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.


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

Mustaches pic 3

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


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.

Adventurers in Arting with Julie and Eileen update

I had such a blast chatting with the fabulous Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and her mom, Eileen Balzer this week. We covered a whole host of topics, but I really enjoyed the part in the discussion about the authenticity artists’ bring to the world. Talks like these just stimulate me so much intellectually. If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear how I get excited and begin to talk even faster than I do normally (heaven help me!) It was interesting to see that we ran the gamut in our discussion from fine art — museum and gallery quality art — all the way to the Craft and Hobby Association and what it means to walk that line as a designer/artist.

Balzer Designs Adventures in Arting podcast

So it you want to get yourself a cup of tea and take a listen to Julie, Elieen and me for the next hour, I’d be honored. Here is Julie’s blog post with all the deets.

That’s how I roll…

My last post was an invite via a Twitter chat for the second stop on our Follow the ICE Queen to the Emmys road trip. For those of you who attended Saturday night, I want to give you a big THANKS shout out for joining us. For those that weren’t able to make it, I thought I’d share a little behind-the-scenes snafu that happened to me. It’s kind of a funny story, and my thoughts keep coming back to it as I work at my computer today.

Jen Cushman

Tweeting in the dark. My family thought it would be helpful for me to see my cell phone better wearing glow in the dark glasses. Hahaha. They are so funny.

Since it’s still pretty hot in Phoenix, my family likes to get to the cooler weather and our family cabin. This past weekend was extra special because one of my best friends for more than 13 years and her four kids were coming up. Her oldest girls — 17 and 14 are like my nieces and think I’m pretty cool. They’ve been asking me to teach them resin and how to make jewelry for a while now, so that was the plan. I had warned my family/friends I needed to block out 7-8 p.m. Saturday night for our company Twitter chat. Since  our amazing Creative Team and staffers met all of their Emmy’s deadlines with grace and ease, I felt pretty confident taking a full two days for family time.

My friend, hubby and myself worked to get bbq and dinner done so everyone would be fed and happy by the time I had to sneak away to chat. All was on schedule. I signed into my Twitter account from my computer at 6:45 p.m. so I was primed and ready to begin. I was really looking forward to watching my pals Vicki O’Dell, Tanner Bell and Jennifer Priest moderate the chat. I knew there were members of the Creative Team ready for action. All I had to do was watch, sit back and jump in every now and then to answer a question or two.

It had been storming all day, but stopped right before dinner. At 6.58 p.m. (PST) as I was watching Vicki inform people  the chat would begin shortly, the power went out. Arghhhhh! Crashed into darkness. Luckily the family was already outside by the fire pit ready making s’mores. I looked at everyone — they looked at me and we burst into laughter. I immediately sent a text to Vicki and Jennifer and put Plan B into action. That was to join the family outside in dwindling twilight with my iPhone, log into my mobile Twitter app and participate as best I could.

Our team immediately knew what was going on and sent me encouraging messages to let me know they had it taken care of. The chat went on — was spectacular actually — as more than 600 Tweets went out in less than an hour using our hashtags #CraftingTheEmmys and #ICEresin, as well as #chaswag which is CHA’s hashtag for the event.  Jennifer, ICE Resin’s Social Media Coordinator, also scheduled an Instagram party at the same time so the amazing artists who are part of our 2013 Creative Team could show sneak peeks of the handmade bracelets made for the Emmy’s Nominees and Celeb VIPs, as part of the CHA Gift Lounge sponsorship.

I have to say it’s incredible to realize that we’ve grown so well.  There was a time that ICE Resin was just Susan and myself and a part-time office person and full-time shipping person. Sure, we’ve always had a design team as part of our company (since 2008) but we now have an entire internal and external team of people who love these products as much as we do and are dedicated to making the company bigger and better every day. The Emmy’s has been an incredible opportunity for all of us to do what we do best — be artists and make cool, inspiring mixed-media jewelry, but I see it as yet another success in a long line of successes. While I may have been Tweeting in the dark on Saturday, I knew that I wasn’t alone because there’s a whole community of people  who want to share in the buzz that comes from creative energy.

ICE Resin jewelry for men

When I saw that there were a lot of male nominees for the 2013 Primetime Emmys, I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to make jewelry for the guys. I had a great time making men’s jewelry! Keep an eye out, plans are already underway to publish and teach these, as well as commission work. If you saw all of them I made, I think you’d see that they really show my style as an artist.

