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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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My Talisman Word for 2014

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New Year’s resolutions are just too hard to keep. Like most people, my good intentions the first week of January quickly go out the window long before Valentine’s Day. So when I saw a group of scrapbooker start word of the year projects a while back I, too, decided to skip the whole resolution idea and instead focus on a power word for myself for the year. Being a wordsmith, I responded well to this idea and have incorporated it into my life for past five years now.

Picking my power word is a process of reflection that usually happens the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I tend to go over the big events of the past year in my mind’s eye. I think about all the things I’m truly grateful for and send this love and gratitude into the Universe. I also think about what I’d like to accomplish in the next year and write down a list of goals in one of my art journals. Then I pick a word that helps me set my intention for the year. A word that sums up what I hope to accomplish on an individual level and also in my career. For 2013 my word was “Focus.” As you know, there’s a lot going on right now with ICE Resin. My word was appropriate because last year was another huge building block year for our company.

Jen Cushman Talisman necklace

I thought really long and hard about my word for 2014. I thought about the things I love in my life, the challenges I’d like to address and what I want to draw more to me. I’ve been working so much that I really miss spending time with friends and family. My girlfriends have been patient the past couple of years as I’ve been running too hard and fast to get together. I want to make more time for personal connections and real intimacy with the people. On a business level, I’d like to start working a bit more with other likeminded companies and other artists. Being asked to participate in Seth Apter’s book last year was really enjoyable because it made me feel part of a community rather than always working along in my studio/home office. What I want to draw to me in 2014 is to once again feel this strong sense of community the mixed-media art world offers. My word for 2014 is “Collaborate“.

To that end, I made a necklace using ICE Resin, Iced Enamels, our fab Art Mechanique Hobnail Oval. Since hearts are still a huge symbol in my life, I hand-formed a Paperclay heart and painted it with acrylic paints. That gorgeous texture you see was made by adding delicious Relique German Silver on the surface and then a coat of ICE Resin for permanent color.

I hope you read more about our Talisman project over on the ICE Queen blog. There you will learn about the project, who is participating and how you can get involved if you wish. I’m truly hoping this will resonate with you as an artist and that you take the time to make your own power necklace this year. After all, it would be an awesome thing for us to collaborate on!

Here's a selfie of me wearing my new power necklace. Yep, lovin' the red. When it comes to your chakras in the body, red is your base chakra and it represents you family and tribe.

Here’s a selfie of me wearing my new power necklace. Yep, lovin’ the red. When it comes to the body’s  chakras, red is the base chakra and it represents your family and tribe. A great power color and also goes well with my 2014 Talisman word of “Collaborate”.

Teaching in Tucson

Gearing up for Tucson starting this weekend and my upcoming classes. Here’s a quick round up of what I’m teaching starting Friday Feb. 7th and running through Monday Feb 10th. If you are planning on attending the To Bead True Blue Show, or any of the more than 20 gem and mineral and jewelry shows that take over the city this time every year, please be sure to stop by our booth to take a look at our art samples and new ICE Resin/Art Mechanique and Rue Romantique products just released for 2014!

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We’ll be exploring the wondering of Cold Enameling in Tucson making a wrist full of Iced Enamel charms in my colorful boho bangle. Students will learn forging heavy gauge wire, shaping metal, annealing, patina, wirewrapping, cold enameling and filling bezels with ICE Resin. This is a fun piece of jewelry to wear. It always gets attention when I wear my colorful bangles. Not just a project-based class, the techniques can be translated to all types of metalwork.

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Breaking Out of the Bezel is a fun workshop I developed right after I did some piece for my Designer Showcase Spring 2013 for Belle Armoire Jewelry. I love love love casting in resin and I want to show how ICE can be used as a structural elements for layers. I decided a while ago that I wanted my bezels to have form with cast components looking like they are springing free or bursting forth from the confinement of their bezels. I added some quirkiness and humor to the pieces just to make them fun, but these techniques can go from romantic to moody depending on the objects/colors and compositions chosen.

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Speaking of sculptural forms, the combination of wire and resin paper is magical. You can make the most stunning, three-dimensional mixed media pieces using these techniques. Students will walk away with multiple pairs of earrings.

