What do you love?

Resin Clay heart and Wirewrapping that I created for Making Metal Jewelry; How to Stamp, Form, Fold and Forge Metal Jewelry Designs

Resin Clay heart and Wirewrapping that I created for Making Metal Jewelry; How to Stamp, Form, Fold and Forge Metal Jewelry Designs (North Light Books 2013)

 

Years ago in my life before children and before art, even before marriage I once had a very intellectual collage roommate. She and I would stay up drinking red wine until the wee hours of the night and discussing random things when we should’ve been studying. I remember one conversation very clearly on a Valentine’s eve (which unfortunately coincided with the one month breakup from her boyfriend) where the topic of love naturally came up. Not love as in relationships but people using the word so casually in American society. My friend, born in Canada and raised in Israel, insisted that Americans “love” everything. I remember agreeing with her, mostly because I thought she was much more worldly and smart than I was at the time. Fast forward 20+ years to the person I am now and plunk me down in the middle of that conversation and I would have lots more to say. Since I’ve long lost touch with my collage friend, I realized today — Valentine’s Day 2014 is as good a time as any to opine on love.

The word love is a staple in my vocabulary. It’s part of my speech and my immediate thinking. It’s how I define and categorize the things I see, hear, smell, feel and listen to in my life. It’s one of the ways I incorporate my experiences into my daily life as a wife, mother, artist, instructor, business partner, writer, daughter, sister and friend. When I have a new experience, even something as simple as choosing to take a different route home from dropping my kids off at school in the sincere hopes of getting a glimpse of something new that might inspire, I tend to immediately identify in terms of clarity and contrast — love/hate or even the more benign like/dislike. Did I love it? Did that poppy colored jacket on the pedestrian walking along the street inspire me to look at a different color palette? How did the poppy look against the green of the grass behind her? How would it look if I lay on the ground and looked at the poppy against the bright blue of the sky? A three-second glimpse can turn into a full 15 minutes of questions, answers and discoveries in my mind if I allow it the time to wander.

I also love things because I’m a fairly passionate person. It’s seems easy enough to love when you find life interesting. Not that life is always rosy, because goodness knows there are hardships and heartaches at many turns and bends for everyone and everything fortunate to walk the planet today. However, I tend to think curious people are also passionate people. How can one ever be bored when there’s another question to ask and answer to uncover? I think it’s these inherent traits that makes me not just love things, but looooovvvveeee them. I bet you and I are not that much different when it comes down to it.

Here’s a quick, off-the-top-of-my-head Valentine’s Day list of things I looooovvvvveeeee. When you’ve read through these, please take a moment if you have the time to respond with an item or two of your own. I really, really want to know. What do you love???

Jen’s Hopelessly Incomplete List of Loves -

Rainstorms in the desert ◊ The shape of a house – tall ones, fat ones, skinny ones, crooked ones, anything that represents home ◊ Any color, tone or hue of blue ◊ A slice of red cutting through the cool of blue ◊ Laughter unfurled, leaving a trail of sound for others to follow ◊ Birds nesting ◊ Dogs sleeping in the sun with real smiles on their faces ◊ Imperfect physical beauty; a mark, a mole, a scar, a gap in the teeth – anything to not be Barbie beautiful ◊ Strong legs ◊ A generous spirit ◊ Kindness offered in the most difficult of circumstances when people are watching ◊ A sharp and clever wit ◊ People who know how to set and hold boundaries ◊ Double rainbows ◊ Sharing information so others can grow and I can learn ◊ The amazing feeling of love.

And just when I thought I couldn’t add one more thing to this post, I open a few days old emails and there’s this gorgeous inspiration from Design Seeds. The second I opened it (a full 2 hours after I wrote the above list), I squealed with an extreme burst of color inspiration. I just had to update so you can visualize it too.

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 

Some CHA pics and wrap up

Susan Lenart Kazmer and myself in front of our ICE Resin booth CHA Winter 2014.

