Behind the Scenes of Jewel School

Jen Cushman Jewel School Guest

I had a great time in Knoxville, Tennessee this past weekend. I was slated to be on Jewel School live Monday morning in the Jewelry TV studio, but there was training that I had to undergo Sunday afternoon. I flew in Saturday evening in order to give myself plenty of time to make the 1 p.m. walk through and meeting with the show’s host Kim Prentiss and the production team.

I was thankful for the walk through so I was prepared Monday morning for how the segment was going to go. It’s amazing 20 minutes of TV time goes so quick. It’s conversation on Red Bull! I’ve been working with Julie, the buyer, for the past year to get some ICE Resin kits — Bronze and Silver —   on to Jewel School. Susan invented the coolest technique for making Faux Druzy stones in her book Resin Alchemy and it’s really been a joy to teach that at events across the country. It’s such a simple, but incredibly effective technique using our German glass glitter to achieve a high-end jewelry look – perfect for sophisticated Jewel School customers!

In addition to the Faux Druzy technique, I demonstrated how to get an amazing Faux Opal look from our Shattered Opal inclusions. This holographic frit catches the light under ICE Resin like you wouldn’t believe. The black looks exactly like black fire opal and the white mimics opals exactly. All you have to do is sprinkle a little into one of our Art Mechanique bezels, drip some mixed ICE Resin on top and let it dry. Viola, gorgeous gemstones 10 hours later. If you would like to see the sample jewelry I made for the show, click to my last blog post.

Here are some behind-the-scenes shot of my morning on Jewel School.

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Here’s wishing all of you a truly Artful rest of your week.

JenSig

I’ll be on Jewel School this Monday

A little announcement: I’ll be appearing on Jewel School this coming Monday, August 25 from 10 a.m. to noon EST. We’ve put together two great kits for ICE Resin showing how to make fabulous jewelry using some simple faux gemstone techniques. I think some people are going to be knocked out by the kind of high end jewelry looks you can get from the our signature Susan Lenart Kazmer hobnail bezels, our Art Mechanique glass glitters, Shattered Opals and Fire Opals and ICE Resin, of course.

New Necklace Fire Opals Jen Cushman

I made fourteen pieces of inspiration jewelry for Monday’s appearance on Jewel School, but this little beauty is my new one to wear on air. It’s the end of the day Thursday and I feel so good because there’s nothing left to do for this gig but pack an overnight bag with some pretty clothes, my new art samples, my Wubbers pliers and get on a plane to Knoxville, Tenn. I’ll be in the studio Sunday afternoon undergoing some mandatory training and then up and at ‘em Monday morning for hair and makeup. (So jazzed to have a makeup artist and not having to do it myself this time. My appearances on Sonoran Living  or other local television gigs require me to get it right rather than having a pro on hand.) By the way, you can see a little video on this faux druzy technique here.

Head on over to the ICE Queen Zine Sunday for more details on Jewel School. Carol, our fab Content Coordinator, is writing a post. For now, here are a few more sneak peek photos of the “inspiration jewelry” samples.

Faux Druzy bracelet Jen Cushman

Green Faux Druzy necklace Jen Cushman

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Hope all of you are having a very Artful week!

JenSig

Bead and Button Show Wrap Up

Well I made it to Milwaukee and back for the annual Bead and Button Show. This jewelry show is really a crème de la crème where hundreds of the world’s top instructors in metalworking, silversmithing, beading, fine silver, chain maille, stitching, foldforming, etc.  come together. It’s an amazing show that goes for 10 full days from beginning to end. People come from all over the world to take classes and shop the event.

In addition to teaching, Susan and myself had some really great meetings for ICE Resin. We also went to dinner with some of our wonderful amazing artist friends such as Mary Hetts, Anne E Mitchell and Richard Salley, and ran into dozens of other friends at the convention center for 10 to 15 minute catch up on our lives sessions. These little impromptu gatherings are some of my favorite parts of the shows always.

The event is so busy that it’s hard for me to snap as many pictures or do quite as much social media on the spot as I would like too. However, I did want to show you a smattering of fun photos from the week.

Here's our ICE Resin booth looking all pretty and ready to go right before the Thursday night opening night of shopping. Misty Grosse, our Booth Manager and Cindy Moss, Director of Sales and John Petersen from the 2015 Creative Team did an AMAZING job with set up. Susan and I were teaching classes and at the Meet the Teachers event so the booth was their baby from beginning to end. All I provided was a little creative direction.