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This class Layers and Depth is another one of my faves. It’s advanced resin techniques showing how to build up color and imagery to create focals and pendants that are all original works of art. I’ll also be showing how to mix chain and fibers and how to create connections, components and clasps to pull it all together.

There’s still time to sign up for my workshops, as well as Susan’s and Linda’s and Kristen’s at To Bead True Blue. Hop on over to ICE Resin to take a peek and learn more.

Hot 20 inspiration necklace

 

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If you’ve been following our ICE Queen eZine or any of our social media channels for Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin, you know by now that Iced Enamels was named one of the Hot 20 products of the CHA Winter 2014 show. We were so excited when we receive the email in December announcing the win, and then all the details of how we had to keep the secret until right up to the Friday evening event when the news was announced before members of the press, craft bloggers, designers and buyers. A representative from each manufacturer was given the opportunity to give a 60 second elevator speech letting folks know why the products are awesome. Here I am explaining that Iced Enamels rock because they allow for the look of torch-fired and kiln-fired glass enamels without the use of a 1400+ degree heat.

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As part of the Hot 20, we were upgraded to a large space pedestal on the show floor in the Innovations Showcase, which was pretty awesome in itself. On display was a statement necklace piece I made using a cold enameling ombre technique to get this graduated color in our Relique enameling colors starting with Relique Ivory at the top and then working down to the debut of our new Garnet color on the bottom. The brass shapes are our Geometric Shapes from our Art Mechanique Silhouettes. To add extra bling, I did some ombre bead work with crystals on 18 gauge wire that I did the technique of drawing a bead on the ends of the wire and then hammered flat.

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All of the Hot 20 displays in the CHA Innovations Showcase are heading to Germany. They will be on display at the Paperworld trade show in Frankfurt this coming weekend. I can’t wait to see how the Europeans respond.  Here are some pics of the display on the CHA show floor and also the full piece that I took photos of in my studio before I left for Anaheim. Just as an aside, I made a sketch of this necklace in November, and kept dreaming about it until I finally found the time to get it made. It came out exactly like I saw it in my head. As an artist, it’s always so cool when that happens!  I hope you find a little bit of inspiration in the piece.

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Hot 20 Iced Enamels 

Heading to CHA

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It’s that time of year where we head off to Anaheim to the Craft and Hobby Association trade show for Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin. This is such a huge show for us as an exhibitor and manufacturer of our products that preparations start a full six months before the show. By the time the show arrives, we’ve done everything we can behind the scenes to do our level best to make it a success. I’m always super excited — and a little nervous with butterflies in my stomach — today and these next few days of final prep and set up. However, when the show starts it’s always amazing because so much business and networking happens at lightening speed, it’s like living corporate dog years of 5 months crammed into 5 days.

For those of you who might be going here’s my schedule for the show.  The rest of the times I will be at our booth — #652 or in meetings. Please track me down.

Saturday Jan. 11th:

Noon: Booking signing for my book Making Metal Jewelry at the F&W Booth.

3:30 – 4:15 Stampendous and ICE Resin collaboration demo.

Sunday Jan 12th:

3-5 p.m. ICE Resin Fundamentals workshop where I’m teaching

Monday Jan 13th:

Noon -2 at the NABA booth

 

cha_logo_designersBe sure to follow our ICE Resin blog and also us on our social media. Jennifer Priest, our Social Media Manager, is at the show and she’s be Facebooking and Tweeting and Instagraming throughout the entire show. I’ll be Facebooking as well, so if you want to see pics and sneak peeks, be sure to “like” me on JenCushmanArtist on Facebook.

Here’s a sneak peek of one of the art samples I made for our booth using Iced Enamels and our geometric Talisman shapes that’s a new release at the show. In addition to my work, there will be loads of art on display from members of the ICE Resin Creative Team, past and new team, as well as from Susan Lenart Kazmer and Kristen Robinson and some guest designer friends like the Crafty Chica. If you really want to see all the brand new hot releases at the show, along with talking to some of your favorite designers, sign up for CHA Live with Charity Wings. Elena and her crew do an amazing job walking all over that show floor and giving a behind the scenes taste of the excitement that’s the mega show.

