and, we think, with your help we’ve accomplished that), the business-side of these events has fallen short of our requirements. We’ve evaluated increasing prices and cutting costs, but neither will be enough to make a difference to the business, nor will be beneficial to our attendees.

Hence, we’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue the CREATE retreats; as such, we will not be committing to venues to host stand-alone, face-to-face CREATE experiences. Instead, some in-person mixed media classes will be offered at our Creating Keepsakes Conventions while others will be offered online via our expanded craft education website Craft Daily through which we will be adding to the mixed media curriculum on an on-going basis.

Thank you for your support and participation in the CREATE Mixed Media Retreats over the past several years. Your passion and commitment continues to cultivate a robust community of craft enthusiasts for the mixed media art form.

Best Wishes,

The CREATE Team]