Here’s our ICE Resin booth looking all pretty and ready to go right before the Thursday night opening night of shopping. Misty Grosse, our Booth Manager and Cindy Moss, Director of Sales and John Petersen from the 2014 Creative Team did an AMAZING job with set up. Susan and I were teaching classes and at the Meet the Teachers event so the booth was their baby from beginning to end. All I provided was a little creative direction.

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A close up of the booth with our sign and more goodies on the tables for purchase.

A close up of the booth with our sign and more goodies on the tables for purchase.

Here's a selfie taken at Meet the Teachers right as the door opened. I love getting to talk to people about my work. I forgot to take a pic of my table with all my necklace, earrings and cuffs laid out. It was an abundant amount of work for me.

Here’s a selfie taken at Meet the Teachers right as the door opened. I love getting to talk to people about my work. I forgot to take a pic of my table with all my necklace, earrings and cuffs laid out. It was an abundant amount of work for me. The lighting is always so bad in the hotel rooms!

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Luckily my dear friend Suze Weinberg took a pic of my earrings on their sweet little cards made by moi and posted it over on her blog. If you really want to see this year’s Bead and Button Show head on over to Suze’s blog for three full days of Bead and Button. Impressive Suze!!!! http://www.suzeweinberg.typepad.com/

 

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Me and Susan Lenart Kazmer hamming it up in front of Anne Mitchell’s booth at Meet the Teachers. It was the end of the night and Anne needed to excuse herself and asked us to briefly watch her stuff. Of course Susan and I decided to be silly so we took this selfie and then posted on Facebook that there was a 15 minute only clearance sale of Anne’s work. Thank goodness no one actually stormed the booth looking for it or we’d have been in trouble. It’s A LOT funnier than it sounds at 10:45 at night with only 15 minutes left to go of the event and after being up since 6 a.m.

 

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Our team — Cindy and John — ran hour long demos with a Make ‘N Take in the area right outside the show floor. There were only 26 seats available for the MNT and the ladies lined up 20 minutes before the event to get a seat. We were full. It is so gratifying to see the overwhelming response to our Iced Enamels program.

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Speaking of John Petersen here we are in the booth. This man is sooooo darn funny that he can make me laugh and laugh and laugh like a girlie teenager again.

My Saturday class that I love to teach called Layers and Depth. My students here are learning how to use Iced Enamels in our gorgeous Art Mechanique hobnail bezels. They had the best time playing with color!

My Saturday class that I love to teach called Layers and Depth. My students here are learning how to use Iced Enamels in our gorgeous Art Mechanique hobnail bezels. They had the best time playing with color!

Speaking of luscious color, this is one of the large hobnail hearts that my student did when she applied the base layer of color with Iced Enamels. This is our Raspberry Pink with our brand new Carnelian orange. It feels so 1960 retro -- bright and happy. I adore it! I wish you could have seen the imagery she went on to layer on top of this but I forgot to get a pic of the final piece. Oops!

Speaking of luscious color, this is one of the large hobnail hearts that my student did when she applied the base layer of color with Iced Enamels. This is our Raspberry Pink with our brand new Carnelian orange. It feels so 1960 retro — bright and happy. I adore it! I wish you could have seen the imagery she went on to layer on top of this but I forgot to get a pic of the final piece. Oops!

 

Stamps and ink and ICE, oh my!

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Little known fact about me: I was a rubber stamper long before I was officially a mixed-media artist. My journey in the crafts industry began in 1999 when my son was born and I was a stay at home mom for six months. I joined a local MOMS Club and met a mum who was a Creative Memories consultant on the side. That’s how I got hooked on scrapbooking.

However, after a couple of crops, I grew tired of the rules and began to bust out artistically on my cardstock. That meant using non acid-free materials, ripping paper, using rubber cement for glue, sanding my photographs, adding stamped images and watercolor paint. Ahhhh….the freedom! Little did I know it was my birth as a mixed-media artist. I thought I was being my usual crafty self while getting out of the house for a couple of hours with my new girlfriends. Despite the fact I received fewer and fewer invitations to crops as my inky, paint-y, chunky layering style emerged, I managed to catch the eye of the owner of a local scrapbooking store. She asked me to teach a class. Soon I was a paper arts instructor.

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{NOTE: Keep reading to the end for a giveaway!}

I started working with resin in 2006 after taking a workshop with Susan. I also signed up for a semester of silversmithing at my local community college. Thus my love affair with metal and resin began, and has pretty much dominated my creative life ever since. However, the techniques I use for mixed media — stamping, painting, doodling, layering, inking, etc. — all come into play in just about everything I create.

I truly {heart} how beautifully Stampendous stamps — especially the new charm size for jewelry– and Tsukineko StazOn ink and ICE Resin come together like a perfect storm of crafting perfection! Hopefully you’ll get dozens of new ideas and inspiration on this blog hop from all the amazing artists taking part.