Here’s wishing all of you a wonderful, creative, ARTFUL and successful 2014! Happy New Year.

A few pics and thoughts to share

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I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family — lots of great home cooking, talking, laughing and reminiscing with my parents and godparents, whom I love so much. For those of you who have had to watch your parents age before your eyes, you know how hard it is to see them become frail with each passing year. I’ve been so busy lately raising my kids and working and moving fast that it was painful to see how slow both my godmother and father are moving these days. But the interesting thing about stopping to notice their fragility made me consider how frail we all can be at times.

The theme was reinforced by Saturday morning when both my son and I came down with a pretty bad cold. The job to care for us fell to my husband, who did everything he could to take care of our needs and keep my little one busy so I could sleep and sleep and sleep to let my body heal. By Sunday, I felt as frail and slow moving as my elders and I think it was the universe’s way of telling me to STOP and rest my body because the pace I’ve been keeping has been a tad off kilter.

Another synchronicity appeared during this time of illness. I received my complimentary contributor’s copy to Seth Apter’s new book The Mixed Media Artist. I’ve written a number of posts on this in the past few months as he’s been ramping up for it’s release. I knew the art pieces and information I had contributed, and I’ve followed the other artists he’s featured on his blog. After sleeping for almost 14 hours straight (no exaggerating), I woke about midnight and had to get up and move. In the utter stillness of my house with my family sleeping soundly, I sat on my sofa with only my reading lamp turned on and devoured every single word of Seth’s book right there. As I was absorbing it — literally wringing it out like a sponge — I had a moment where my body is present but my mind is detached and observing, almost like watching a film. I was so engaged in the complete quiet of my home in the literal dead of night by the artists profiled in his book that the experience was nothing short of profound.

Jen Cushman sketch of piece for The Mixed Media Artist

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I could even re-create this moment should I wish. Not often am I in such a quiet, slow moving state where I’m a non-normal version of myself. Had it been a normal day, I would have opened Seth’s book, turned to my page to look at my photo, glanced at my work, leafed though the pages to make metal note of the work and artists who intrigued me and then put it down until I could make an hour or two in my schedule that week to read.

Absolutely I would have laughed at some of the clever responses, felt a twang of this or that at other bits and pieces of insight and been inspired by some of the absolutely amazing art within its pages. Even in a normal day I would have Facebooked or Tweeted to give Seth props for a job well done. I probably would have emailed him to send a personal note of thanks and to congratulate him. But because I was taken so far out of my comfort zone and normal routine by the circumstance, I did none of that. Instead I sat down to share my experience here.

Here’s a fact. To be a working artist now in mixed media means there are some wonderful opportunities…amazing opportunities… to get your work in front of others. One does not need to solely rely on publishers and printed books and magazines for praise, criticism and feedback. Artists can reach out though Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, forums, Instagram and so many ways to create connections and get their work seen and talked about by others.

Amongst all of this is a lot of promoting and publicity. Yep, I do it too. Mostly because it’s truly an integral part of the job in today’s world as a contemporary artist (not as in genre but as in living in today’s era, contemporary times, meaning right now). But I also do it because telling stories is who I am. I love to tell people about articles I’ve read, art I’ve seen, cool people I’ve met, opportunities I’ve jumped on and some personal details here and there as much as its possible to share without being nauseating or narcissistic.

I can tell by the book Seth just wrote (as well as his first one, The Pulse of Mixed Media) that he’s a kindred spirit in life’s unfolding. This book is not about promotion. It’s 40+ people who took the opportunity to be real and honest and raw. I see it as a moment in time telling myself and others that sometimes we need to just slow down and draw inspiration in the stillness.

This is the studio shot of me that was published in the book. I had just moved a few weeks before the deadline and my walls were bare. My friend Samie Kira Harding took the next pic of me a few months later and had it been possible, this would have been the profile pic I would have submitted. It's not a big deal, but I thought you might like to see how deadlines come and go and how things come to be.

