October Cloth Paper Scissors on Newsstands now

2664_Cover_web2_jpg-350x0The newest issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine is available now at your local bookstore and online. My Mixed Media Metalsmith column this time focuses on a project that is decidedly not Fall like, but it is a fun one. I made a Cold Enameled copper bookmark using Iced Enamels, ICE Resin and some stamps and words from an old book. This is a project that is simple to do, fun to make and would make great gifts. Who doesn’t love a book with a brand new bookmark for birthday or holiday prezzies?

I sincerely love writing this column for CPS. I’m also happy to say that new editor Jeannine Stein asked me if I wanted to stay on board for 2015 with my column. You can bet I emailed her back with a very quick YES! And, as far as columns go, stay tuned for a future announcement from me. I’ll be writing a new business advice Q&A for Interweave in a new magazine very soon. I’ve turned in the column, but it’s now in the editing and graphics phase. I’ll post more on my blog when I can.

Here are pics of this issue’s column:

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Here’s wishing you a very Artful day!

JenSig

My latest Mixed Media Metalsmith column is out

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Looking for a quick and easy summer read? The July/August issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine is on newsstands and in subscribers’ mailboxes now. As many of you may know, I write a column each issue called The Mixed Media Metalsmith where I make a fun project each issue. My editor gave me very few rules — which I LOVE — but asked that metal be one of the mediums each time. It’s been exciting showing how metal can be incorporated into just about any kind of mixed media project imaginable.

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I particularly like this issue’s project. A little journal charm made from a scrap of 24 gauge copper, a page from an old book and some nuts and screws as a cold connection. The inspiration for this came from childhood memories of how I spent my summers. I was a big reader and spent every summer break participating in my local library’s kids summer reading program. Growing up in Phoenix means you have to stay cool. If my nose wasn’t in a book, I was making crafts, swimming at the local high school public pool or going to the dollar movies.

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Take a peek at the completed journal pendant. These make great girlfriend, teacher and thinking of you gifts! Then head on over to your favorite bookseller that carries magazines and pick up some new summer reading. It sure helps to pass the time on those hot days!

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10107-Create-teaching-CHIOn another note: Registration is going on now for my workshops at the CREATE Mixed Media Art Retreats. I’ll be teaching this August in Chicago, September in Dallas and October in Seattle. I have A LOT of new classes this year and I’m so excited to be teaching resin and metalsmithing and mixed media. Be sure to check out my classes at CreateMixedMediaArtRetreats.com. Click into the area of the country that most interests you and then click on Instructors. If you look for my name, you’ll see a list of classes I’m teaching. I sure hope to see you there.

Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day! — Jen

Art Journal Sneak Peek

Vintage Summer by Jen Cushman

I’ve been in my studio finishing up some projects and tying up loose ends at work before I head off to teach at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee. I’m teaching four classes from June 4th through the 8th. While online registration is now closed, you can still sign up on site if you’re going to the show and looking for a class or two to fill in between all that great bead and jewelry making supply shopping! Actually, I have a list this year of things I’m needing to buy for classes and I’m looking forward to seeing some of my favorite vendors again. The easiest way to see what I’m teaching is to follow the Meet the Teachers Link and click on my name. It will take you to the workshops with days and times.

I’m always thrilled to be at this show. Some of these faculty are people whose work I’ve admired immensely as I was learning and growing in my mixed-media jewelry making. I love seeing the new work these talented people bring to the show. It’s so inspiring be there amongst the best of the best!

In between packing and making some more class samples for my students to see, I was also working on a little project for Jenn Mason, Director of Content Marketing at F+W and editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine. She and mixed-media artist Julie Fei-Fan Balzer are hosting a new online weekly show called The Mixed-Media Workshop. While I’m not appearing on the show in person, I am giving a little instruction as part of my magazine column The Mixed-Media Metalsmith. Most of the art samples are already waiting for them in Loveland, Colorado where the filming studio is located. This journal (sneak peek top pic) and a few other cast resin pieces were out the door today. I’ll let you know when the segment airs, but if you see any PR for shiny things then you know you’ll be seeing some of my casting work.

I’m planning to take a bit of a break from blogging this summer. I’ll be checking in here and there, and definitely be on my social media, but the kids are home for summer break AND I’m going into my office for all of July to write my next book on Iced Enamels. For those of you who’ve done book publishing before, you know it’s a pretty time-consuming undertaking. While I’ve gotten pretty good at juggling work and family and teaching, book writing is something that requires my full focus. After the Bead and Button Show, I’m home until CREATE Chicago the middle of August — the perfect time to write, write, write, edit, take photos, edit photos and write some more. Thankfully, most of the art pieces have already been completed over this past year.

I hope you stay with me through the next few months. I promise, I’ll have lots of new information and new art content to share when I get to the other side.

Here’s wishing you a truly ARTFUL day!