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Unfortunately with my schedule I wasn’t able to do a tutorial for the hop. However, I did make a necklace using the ICE Resin/Stampendous/Tsukineko trio. I can tell you the inspiration came from the fab Steampunk stamps. The story in this piece is the feeling of  being whisked away to Paris in a dirigible by a dashing raconteur. This man is definitely NOT the guy a lady settles down with, but he is for sure Mr. Romance.

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This necklace features one of our large Art Mechanique hobnail circle bezels. This Stampendous set called Steampunk Charms is full of great images to use inside our bezels. And, of course, StazOn ink is a must because it’s a solvent based ink and won’t run when you pour ICE Resin on top of the stamped images.

I love Steampunk and have for a long time. The only thing that bothers me about the aesthetic is the limited color palette of browns, blacks, bronze and gold tones.  Color is tantamount in my work.  For this piece, it comes in our Art Mechanique glass glitters and amazing shattered opal inclusions.  Of course, I also used Iced Enamels. My work wouldn’t feel complete without it.

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As always with any hop, I like to do a giveaway as a thank you to all the new folks who are dropping by and learning about my work for the first time.  Leave me a comment about your favorite Stampendous, Tsukineko ink or ICE Resin product and why you like it and I’ll be giving away a copy of my book Explore, Create, Resinate and a bezel and ICE Resin plunger.

After you leave a comment, be sure to hop to the other blogs for more inspiration!

May 1 – Thursday:  Jennifer Dove *Rhea Weigand * Misty Grosse * Tatiana Allen *Linda Lucas *John Creighton Petersen

May 2 – Friday:  Jennifer Dove *  Kristine ReynoldsPolly Hendrickson * Jen Cushman {you are here}* Cathy Andronicou * Sharon Morrison

May 3 – Saturday:  Asia King Debbie Cole Jamie Dougherty  “Maureen Cronin  

May 4 – Sunday:  Kristine Reynolds Lea Kimmel * Candy Rosenberg * Carol La Valley * Naghma Husain * Baerbel Born 

Hopping down the trail necklace

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Happy Easter weekend everyone! Since Spring is in the air, I thought it would be fun to make a brightly colored hopping bunny necklace using pieces and parts I have lying around my studio along with Iced Enamels.

Like everyone who makes jewelry, I have odds and ends of things I’ve picked up at bead shows throughout the years. When I was rummaging around in my charms, my fingers found this sweet little rabbit. I had originally planned to drill though him so I could make a pendant dangle, but I just never got around to it. A quick hunt in my brass box yielded this red brass medallion.

I knew I wanted cover the brass with Raspberry and Ivory Iced Enamels and then add some fun “grass” of our new Art Mechanique German Glass Glitter colors (coming next month) under his paws. I Cold Enameled the medallion and let the metal cool. Then I mixed up some ICE Resin and took out my trusty disposable paintbrush and brushed on a thin sealer coat to seal the Iced Enamels. ICE also provided the perfect amount of “glue” to hold the glitter I sprinkled on the bottom. I painted a dab of resin to the back of the charm and placed the bunny right on to the medallion. Resin as an attachment creates a strong, long-lasting bond.

After the piece was dry I took one of my fab crystal drops from Connie Crystal and wired it up organic briolette style and attached to the bottom of the charm with a jump ring. Lovely pink and bronze ribbons added more color and completed the necklace.

My daughter has a brand new Easter dress to wear. Me? I’m trilled with my new festive Cold Enameled necklace.

Just a little side note: Iced Enamels are amazing! They work on every type of substrate. How many tired old charms do you have in your studio? Think about giving them a Spring makeover with some quick Cold Enameling.

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An Artist’s Heart

 

Coral heart rock my son found and gave to me

I’ve been exploring this idea in my studio the past few weeks; The Artist’s Heart is markedly different from the hearts of others. This is not a judgment call. I’m not saying in any way that artists’ hearts are better (or worse) than people who are say, doctors or lawyers or accountants. I’m simply saying, in a great big sweeping generalization, is that artists tend to hold their hearts as their emotional centers — looking at them as the genesis of their genius. There is no doubt by anyone who creates, or appreciates the arts, that art definitely comes from the heart. For me, the best work is not always the most technically perfect. I’m drawn to imagery and ideas that capture an emotion, an intangible feeling – or a tumbling of feelings – that takes me on a journey.