Susan Lenart Kazmer and myself in front of our ICE Resin booth CHA Winter 2014.

The Craft and Hobby Winter 2014 trade show and convention was a whirlwind, as always. I’ve nicknamed this show my annual “corporate dog years convention” because we do five or six months of work crammed into 5 days. There are so many things I absolutely love about CHA every year. The top one being that I get to see so many of my friends. I love being in the company of wildly creative people and get so inspired seeing all the artwork they’ve made as samples for various manufacturers, as well as the creative outfits and jewelry they’ve put together to represent themselves and their brand at CHA.

There was some amazing behind-the-scenes business relationships that were established for me and Susan and ICE Resin this show that I can’t talk about yet, but that will be keeping me busy the next few months. I’m squealing inside when I think about how these opportunities are going to fling us even deeper into the growth we’ve been expecting and working so hard for. What I can share though is that Iced Enamels was named one of the Hot 20 products of this Winter CHA show. As part of that recognition, I gave a quick 60 second presentation to buyers, bloggers and other media the Friday evening before the show began to tell everyone exactly how revolutionary our cold enameling program really is. It was a little crazy at the time because Susan was at the other end of the Anaheim Convention Center teaching her Artisan Workshop during the exact same time as our Hot 20 presentation.

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The honor definitely helps create a little more buzz for us on the show floor. Our booth is usually packed each year, but this show in particular was busy as people came to see our constant Iced Enamels demos. Some of the incredible artists from our 2014 Creative Team ( and one from our 2013 team Susan Walls) were helping us out working their fingers to the bones with demos, demos and more demos. Thanks Jamie Dougherty, John Petersen, Tatiana Allen and Candy Rosenberg for the 2014 team, Susan Walls from 2013 and our amazing Designer friends Vicki O’Dell and the totally fab-u-lous Suze Weinberg!

This show also proved 2014 is going to be the year for Rue Romantique by Kristen Robinson. All new packaging and brand new styles of backless bezels designed by Kristen were hot, hot, hot! People could not get enough of her workshop, demos and designs!

Here we are with our respective books. Jen Cushman, Making Metal Jewelry; Susan Lenart Kazmer, Resin Alchemy and Kristen Robinson, Making Etched Metal Jewelry. What a trio!

Here we are with our respective books. Jen Cushman, Making Metal Jewelry; Susan Lenart Kazmer, Resin Alchemy and Kristen Robinson, Making Etched Metal Jewelry. What a trio!

In addition to our ICE Resin company business, Susan, Kristen and myself all had book signings at the F&W booth. People were lined up to get signed copies, and it was awesome to talk to folks who are true fans of ICE Resin and all of our jewelry designs. It’s a pretty incredible feeling to know people are reading, seeing and finding value in our creative work. I did have one humorous comment during my book signing from someone who follows my blog and Facebook. “What Jen, no new book this year?” I had to laugh because Making Metal Jewelry just came out January of 2013. Knowing how much I publish, she really expected a brand new release. I laughed and told her a new one is in the works, but that it’s still a year away from release.

Every year at CHA we do a team dinner at Buco di Beppo where we bring in some form of mustaches. We started this five years ago as a lark before mustaches reached the trend they are today as an ice breaker and to get the party and socializing rolling. It’s now become our thing. Dear Kristen is over the mustache trend, but I just can’t seem to let it go. Our sweet friend and Booth Manager Misty Grosse is the one who found the handlebar mustache straws for us to use this year. Last year, it was stickers and we placed them all over the pictures in the walls of the Pope room. The cutest thing is our waiter this year was the same as last year and he even still had the ‘stash sticker on his holder where the bill goes. He was so thrilled to see us again, but sad that we had gone to straws and that he couldn’t collect a new sticker. Now that’s staying power and a testament to our craziness.