 

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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Goodbyes are always hard

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Some of you may know that’s I’ve been writing a business advice column every issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry for the past three years. I still remember when the invite to write a column came into my email from Cynthia Levens. It was one of those moments where you read something and then pause a moment because the news can’t immediately sink in. I clearly remember reading the email, tilting my head to one side because I wasn’t really sure she was asking what I thought she was (offering me a regular column!) and then looking about my studio to see if there was a hidden camera somewhere. I know it sounds very silly now, but at the time I was sure it was a cruel hoax. How could it be that my most favorite publication in the entire world wanted me to become a columnist?! After jumping up and down in my studio like an idiot with a huge smile on my face, I calmly and professionally wrote this amazing editor back with this very simple reply: “Heck, YES!!!!” (I figured a little enthusiasm and passion wouldn’t hurt me too much).

From that point, I submitted a year’s worth of column ideas to her and also came up with a name for it. I didn’t want something like Business Success, even though that is the gist of what I write about. Instead, I asked Cynthia if I could explore this idea that I had in my head for a long time. I call it Art Chooses You. What it means is that I’ve done enough interviews over the past (mumble mumble) years of writing that I have the firm belief that artists are simply born artists. There is no choice. It’s just part of our DNA and as much a part of us as our eye color or if we are right-handed or lefties.  Cynthia took a leap with me and allowed me to do my thing. She always supported me and she made it so easy and enjoyable to work for her magazine. I have truly loved every moment of writing Art Chooses You.

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This January as I was driving home from CHA, I knew it was time for me to give up my column. As much as I love writing it, so many things have changed for me in the past 3 years. Namely, ICE Resin is growing very rapidly and running my part of the company (marketing/education/sales) is demanding my entire focus and attention. I actually missed my December deadline because I was so eyeball-deep in CHA and Tucson preparations. It was the one and only time Cynthia had to come down on me, and rightly so.

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I care too much about all the Stampington & Co. publications and the personal friends I have made with the editors, director of photography and the manager of the Shoppe at Somerset to let them any of them down. So it was with a heavy heart that I resigned from my column. As I was writing my last one, I began to feel a bit free because I knew I was making the right decision. It’s time for the readers of Belle Armoire Jewelry to have a fresh perspective on business success. It’s time for me to set a few more boundaries on my time. It’s the ebb and flow of life and business, and I’m here to tell you it’s so worth it to listen to the small inner voice deep inside you.

This voice is the whisper of our soul. The whispers of our heart. They will continue to whisper to us until we listen. When we don’t listen, they grow louder until they scream. My decision was at the low, low whisper stage. But I know myself well enough to know that it was time for a change, and that change is good.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with all my past columns. Friends have asked me to make them available on my blog. There’s enough good stuff there that I think I’d rather turn them into an ebook. I’m not sure. Stay tuned!

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.

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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.

Stencil Girl Book Contributor

Stencil Girl book Mary Beth Shaw

Yew haw, My friend Mary Beth Shaw’s brand new book is out. Stencil Girl; Mixed-Media Techniques for Making and Using Stencils has been released by North Light book. Last year, Mary Beth asked me if there was anything I could do with stencils to make some jewelry. Ummm….heck yes, that’s the awesome part of mixed-media jewelry. You can ALWAYS make jewelry using just about any technique there is. Mary Beth said, “Great! Can you do something for my book?” My email reply was one word: “Absolutely!”

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I think a lot of you know that my art background is self-taught and that it began with paper crafting. To this day, I love, and I mean LOVE creating with rubber stamps. The cool thing about knowing how to rubber stamp is that anything you can do with a stamp, you can also do with a stencil. Etching onto metal is a technique that I really enjoy doing in my studio. I have quite a stamp collection of images and lots of copper and bronze metal sheet and my trusty StazOn ink pads. These basic supplies and some ferric chloride and I’m good to go.

For my etched bracelets in Mary Beth’s book, I began with 20-gauge bronze sheet metal. When Mary Beth and her husband began Stencil Girl Products a few years ago, they began with her designs. I still have her original stencils and love them for their abstract and organic nature. I pulled the stencils from my stash, taped them to my metal sheet and rubbed black StazOn ink over them to transfer the pattern to the bronze. I then etched the metal and did the metalworking to complete the cuffs. Of course, I wanted to add something more to the cuffs, but since the purpose of this art project was to showcase the technique, all I did to finish them was to add the patina of Jax Brown and then polish with extra fine steel wool.

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This is the only metalworking jewelry project in her book.  The focus is amazing surface design techniques and all kinds of crafty projects that you can easily create at home using stencils. There are lots of “wow” factor projects that show just how versatile stencils are for mixed-media art; such as her wood burning and encaustic art boards and her painted memories travel journal of her workshop in Durfort. (The same place Susan and I teach when we’re in France.) There are also some wonderful inspirational art samples from some of the top mixed-media teachers/artists in the field today like Pam Carriker, Seth Apter, Leighanna Light, Jane LaFazioLaurie Mika, Traci Lyn Huskamp and others. I highly recommend buying this book for yourself or other mixed-media art/craft lovers on your holiday shopping list. Also, for more stencil inspiration, be sure to check out Stencil Girl Products company blog.

Here’s wishing everyone a truly Artful day!