I have found that artists, again in general, are more sensitive than non-artists. More in touch with their emotions — more vulnerable. I  have come to believe it’s a genetically coded to see and feel the world differently than left brainers. I know that I grew up feeling different from the other kids. Silly things kids do, like stepping on an already wounded butterfly or making fun of someone who was nerdy or chubby or gay, would upset me so badly that I would come home from school and cry. I never just sat and cried. I worked out these emotions with my paints and crayons; I cried quietly as I drew. Even my childhood drawings were different because at a young age I put my heart into hands.

I know I’ve professed this about a zillion times, but  the heart shape is a personal Talisman. I see them everywhere; clouds, a leaf, rocks, cracks in the sidewalk, pieces of shell. I’ve been looking for a new shape, experimenting with hexagons and shields. I’m excited by the triangle, but it just doesn’t have anywhere near the comfort vibe for me that my faithful hearts give. While it still has the pointy bottom, there is something about the softly rounded humps on a heart that continue to inspire.

Original coral heart (top) along with an already cast piece in ICE Resin that's just waiting for surface application of color (left) and a finished pendant ready to be made into a necklace (right).

Original coral heart (top) along with an already cast piece in ICE Resin that’s just waiting for surface application of color (left) and a finished pendant ready to be made into a necklace (right).

I had a particularly rough week recently. Personal issues surrounding my aging parents and trying my best to take care of their needs despite a huge weight on my heart that feels and knows my options have narrowed. To counter balance the sadness, I went into my studio and found my small collection of heart rocks and crystals. My husband and children collect heart-shaped rocks and give them to me as love tokens. I save these as Talismans.

During Spring Break this year we took a Disney cruise. An offshore adventure at a beach in the Grand Caymens yielded the most amazing natural treasures. Gorgeous white coral and shells. My son found a piece of white coral in the shape of an asymmetrical heart with a natural vertical fissure in it. I tucked it into my bag, counting the moments I could get into my studio so I could mold and cast it. When we returned home, before I even unpacked our suitcases, I went immediately into my studio with my new treasure. I have no problem these days of waiting for my resin to dry, but not this time. I dreamt of the piece when I went to bed that night and woke up with no other thoughts on my mind but finishing it. I knew I needed copper to accentuate the red of the piece and a few rivets for more texture.

My original inspiration and the finished necklace.

My original inspiration and the finished necklace.

This little heart rock my son found and gave to me on our trip is now my literal touchstone. On days when I know I need a little extra positive energy, I either wear my necklace Talisman or slip the coral heart into my pocket. My plan is to cast at least 2 dozen of these rocks and turn them into necklaces this year. I know it’s not a perfect, smooth heart by any means, but I think my rock as a Talisman will intrigue others. For now, I cannot think of a better representation of my Artist Heart.

I’m gonna put on my, my, my boogie shoes

Remember last summer when ICE Resin and Susan Lenart Kamer participated in a celebrity gifting suite the Saturday before the 2013 Primetime Emmys? No worries if you don’t remember. I told you all about how the question of what to wear to the event came up almost immediately. My answer was to alter a pair of Steve Madden wedge shoes using Iced Enamels and ICE Resin — of course! — so I could be fashion forward and still comfortable at the same time. I think I showed a sneak peek of the shoes and then never got around to a full reveal. My bad!

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A little brag here, but my shoes really did turn out fab! All of the art techniques I had in my head translated beautifully to the heels. Iced Enamels worked like a dream as did my cute little heart bezel embellishments at the peekaboo toe cutout. I wore these shoes for the full 8 hours of the event. I even loved them so much that I wore them to a friend’s wedding a couple of weekends later. My Cold Enameled shoes have not chipped, or cracked or needed any repair at all. I think that’s pretty amazing.

Thrilled with the outcome, I sent an email to my favorite editor at Stampington & Co. Cynthia Levens in not only the editor of Belle Armoire Jewelry, but she also handles Belle Armoire and Altered Couture magazines (whew!) pitching an article on my Cold Enameled shoes. She liked the idea, so I sent them off to Southern California. They made it through art selection and I was asked to do a write up on them. Most magazines are working six to eight months ahead. That means the issue of Altered Couture with my shoes is just now available for pre-order. I received the Creative Impulse newsletter this morning and, viola! a picture of the spread is part of the issue’s sneak peek:

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Take a look at the entire sneak peak of the upcoming Summer 2014 issue. That altered denim skirt is so stinking cute. I want to make one…if only I could sew.

Since I never did do a full reveal of my shoes on my blog, here are some pics of them that I took. The magazine article teaches you exactly how to achieve the same look. And remember, you can Cold Enamel canvas sneakers just as easily as you can do high heels! Come on and join me. Let’s make some fun and festive boogie shoes!

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