This is the studio shot of me that was published in the book. I had just moved a few weeks before the deadline and my walls were bare. My sister took this photo for me. Honestly, I wanted desperately to clean up my studio for the shot. I simply ran out of time. The frame in the background is an old homemade silk screen that I picked up for $1 at a garage sale. I love the raw frame and faded colors on the silk. It inspires me.

My friend Samie Kira Harding took the next pic of me a few months later and had it been possible, this would have been the profile pic I would have submitted. It's not a big deal, but I thought you might like to see how deadlines come and go and how things come to be. The painting on the wall behind me is one of mine. Actually the pussy willows in the painting was my inspiration for the imagery for the piece I made as one of my two submission's for Seth's book.

My friend Samie Kira Harding took the next pic of me a few months later and had it been possible, this would have been the profile pic I would have submitted. It’s not a big deal, but I thought you might like to see how deadlines come and go and how things come to be. The painting on the wall behind me is one of mine. Actually the pussy willows in the painting was my inspiration for the imagery for the piece I made (Be Brave as shown at top) as one of my two submission’s for Seth’s book.

A Rue Christmas

I hope you’ve been enjoying the Rue Romantique Holiday Blog Hop and the beautiful things showcased yesterday by Kristen Robinson, Jen Crossley, Cindy Cima Edwards and Cindy Bisson. If you missed it, be sure to catch up (links at bottom of this post).  Today’s hop is brought to you today courtesy of Lexi Grenzer, Pamela Hungtinton, Susan Walls and yours truly.

I adore Kristen Robinson’ romantic look when it comes to her jewelry and mixed-media. I’m always captivated by the Victorian-inspired bezels in Kristen’s gorgeous Rue Romantique line with ICE Resin. One would think this line would be artistically challenging for me, as I tend to fall more on the “Bohemian artsy” aesthetic with my work rather than the beautifully polished, but the undulating lines and feminine shapes in Rue always speak to the part of me that loves to dress up for date night with my hubby and wander the aisles of Sephora looking at makeup palettes and pretty packaging.

When it came time to do our ICE Resin Rue Romantique Ornament blog hop, I knew I wanted a part of it. Mostly because Kristen is one of my dearest friends and I’m hugely supportive of her work and career, but also because I wanted to see if I could put my own twist on Victorian Christmas. I wanted to create a substantial piece, incorporate some of my ICE Resin casting work and use Iced Enamels. Naturally, The Relique Ivory and Glitz powders are wonderful with Rue.

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The resin casting is from an ornamental hardware piece that I picked up at a Paris flea market last year. I have made at least two dozen of these castings for various projects and have brought the object to my workshops. It’s a favorite of my students as well. The finely detailed metalwork in the hardware creates such gorgeous undercuts that it’s one of those ” wow” factor objects for resin casting. I melted Iced Enamels on the casting and then added some Gilder’s Paste in German Silver for the final vintage-looking patina.

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I used Relique Ivory on the center focal of the bezel and then stamped on it using Kristen’s Love Lines stamp set that she created with Stampington & Co. I sealed that in ICE Resin. To tie the silver of the bezel into the vintage patina of the casting, I also rubbed a little German Silver Gilder’s Paste onto it.

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To attach the two pieces together, I threaded Kristen’s beautiful red velvet and red organza ribbon through the center holes and tied at the top. A wire wrap in 22 gauge blackened steel wire from Art Mechanique reinforces the tie for strength and works as a design element. To create a hanger, I added a wirewrapped loop to the top of the casting.

While the piece was pretty, I felt like it was too pretty and needed something more. I searched through my stash for this large crystal drop from Connie Crystal and did a chunky, organic wirewrap to gives this part of the piece my touch of a messy, bird’s nest type of feel. If you’ve taken any classes from me or read my books or articles, you’ll know that one of the ways you can always identify my work is that there’s always a touch of chaos or wildness in my pieces.

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The piece ended up being a rather large ornament. I can see it on a big tree that’s taking center stage in the ballroom of an old Southern mansion. If you don’t happen to live in a 17- bedroom house, I think it would be lovely to use as a holiday home décor piece.

