Archive | May 2012

There’s still time to join me to CREATE

My classes are kitted up, my bags are packed and I spent some time making new ICE Resin jewelry to sell at the Artist’s Faire night next Friday at the CREATE mixed-media art retreat in Irvine, California. There are still spots open for some amazing classes. Check out the roster of instructors if you have a minute and then figure out how to join me next week.

My dear friend Carol La Valley helped me make some fun Mixed-Media Mad Bags for the faire. I took a lot of my paper and bits an bobs of things I have left over from my classes and projects that are taking up too much space in my studio and we made some fun creativity bags. There is some resin paper in there, some French paper, metal charms and trinkets, grungeboard and chipboard shapes, and a funny soft plastic baby party favor with movable hands.

making my mixedmedia mad bags

Punching some French paper for my mixed-media mad bags

If you are around Wednesday and Thursday, I still have some spots left in my classes. Mermaid Dreams necklace, which is all about mold making, resin clay and making your own beads is all day Wednesday. Wednesday evening is Whimsical Rings, where you will learn how to make an adjustable ring shank from copper or nickel, how to use a circle punch and dap and dome metal and then proper cold-join attachment for colorful lampwork beads. My ICE Resin class Thursday is almost sold out. Only a spot or two left. But students will collage 3 mixed-metal bezels and learn how to work with a jeweler’s grade resin.

goodies for the mixed media bags

Some of the goodies on my table that we put into the mixed-media mad bags

As always, I’ll do my best to blog from the road and update with some fun pics. That being said, I always have the best intentions of this but then get to the retreats with all my friends and such creative students and I just tend to soak up all the great energy and get lost in the camaraderie of creativity.

goodie bags

Finished bags. I think we made 17 or 18 of them.

The Last Word Somerset Studio

resin casting

I have the Last Word in the May/June issue of Somerset Studios. This is the first time, I’ve been featured in this part of the magazine and it’s quite an honor. Each issue, an artist gets to tell her personal story about a piece of art work they’ve made and the story behind the piece. Usually, the stories are inspirational or reflective in nature, often setting the final tone for the entire issue.

The piece is an assemblage I made for a sample earlier in the year for our ICE Resin booth at Winter CHA. I had just gotten back a bunch of resin castings that I did for a workshop in Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine on mold-making. I pulled the piece I cast from a Frozen Charlotte Doll torso and head and began to build a piece around this focal.  As I was in the creative process, it dawned on me the feeling of the piece is the joy my beautiful daughter — our miracle baby — has brought to our family.

However, like a lot of my work, the assemblage is also about a deeper story. It’s about me following my dreams to have a successful creative career and to live my life as an artist. This is the story I tell as part of my Last Word article. It was difficult for me to openly talk about something so intimate, but I feel it’s also another part in my journey. What I do when I write or teach or create is share my story with others. It’s about sharing emotion and common human experiences and finding connections that have deep roots.

cover image

If you haven’t had a chance yet to pick up this issue, please consider doing so. There are so many wonderful articles throughout. Seth Apter is the Artist Profile, and his incredible art made the cover so engaging. My dear friend Kristen Robinson is featured with some of her cast Paperclay assemblages and my business partner Susan Lenart Kazmer has an inspirational article on her unique journals. Oh, the eye candy! It’s honestly one of my favorite issues of all time.

My new boyfriend Carlo

crafty girls

One of my guilty pleasures is the anticipation of each month’s 4-day sale at the Sweet Salvage event in Phoenix. As much as I try to stay away, I just can’t. Kim and Katie and the rest of the designer’s sweet song calls to me, whispering of the crusty, rusty, weathered and wonderful treasures they’ve found throughout the month and display so beautifully throughout the store.

This month’s event was extra special for me because my two crafty girlfriend, Donna Salazar and Stacey Caron joined me for treasure hunting. The moment we walked in the door, we found this absolutely amazing child-size vintage mannequin hanging from a cast iron display. I knew the moment I saw it that it was a truly special piece. Stacey is creating a brand new craft studio and the piece just had to go home with her. I was sad and a little bit green with envy because I wanted to take it home with me, but I was honestly thrilled one of us in our trio scored the best prize of the day.

I mourned the loss for about 2 minutes and moved on to see what other wonderful things I could find. Then I came across Carlo, a male mannequin that one of the Sweet Salvage designers did an incredible job storyboarding. His jaunty fedora, fun tool belt, feathers in the pocket and folded book pages cravat spoke to me. I think he has a sense of humor, don’t you? I just had to buy him, and luckily, he was quite the bargain when compared to our child-size friend.

I have another wonderful vintage mannequin in my studio with the full iron skirt. I’ve named her Towanda from one of my favorite movies “Fried Green Tomatoes”. At first I wanted to keep Carlo for my new boyfriend, but my husband said he really is a better fit for Towanda. The two are eyeing each other in the corner right now. I expect a little flirting to begin sooner rather than later. They really do make a dashing couple.

Vintage mannequins were a theme throughout this month’s show. Stacey and I went hunting for a momma to accompany her purchase. She really liked this lovely lady with the cream bodice and nailhead trim. I, of course, was more drawn to the more raw look of the vintage dress form with the cockeyed construction and one extra wide hip, that looks like it’s permanently out of place from carrying many babies throughout the years. Plus, it looks like a great surface to stamp and collage on.

We couldn’t help but agreeing on these lovely chairs hanging from the ceiling and this unstuffed chaise. I wish I had a place in my studio to just leave them as is; an assemblage in their weathered glory.

Other vintage goodies includes these lovely rusty green cast iron thingamabobs. I have a home decor idea for them that I will share as soon as I get it finished. I also bought a metal wire cloche, some large chandelier crystals and a few metal odds and ends.

All in all, it was another wonderful day seeing my Sweet Salvage friends and shopping with Donna and Stacey (and Donna’s lovely sister too!)

CREATE blog hop

I was tres busy yesterday pouring a bunch of new resin-filled bezels for the upcoming CREATE mixed-media art retreat in Irvine, California in a few short weeks. These little collages in ultra clear ICE Resin will soon be turned into earrings and necklaces and a few bracelets to show as samples at my Resin, Set, Go workshop and also on sale for vendor night. (Please excuse the bad photos. I took them right after I poured them on the white garbage bags. They look so much more lovely when the resin is cured and glass like).

resin filled art bezel by Jen Cushman

While my resin class is just about full, there are still some spots left in my other classes. Whimsical Rings, where students will learn how to make their own adjustable ring bands from copper sheet metal and also cold-connection techniques of stacking up these colorful lampwork beads. I’m also really thrilled to be teaching my Mermaid Dreams necklace class for the first time. This workshop is chock full of techniques, from making your own molds from old hardware and replicating them in resin clay then adding all kinds of surface treatments and color. We’ll also be making our own textured clay beads and then wirewrapping it all together.

There are so many amazing instructors at this event that I wish I could attend CREATE with no other purpose than learning so many fabulous techniques. I am thrilled to say I did sneak in one day to myself on Saturday to take Alisa Burke’s Large Than Life Canvas class. I have a huge bare wall in my new studio and I think this workshop is going to fill the bill. I love her style and know her personally. What an incredibly talented lady.

Here’s a little something extra special. If you comment on this post, I’m doing a little giveaway. A signed copy of my book, Explore, Create, Resinate; Mixed Media Techniques Using ICE Resin along with a 1 oz ICE Resin syringe and 2 mixed metal bezels to play with. Since I’m so excited about this event, I will include one of my handmade charms as well.

This weekend is a great time to possibly learn more about some wonderful artists who are part of the CREATE California blog hop. Hopefully, you got here from Jenn Mason’s post about the event, but if you didn’t be sure to check it out first and then work your way down the list.

So go grab a cup of coffee or an iced tea and a snack and settle into your computer for the next hour. It’s going to be fun!

And Cloth Paper Scissors Editor Jenn Mason!

resin bezels filled with spices by Jen Cushman

Handling Fear as an Artist

Take the Leap and Fly graphic by Jen Cushman

This month’s column for CreateMixedMedia.com I’m talking about fear, well more about handling fear by gathering the courage to take a giant leap in your creative journey as an artist.

I share a story in the column about my recent experience of writing a book. Since I don’t want to give it away, you’re going to have to head on over to the website to read more. But I can tell you this, now that my manuscript and images are turned in, I’m breathing a HUGE sigh of relief. It really is a labor of love. So much introspection comes up during the process that there is no way to write a book and not be forever changed by the experience.

Thanks for stopping by today. I truly wish you an Artful day!

I’m in the Brandywine Review

It’s always strange when someone asks to interview me. I’ve been writing for a long time, and I’m a little surprised when the tables are turned and I’m the interviewee. There’s a level of control when you’re the one with the column because you get to formulate the topic idea, ask the questions and control where the story is leading.

I consider it a huge compliment, as well as a learning experience. Seriously, everyone who writes or reports for a living should have to be in the “hot seat” at least once. My talk last week with Cindy, aka Caco Smith, a wonderful glass artist and creator of Caco’s Crafty Business column in the Brandywine Review was truly lovely. She is one smart cookie. Her questions were on target, and I definitely feel she is doing her level best to help her readers navigate the often-foreign world of marketing. I really enjoyed her first column for them.

So, without further ado, take a look at our conversation about marketing, publishing, mixed-media art and more.

crafty business column

Join me at Seaside Soiree

I’m so thrilled Elena from Charity Wings invited me to join her and her amazing group of volunteers for the Seaside Soiree again this year. It was such a lovely, three-day mixed-media art escape weekend. Sheila, Elena’s business partner, is an incredible cook and she fed us the best gourmet breakfasts, lunches and dinners plus a grand luau. In addition to teaching last year, I also got some down time to take workshops from my sweet friends Cheryl Waters and Liz Hicks. These ladies are wonderful artists and instructors.

While I really enjoy teaching at all the various retreats and events, I do have to say this one holds a special place in my heart. Elena and the ladies plan everything down to the very last detail to ensure everyone is pampered and made to feel special. I can hear the call of the Southern California coast now, while thinking about the good times of friendship and art. If you want to take a sneak peek into the event, watch this little video I put together this morning.

A Family Scrapbook Canvas

canvas scrapbook

The Spring weather is gorgeous. So pretty in fact that it’s that time of year again when people are holding yard sales on the weekends to prune their stuff and make some extra cash. I hit a great tag sale this weekend at a local church, which must have some very crafty members because the crafting supplies section was awesome. I picked up an older Quick Cuts Canvas scrapbooking kit for $5, a bargain considering the $40 price tag from the store was still on it.

Since I’ve not scrapbooked in a while, I thought it would be a quick and personalized Mother’s Day gift for my mother-in-law. I feel blessed that she drives 90 minutes each way every single week to watch my daughter on Thursdays and Fridays while I work. Course, she has a beautiful mountain home, so it’s a comfortable arrangement. Still, I’m so appreciative of her efforts and want to show her my gratitude.

Cute little scalloped edge

The first thing I did when I opened the kit was toss the directions. I didn’t even want to influence my brain with someone else’s designs. I did really like the pre-cut circles — saved me a lot of work! I also liked the die cut hearts, birdie, scallop and “family” vellum sentiment as well. I made a decision to not over think the kit and keep my additions to a minimum. I pulled out some creamy vanilla paint, a little cobalt blue and worked with the brown chalk pad that came with the kit. My glue stick, some foam pop dots, my brayer and a little frayed blue ribbon was all I added to my work table. In the end, I just had to pull a blue rhinestone crystal for the bird’s eye, but seriously, that was it.

I went for a shabby chic look with a dry paint technique applied the die cuts. I also sanded the edges of the photos so they would match the distressed look. One of the techniques I used to give the canvas a more three-dimensional look was to glue my elements so they hang over the edge of the canvas. I like out-of-the-box thinking, literally. It’s one of my favorite teaching tips when working on home decor items.

Shabby hearts die cuts

Another technique used on the canvas was to light a candle and burn the edges of my vellum sentiment. Sure I could have used my brown ink stamp for a faux-burned technique, but then it wouldn’t have the same authentic crinkly paper look to it. When working with fire, always be safe. Work in a well ventilated area and be sure to blow out the edges quickly in order to control the fire rather than it controlling you. Also just another technique note. People often worry about how to adhere vellum and buy special tapes etc. for it. I work vellum just like I do the other paper elements on my page. A nice big UHU glue stick and a brayer. Used in combination, they can adhere all paper surfaces forever. See how the patterned paper shows through the vellum neatly?

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with my $5 kit and an hour of my creative time to make a gift that I’m sure my mother-in-law will love.

Here’s wishing all of you a very Artful Day!