Archive | March 2011

Book review and giveway

Did you see the awesome book review Tonia Davenport gave me for Explore, Create, Resinate; Mixed Media Techniques Using ICE Resin? I was holding my breath, waiting for the first review to come out. Luckily, Tonia liked the book and had some really nice things to say about it. (Insert a mental picture of me jumping for joy right about now.)

The reason Tonia’s review is an important one is because she is the acquisitions editor for NorthLight, the craft book imprint of F&W Publications. Many, many of my artist friends have published with NorthLight and Tonia was the first person they spoke to when it came to proposing and fleshing out their ideas. She is an exceptional editor, an artist herself and a very detail-oriented personality. From everything I’ve heard about her she’s very good at her job.

The fact that the editors and powers-that-be in charge of the CreateMixedMedia website wanted Tonia to do a book review says something very important to me. They are not just about selling books, they are about building a community for like-minded folks and disseminating valuable information to people who love mixed-media. That’s also one of the reasons I write a monthly column for them as a contributing editor because they are all about getting solid and useful information into people’s hands.

In addition to doing the book review, Tonia made a really beautiful necklace using ICE Resin and one of our hobnob mixed metal bezels. Rather than keeping it for herself, she added her handmade necklace to  the grand prize giveaway that’s going on right now.

Head over to the website and leave a comment about what new and interesting craft product do you want to experiment with and you will be entered to win Tonia’s first-place prize. There’s also a second chance to win my book, a copy of Susan’s Making Connections book and also ICE Resin and bezels. The contest ends April 2, so hurry over now.

Where’s the do-over?

Sorry folks for the strange new blog look. I was checking my email this morning and a WordPress notice popped up that there is a new theme called “Rusty Grunge”. They got me. I’m a sucker for anything that promises artsy grunge.

When I clicked the button to preview what my blog would look like in this new theme, it somehow changed  it permantely. Ugh!

I searched high and low for the “do-over” button. I’m pretty technical, but I couldn’t find the one-click answer. I need the Control-Z option for WordPress (like the button you can choose in Windows if you do something stupid and realize it right away.)

Unfortunately, I’m not at my computer with all my photo files and won’t be until next week. So sorry for the strange-looking change, but I’ll get things back to normal as soon as possible. Who knows, maybe the tech support guys will know the right button to press to make things revert to normal. (grin)

Podcast on Social Media

I just did another podcast, only this time with my fabulous friend Ricë Freeman Zachary, the editorial content guru for Create Mixed Media. I had  great time talking to Ricë, such a good time that I wonder if the interview doesn’t go on and on a little too long. (grin) If you are wondering about Facebook and Twitter and blogging and all those kinds of things in order to PR your art business, take a gander over at Ricë’s personal blog, the Voodoo Lounge and listen for yourself.

I’m working on a follow up column on the podcast now, so if you have any questions, feel free to leave them here on the blog or email me at jencushman@ymail.com and I’ll do my best to work them into the column.

Here’s wishing you a truly Artful Day!

Art and Soul Radio Interview Today

When I was in Houston, my talented and beautiful friend Lesley Riley interviewed me for her Art and Soul Radio on blogtalkradio. The interview airs in 5 minutes. (Don’t worry, if you didn’t catch it live you can always click on the archived link).

Oh my gosh, I’m a little nervous to hear my voice coming from my computer very soon. You see, I’m always the one doing the interviews, not the one being interviewed. It’s a totally different frame of reference to be the one sitting in the hot seat. The one not in control of the questions, but the person who must think about what’s being asked and do my best to sound knowledgable and literate.

Fortunately, I love to talk (grin). I’m comfortable doing public speaking, as long as its on a subject matter that I know well. Public relations, marketing, magazines, publishing, art, artists..those things come easy to me. Talking about myself, well that’s a little more unsettling, and that’s where I’m a little nervous as I watch the minutes click by to “showtime.”

Lesley, however, made it easy for me to do the radio broadcast. Her questions were thorough and thought provoking. The 60 minutes we had together zipped by as if I were speaking to an old friend.

I first met Lesley Riley in 2005 when I was writing the Paper, Scissors, Crop column for Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion magazine. She was the third artist I ever featured in my column, which ran for nearly 5 years. I had just met Lesley then and was so impressed with her beautiful “Fragments” series she was working on that incorporated image transfers on fabric, along with her unique way of mixing textiles. I fell in love with her work, as well as her generous heart and spirit.

She didn’t know it for the longest time, but Lesley became one of my very first mixed media art mentors. She looked at my work back then and gave me a vote of confidence. She told me it was good, gave me constructive criticism to help improve my skills, but most importantly, she encouraged me that as a self-taught artist I had some talent worth exploring.

We lost touch for a few years, but recently reconnected as our paths met again with the new website Create Mixed Media, where she and I are two of the four contributing editors and columnists. When she asked to interview me this time around, I felt as though my career had come full circle. It was definitely a “wow” moment for me.

My life is a blessing. My career, my family, my art. The fact that I’m now getting opportunites to share what I’ve learned is truly icing on the cake. This mixed media community has given so much to me over the past 6 years, that I love being able to give back what I can to help others along the way. I’m sure someone is right now sitting in the same spot I was in 2005, wondering if her art is good enough, special enough, lovely enough to make an impact on the world in some small way. Hopefully, it’s my turn to do for her what Lesley and others did for me.

Book signing

There are people who have made my journey as an artist easier, people who believed in me long before I believed in myself. My friends Barbara and Brenda, who own the incredibly cool paper arts store in my hometown called Paper and Metal Scrappers are those types of folks for me. They gave me my first job teaching about 5 years ago, and have encouraged me to go forward at every turn.

So, naturally, when I finished writing my book I called Barbara on the phone to express my relief. She told me to immediately call Brenda (who schedules the classes, invites the Guest Designers to come to town and handles the demos, etc.) and set up a date for a book signing. So that’s what I did.

The cool thing is that the date is here. I will be doing a book signing and make n’ take of my own design tomorrow (March 11th) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at my friends’ too-cool-for-school store. If you happen to be in Payson, Arizona pop in and say hello. I’d love to chat.

Regarding the make n’ take, I knew I wanted a mixed media flower embellishment using fabric and resin paper and some other goodies. I also knew I wanted it on the funky side so I started pulling out my scraps. The base needed to be something heavy — like blue jeans. I rummaged through my closet for an old pair, couldn’t find any and then remembered “Dang, I just took a big box of clothes to my local thrift store 3 weeks ago.” I had asked my hubby to go through his stuff, but he just couldn’t make the time that weekend for clearing and cleaning.

Soooo, I rummaged through his closet and found an old pair of faded black jeans, picked up my favorite pair of Fiskars scissors that I only use for fabric so they stay sharp and got to work tearing up his pants. It felt good to sacrifice those saggy-bottom jeans to art!

The flower was looking good, but it was missing some texture and just, well, missing something. I grabbed some bubble wrap from my recent EBay purchase for my upcoming CREATE classes and cut a circle shape. It still needed something so I broke out my white paint and “stamped” some onto the bubble wrap circle. Viola, just the texture I was looking for.

This is what I love, love, LOVE about mixed media. Anything goes and everything can be upcycled from something ordinary and boring into — ART.

Seriously, if you live in Phoenix or anywhere close, take a trip to see me and come play with my husband’s pants. Well….you know what I mean. (wink).