Here’s some more exciting news, Kristen and ICE Resin have teamed up with Interweave to create an exclusive Handmade Ornament Kit, which included Kristen’s DVD Romantic Bezels, her brand new book Making Etched Metal Jewelry, along with Rue Romantique bezels, Iced Enamels in Relique German Silver and more. Here’s more information to check it out.

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I hope you found this inspirational. Be sure to check out all the amazing artists from the ICE Resin 2013 Creative Team on our ICE Queen eZine company blog to see what beautiful things they’ve made this holiday season with Rue.  Also, be sure to come back to the company blog tomorrow as Lesley Venable, JoMama Jones, Sandy Martin and Susan Weckesser are rounding out the 3-days hop with some gorgeous designs.

Here’s links to the hop:

You can look forward to these ornaments:
Saturday, Nov. 9
Sunday, Nov. 10

Handmade Holidays Blog Hop – My Turn!

Christmas Tree with Handmade Holiday Charms Jen Cushman

As promised, today is my turn for the Handmade Holidays Blog Hop. There are LOTS of amazing artists participating today, so you’re in for a treat — a grand finale of crafty goodness! My project today is a petite Christmas tree trimmed in 19 handmade ornament charms and a sweet little tree topper that I cast in ICE Resin.

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Before I had my daughter 4 years ago, I was a traditionalist when it came to my holiday home decor. Red and Green all the way. Having a daughter has changed me in so many ways, but the one thing I notice in my work now is that I’m attracted to pink. I thought it would be really fun to deck out a small table top tree that I bought from Michaels using a 50% off coupon with a non-traditional girlie holiday of Pink and Green and Ivory color scheme. Of course, I had to incorporate lots of rhinestone chain and also some fun crystals using Norma Rapko’s brand new fab tool the Crystyler. I now enjoy hand-setting crystals because of Norma’s tool. Before that… Meh, it was wayyyyyy too much work to incorporate pave-type settings into my jewelry.

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I used the Silhouettes from the Art Mechanique line along with Iced Enamels and ICE Resin. Of course, I had to collage some of our Susan Lenart Kazmer signature Hobnail bezels from Art Mechanique. I incorporated wire work into the charms by creating the ornament hangers, as well as adding some crystal beads and crystal rondelles. For those of you who know me, you know I love love love making molds of found objects and doing ICE Resin castings for my mixed-media and jewelry work. The techniques for this can be found in Breaking out of the Mold, my DVD from Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine that released in March. I knew my little tree needed a handmade topper, and since my daughter inspired the project, I simply had to cast a Snow Baby. The glittery snow that’s peeking out from the piece is our new Art Mechanique Fire Opal inclusions. It catches the light so beautifully when embedded in ICE.

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To make these charms, you will need:

To make things easy, I made a little video tutorial showing how to use Iced Enamels and our brass number charms.

For the larger ornament shown below, I layered these numbers on top of our circle and diamond charm after cold enameling all the components and using ICE Resin as a “glue” (just laying the numbers on the charms while the resin was wet). I added a dot of sparkle with the Crystyler. Once the charms were dry, I then cold connected them to a metal filigree piece I had in my studio with wirewrapped loops. The metal hanger was made from 20 gauge bronze wire attached with wrapped loops on each side and then formed into a three-quarters circle with my fingers. If you’re wondering why I used the number 24, rather than 25 it’s because when I was a child, my dad worked Christmas day so Christmas Eve was always what I looked most forward to.

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If you are not someone who makes jewelry, you can still do this project by attaching jump rings to the enameled charms and then attaching to pre-purchased ornament hooks. These charms can be used in a multitude of ways for the holidays. You can make wine charms, advent calendars, gift tags or even necklaces for your girlfriends and family members. I hope you give Iced Enamels and ICE Resin a try if you haven’t used it before. The art possibilities are endless and the products are, honestly, addicting!

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Ok, now for the giveaway on my blog. Be sure to leave a comment and one lucky handmade holiday elf will win a copy of my mold making and casting DVD, an ICE Resin plunger and a Hobnail bezel to get him or her started.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Handmade Holidays Blog Hop 2013 Logo

Be sure to hop on over too all these amazing blogs today. I can’t wait to see what some of my über talented friends are up to!

November 3: