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.

CastTreeTopper1JenCushmanLR

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.

HandmadeHolidaysJenCushmanOrnament3LR

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.

HandmadeholidaysJenCushmanOrnament8LR

HandmadeHolidaysJenCushmanOrnament6LR

HandmadeHolidaysJenCushmanOrnament4LR

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.

HandmadeHolidaysJenCushmanOrnament7LR

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!

HandmadeHolidaysBlogHopJenCushmanOrnament2LR

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:

Whatcha doing May 16th?

JenCushmanWebinar-header

Do you have plans next Thursday –May 16th — at 11 a.m. (MST)? I’d love for you to join me for my live webinar with Cloth, Paper, Scissors online editor Cate Prato. We’ll be talking about one of my most favorite subjects — found objects for collage, assemblage and mixed-media jewelry. I’ve been working hard on the powerpoint presentation for this online class. In addition to making a new collage that I’m teaching step-by-step how to create, I’ve been having a blast taking some crazy fun pictures of the all the odd bits and pieces I’ve collected throughout the years for mold making and casting. The webinar will give a small peek into my studio where I show the displays I have of my lovely vintage treasures.

I know I’ve said this before, but I adore casting found objects. My favorite medium for it is a two-part molding putty. Despite the fact that I’m not much into representational art, I really enjoy casting found objects in ICE Resin and then do all kinds of lovely surface designs to recreate the objects so convincingly that it takes a good eye to see the difference between the real object an its reproduction.

CastHardware3dlowres

As much as I can go on and on about found object, making molds and casting, I must stop right now and save some information for next week. Here is the link to sign up for my webinar Found Objects; Searching For Texture, Style and Relief.

For those of you who work during the day, I’m pretty sure you can sign up for this webinar and get a link to listen to it  later. Also, Interweave is including a discount coupon for my new DVD Breaking Out of the Mold if you purchase the webinar.

Hope to see you there. Have an Artful Day!

The Whirlwind of 2012

Ta-daaaaa!!! Here is the cover for my brand new DVD on making molds and casting found objects.

Ta-daaaaa!!! Here is the cover for my brand new DVD on making molds and casting found objects.

I know I wrote about filming for Cloth, Paper, Scissors back in November at the Interweave headquarters in Loveland, Colo. It’s hard to believe that my DVD, Breaking Out of the Mold is already available now for pre-order and instant download at the Interweave store. Wowza, let me tell you DVDs move at a breakneck pace as compared to books! I also wanted to let you know that I had the sincere pleasure of meeting another mixed-media artist at the filming; Jenny Cochran Lee. Jenny’s work is incredible. I don’t sew hardly a stitch, so to see her textile work is just jaw dropping to me. I also want to thank Jenny because she did a wonderful post on me and my DVD on her blog today.

There are so many amazing things hitting all at the same time that it’s making my head spin! All of these were in the works last year and I was running as fast as I could to keep up with them all. Seriously, I look back at 2012 and shake my head at how in the heck we managed to get it all done. Finishing my new book with North Light, new product development with ICE Resin, a DVD and a new column with Cloth, Paper, Scissors and also the Designer Showcase next month with Belle Armoire Jewelry in addition to my normal Art Chooses You column for Stampington. When I meet someone and they ask me what I do, I’m not sure quite how to respond so I simply say I’m an artist and a writer.

Life was so busy last year that I really want to take a moment to thank my amazing husband and mother-in-law on my blog (even though neither of them read it. LOL). They were there for me every step of the way, cheering me on and making sure my kids were fed, clothed and happy. I also want to thank my off-the-charts-talented and totally brilliant business partner Susan Lenart Kazmer, who has been going even harder and longer than I have to run our company, while still managing to dream up endless amounts of creative ideas, building two lines (Industrial Chic for Michaels and the new Media Mixage with Spellbinders that debuted at CHA), teaching workshops, running the ICE Resin office and home front, publishing articles and writing her new book, “Resin Alchemy” that is due out in June with Interweave. (Not to mention raising two teenagers and teaching a workshop in France this summer). Then there was the other person who was standing by my side this past year. Kristen Robinson spent 2012 teaching, building her brand new signature line Rue Romantique, publishing articles, doing a DVD for Cloth, Paper, Scissors and writing her second book — as yet untitled — for North Light that’s due out this Fall.

One of the most interesting parts of all of this to me is that the three of us had to keep completely quiet on all that was going on. Sure, bits and pieces here and there were shared on blogs and social media, but most of the time I told Susan and Kristen that it looked like we were all taking long naps in 2012.

Silly me, I didn't get a picture of me and Susan at CHA. Here is one of us shopping at the flea markets in the South of France this summer.

Silly me, I didn’t get a picture of me and Susan at CHA. Here is one of us shopping at the flea markets in the South of France this summer.

My father used to always say I couldn’t keep a secret if my life depended on it. I can say now that he was 100% wrong. I don’t really care for keeping secrets because I’m just the type of person who likes to share. The best part right now is that I can finally breathe. The cats are out of the bag. The only thing left to do is tell the world about all our new adventures and hope people see and respond to the kind of passion we’ve put into our first real love – Mixed-media ART! As for my next goal in 2013, it really is getting to take that long nap I keep talking about.

Kristen and me at Winter CHA 2013.

Kristen and me at Winter CHA 2013.

To everyone who has hung in there with me on my blog this past year, thank you. This goes the same for the new friendships I’ve made on Facebook and the incredible women (and a few men) whom I have met at workshops across the country. I really hope that if no other message comes out of anything that I do it’s this one: Dreams do come true. Nothing is unattainable. You don’t have to be the most talented person on the block, or the skinniest or the prettiest or the most congenial. All you have to be is yourself. Oh, and it helps to also link arms with some pretty amazing friends along the way who always have your back in any situation. (grin)!