Mustaches at Buco 1

Mustaches at Bupo 2

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My absolute favorite moment this year was getting to meet Rupert Boneham, one of the most popular players ever on Survivor. My husband and I are HUGE Survivor fans. When I heard that ilovetocreate hired Rupert this year as their national spokesman for their tie-dye line, all I could think of was brilliant! I want to know who thought of that idea and I would like to hire that marketing person to work with ICE Resin. Susan and I were invited to the ilovetocreate party (which was awesome with a massage therapist and makeovers and gourmet popcorn and even a professional photographer to take new blog headshots) Saturday evening. I was sooooo hoping Rupert would show up, and he did. Not only did I get to get have my picture taken with him, but since the party was quiet at first because it was at the same time as a huge blogger event, me and Rupert grabbed a drink and sat down to talk about Survivor and Life. One of the things I adore about him so much is that you can tell he is all about his family. In this aspect, he reminds me of my husband. Just a good, solid man and human being. We had a very real and authentic conversation and I’ll remember it for a long time. Thanks, Rupert for just being you!

Me and Rupert, my favorite Survivor player ever!

Me and Rupert, my favorite Survivor player ever!

Here are a few more pics from CHA…

My dear friend Debbie Cole and me getting ready for our joint demo at the Makerspace Theater. This was a collaboration to show how incredible Stampendous stamps work with ICE Resin and our Art Mechanique and Rue Romantique bezels. Debbie totally rocked her art samples. We had a great time doing a 45 minute class showing all kinds of advanced techniques.

My dear friend Debbie Cole and me getting ready for our joint demo at the Makerspace Theater. This was a collaboration to show how incredible Stampendous stamps work with ICE Resin and our Art Mechanique and Rue Romantique bezels. Debbie totally rocked her art samples. We had a great time doing a 45 minute class showing all kinds of advanced techniques.

Anthony Ryan Auld from another one of my most fav television shows, Project Runway. He is a spokesman for the brand new Scan and Cut machine from Brother. Both Anthony and the new machine ROCK!

Anthony Ryan Auld from another one of my most fav television shows, Project Runway. He is a spokesman for the brand new Scan and Cut machine from Brother. Both Anthony and the new machine ROCK!

The wickedly-talented and ever charming Suze Weinberg. She LOVES using ICE Resin in her art jewelry.

 

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.

Happy Holidays!

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Here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Also, to all my dear Jewish friends, Happy Hanukkah. As 2013 draws to an end, I am thinking about the countless blessings in my life. Of course, I’m most grateful for my husband, children, family, friend and business partner, my amazing friends and for each and every one of you who subscribe to my blog and take time out of your busy schedules to check in with me every now and then. Here’s wishing you the most Artful of weeks. May your eggnog stay cold, your hearts warm and your creativity continue to fuel your soul.

Resin, Wire and Paper; a beautiful combination

I’ve been making sculptural wire forms for my jewelry and mixed-media for a while now, so I decided it was high time to teach a workshop on the techniques. I have been smitten by the transformation paper undergoes since the first moment I learned how to make resin paper from Susan years and years ago. I’ve talked about this moment many times. It truly was like the Heavens opened up so new Art Muses could take my hands and lead me down an entirely new path of work. I have experimented with every type, shape, size and kind of paper over the years. We’ll be working with a dozen more of my tried and true favs during our time together. If you’re interested in this process at all and plan to be in Tucson for the Gem Show, please take a look at my class. We’ll be at the To Bead True Blue Show Feb. 2- 10, 2014. As always, I take all those experimentations in my studio — all the fails and successes — and develop workshops for my students so its guaranteed success with none of the heartache. I like to tell my students I always ask myself “What if?” so you don’t have to. (grin)

With three hours together, you will definitely be able to make multiple pairs of earrings. Or you can make one pair of earrings and use the rest of your time to make a pendant or focals for other pieces of work. While I always put together project-based classes for people who wish to walk out with a completed art project, I work space for play and experimentation in my teaching style so people leave with pieces that express their individual expression.

Come join me. Learn how to take humble materials like this:

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to this:

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