Just so you know, we’ll be talking more about the 100 handmade bracelets that we made for the celebs over on the ICE Queen eZine and on our social media channels. We even have another surprise we’re working on behind-the-scenes now with one of our favorite media companies. Deets to come as soon as I can share. Also, I’ll be showing some sneak peeks of the handmade bracelets I made for the male nominees and VIPs coming up as well. For now, I hope you enjoy the one here. I’m secretly hoping this finds its way to Matt Damon for his nomination for Lead Actor in a Mini Series or a Movie 2013 as Scott Thorson in Behind the Candelabra. I’ve been a fan of Matt Damon’s films ever since Good Will Hunting way back when. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Iced Enamels and Summer CHA

Today I’m packing for Las Vegas and Summer CHA. Well, Ok, so the Craft and Hobby Association is no longer calling it Summer CHA and has changed the name to Create ‘N Connect Conference. Whatever you call it, I’m off to check out the new mid-year releases from the manufactures in the crafts and hobby industry and visit with so many of my amazing Designer friends. There are also a handful of meetings set for ICE Resin, as well as a workshop I’m teaching on Cold Enameling and our fab Iced Enamels. Here’s a pic of the cute charm bracelet people will be making at our workshop Monday from 2-4 p.m.

Cold Enameling Workshop Summer CHA

Of course, my dear friend Elena with Charity Wings invited me to do something with her non-profit organization. I’ll be at the Mystery Craft Box Challenge by Charity Wings Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. If you want to see this little feat of deadline crafting, tune into Charity Wings Live from CHA. You can join her linqto room and watch the live streaming event from the comfort of your own home or office.

I was recently in San Diego teaching workshops in the brand new Metalsmithing area of the Charity Wings Art Center. I was thrilled to see my fellow Designer/Artist friend Jennifer Priest of Hydrangea Hippo wrote a post on Iced Enamels on her blog and did a little video of my workshops. I never have any teaching photos of myself because I’m just too busy working. It was a trip to sit back and watch myself on Jennifer’s video. As you can see, I just get to into what I’m doing that all I’m focused on is teaching!

I’ll be updating my Facebook status and Tweeting from CHA next week. If you’re not following my social media yet, be sure to check in if you’re interested in seeing come of the cool new craft products heading to store shelves soon. This is going to be fun for me. I’m always non-stop busy in our ICE Resin booth at the winter shows that a rarely get time to walk the floors. I’m grateful for the space and time this summer to just see and be.

I hope all of you are staying cool and using the summer heat as a great excuse to hunker down in your studios and be creative.

Artfully yours,


The CHA Bra

I realized I never did post pics of the bra I made for Charity Wings that was auctioned off at Winter CHA. Here’s a bit of background. Charity Wings did a very successful Crafty Flash Mob at Winter CHA 2012. About 100 folks took over the convention center lobby before the show opened. It was my first and only flash mob and I had soooo much fun.

Resin paper altered bra

Elena being Elena, she had to up the ante this year. A very dear friend of ours in the industry was diagnosed with breast cancer and we were devastated. Elena and some folks cooked up an idea to do a mob flash where all the crafty peeps created altered bras and then “flashed” them before  Winter CHA 2013 show opening. No worries, the ladies wore pink T-shirts with their altered bras on top of the shirts. Because this show was a big one for us with our new releases, there was no way I could sneak out this year and participate in the fun. (sad face here).

As you all know by now, I pretty much support Elena in just about anything she does to raise money for the charities Charity Wings supports. I told her I would make an altered ICE Resin paper bra. I wanted to show the world how cool and transparent tissue paper becomes when a layer of ICE is applied to it, and well, I thought the breast area was the best possible canvas to get my point across. I bought a tiny little bra at the Goodwill, washed it up and then proceeded to cut the cups out of it, keeping the underwire, and attaching resin paper. I also made some wire leaves (a technique Susan created and taught me and a bunch of others how to do in her workshops) and added an Iced Enamels bezel and some German Glass glitter  to it. Just for the fun of it, I created an asymmetrical headband to go with the bra. When I finished the whole thing it seemed to me that I somehow channeled a modern-day Moulin Rouge costume inspired by our summer workshop in France.

The one thing I forgot to do was add extra “material” (resin paper) to the cups so the bra will need to be worn by one tiny little flat chested woman. Oops! I wasn’t exactly thinking of functional art now was I? The cool part of that all of the bras were auctioned off at a Westcott sponsored party with all the money going toward breast cancer awareness.  I have no idea how much money my bra raised,  but I do know that it raised a few eyebrows and was the object of a some scandalous jokes. Of course I love that, as art is supposed to inspire, stimulate and elicit emotion!

Altered bra and headband by Jen Cushman

And to let you in on a little insider joke, when I finished making the bra I held it up for my husband to see. I asked him what else it needed, as in did it need any further crafty embellishments? Being the straight man he definitely is, his response was simply a sly smile, a quick sideways shake of his head and two words; “Just breasts.” I had to laugh. I really love my man!

Headband by Jen

On another non-bra related note, I’m off to Tucson Friday night for the To Bead True Blue show and more workshops and our booth. I doubt I will have time to update while I’m gone. I’ll try to take lots of pics and post them when I return.



2013 classes so far

Cold-Enameled Heart Necklace class. Learn all new enameling techniques for adding color to metal and also advanced resin techniques as well.

Cold-Enameled Heart Necklace class. Learn all new enameling techniques for adding color to metal and also advanced resin techniques as well.

I’m still working on building my new website. My goal is for it to be up and running by Jan. 10. which is the in-store date for Making Metal Jewelry. The site will have a gallery of my work, my class schedule, an option to purchase signed copies of my books, etc. Since I’ve been getting questions on my Facebook wall about next year’s teaching schedule, I thought I better put it on the blog now.

Susan and myself and many of the ICE Resin team will be at the Craft and Hobby Association trade show in Anaheim Jan. 11-15. Susan and Kristen are teaching sold-out workshops during the show and I’ll be in the background helping them TA since the classes are maxed out at 50 people. This trade show is open only to members of the crafts industry and is one of the big shows we do each year to introduce our new products. We have some amazing new things coming out next year and are thrilled for this show to get here.

Then, a mere two weeks after CHA, we’re heading to the Tucson gem show — To Bead True Blue — where the team is teaching lots of interesting workshops. If you love making jewelry and you’ve never managed to get to Tucson in February, I suggest you put it on your bucket list right now and find a way to make it happen. Anything and everything with gems, minerals, beads and unique objects is found and focused on at these shows. I’ll be teaching five classes in Tucson and registration is going on now.

Feb. 28-March 3, I’m excited to be teaching classes at Linda Young’s event Adorn Me in Houston, Texas. There are still spots left in many of the classes, all featuring metalwork and/or mixed-media jewelry with top instructors. Take a peek at the workshops here. A couple of classes, such as  So You Want to Write a Book, are classes I’m only teaching at this event for 2013.

I’m thrilled to be back for my third year at CREATE, hosted by Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine in Orange County, California. I love this show so much because the event organizers always let me teach both straight mixed-media and also mixed-media jewelry classes. I’m thrilled to be doing a journal, as well as some very cool new classes using our brand-new products and techniques that we’re introducing at CHA and Tucson. Registration for this event just opened yesterday, and my journal was featured on the announcement email. So very cool to see as an instructor! I’m in such amazing company at this event and a few of the instructors are my very dear friends. I get a smile on my face every time I realize I’m going to get to see them very soon.

The last event to tell you about for now is the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee. This is another one of our annual big shows for ICE Resin. I’ve been at the show the past three years with our company, but this is the first time I’ll be teaching there as an instructor. Honestly, this is an event I never thought I would be instructing since it’s home to many of the best of the best master silversmiths and jewelers. It was kind of a pinch me moment when the acceptance email came in. I’ll be teaching resin, of course. (grin)

There are a couple more events I’ve applied to that haven’t been announced. I’ll be adding those to the calendar as soon as I hear (fingers crossed) that I’ve been accepted. Just a little note on this, I’ll be writing a future column on the teaching application process for those of you who wonder how this all comes to pass. I did write a basic one for CreateMixedMedia last year. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, you can click over to my columns on the website.

For any of you whom are thinking of going to an art retreat for the first time, but are maybe wondering if you can afford it or if it’s worth the time and expense, let me tell you they are! When I fell in love with mixed-media all those years ago, it was these retreats and the amazing, giving and wonderful instructors that set me on my path. It was a journey that’s been life altering for me, and I’ve seen the same story told again and again for many others.

Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day as you head into the final stretch of the Holiday season.