Guest Post on Cloth, Paper, Scissors today

DIY project wire name

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you are ready for a little wireworking tutorial today. I did a little guest blog over on the Cloth, Paper, Scissors website talking about my upcoming workshop called Clasps, Links, Components and Chain. Since I know not everyone is able to jump on a plane to an art retreat, I also did a little tutorial teaching how to “write” your name or favorite word in wire. If you don’t have time to be creative right now, not to worry. There is a handy link embedded in the article to pin the tutorial for later.

So grab your round nose pliers, chain nose pliers and some 16 gauge dead soft wire and come play with me. Here is that link again to my Name Your Necklace free tutorial.

Chicagoland Peeps: I’ll be teaching this class this coming Thursday August 14th at CREATE. There are still four spots left so if you’re interested in learning how to save money making your own clasps, chains and components please join me.

WireworkedcomponentsJenCushman

Dallas and Seattle Peeps: I’m bringing this workshop your way too. Registration is ongoing. Learn more here.

JenSig

 

 

For the Love of Lariats

heres one of my ice resin lariet necklaces Lariat necklaces are hip and edgy. They never go out of style because they are the ultimate in cool yet casual jewelry. I can just as easily wear one with a little black dress as I can with a white t-shirt and my favorite boyfriend jeans.

Last year, I saw a gorgeous dream catcher made my über talented friend Karen Michel on her Instagram feed. The long, luscious and colorful ribbons inspired me to look at my fiber stash. That made me pull out a box of already collaged ICE Resin bezels and my bin of metal components and cold enameled odds and ends. I spent the most glorious afternoon just tying and wrapping and creating about a dozen lariat necklaces. The more I made, the more excited I became with my creations. It’s crazy how my necklaces look nothing like Karen’s dream catchers but that’s how inspiration works. The spark of an idea, or a thought, or a question leads my brain to leap to another thought and then I’m off building a bridge to a new-for-me idea.

I took some of my favorite pieces and created a workshop called For the Love of Lariats. I’m finally getting a chance to teach it at the upcoming CREATE mixed media art retreats. Chicago in the next few weeks is my first stop for this brand new class, which is is filling up with only a few spots left.

Students will spend a day learning how to add color to metal with Iced Enamels, in addition to making some beautiful ICE Resin bezels. For those who want to try their hand at metalworking, we’ll be cutting, punching, doming and dapping bronze sheet metal. For people who just want to continue adding color to metal and digging deeper into Iced Enamels, I have a lots of premade metal blanks to use as a substrate. Finally, I’ll be teaching how to tie and twist and reinforce fibers to create a strong yet elegant lariat that can be double and triple wrapped or worn long and lean. There is going to be a lot of instruction in this class, but I’ve left ample time for exploration and play. I believe students are going to be surprised with how much completed work they will walk out with at the end of the day, in addition to new ideas to try at home.

When I was teaching earlier this summer at the Charity Wings Art Center, I wore one of my lariats. Jennifer Priest, our Social Media Coordinator, spotted it and suggested we do a little video. Always game for some fun, I stood in the metalworking section of the art center and started talking. It’s a one-take, one-hit wonder. Check it out.

I’m teaching other ICE Resin classes at the CREATE events. If you have a minute, head on over to Interweave’s website to check them out. Registration is still going on now.

JenSig

Miami here I come…

JenJewelryApril2014

I’m off to Miami, Florida to teach a three-day ICE Resin and Iced Enamels Master’s workshop for the South Florida Jewelry Arts Guild May 16-18th . In addition to teaching, I’ll be giving a presentation to the guild the evening of the 15th on the subject of “My Artist’s Life: Art, Family and ICE Resin Juggling Act.” I’ve done a fair amount of public speaking over the years on writing, business and creativity and I always enjoy it. Sure the butterflies hit those few minutes before each talk, but once I get into the groove, the time flies by and it’s always a lot of fun being in the moment.

I’m fairly certain the workshops are full. However, you can always check out the SFJAG website and see if there is a spot left. Last time I spoke to the organizer the two-day resin was full, but there were two spots left in Iced Enamels on Sunday. I really enjoy teaching at guilds because the classes are usually more intimate and folks are really looking to go a little deeper into their work.

I’ve been doing my best to get some studio time to make some new pieces of jewelry to sell at the event. I made 20 new necklace and the same number of earrings. However, I won’t be able to bring that many with me, as it looks like some of the pieces are going out the door to editors before I can get them to my upcoming retreats. I did manage to grab this pic of a bunch of them layered on my vintage dress form. I like the abundance of this photo! I just wish I could keep up that kind of production. (grin).

I’ll be taking a little break from my blog while I’m away. Do be sure to check in this coming weekend as ICE Resin is participating in a blog hop with Faber Castell. Keep an eye on the ICE Queen eZine for more deets. My day to go live is May 16th.

Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day!

 

Hopping down the trail necklace

JenCushmanBunnynecklace

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.

Jen Cushman Bunny Necklace Full

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 scrapbookers 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”.

Heading to CHA

JenNecklaceSampleCHA1lr

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.

Halloween Roundup with Friends

Jen Cushman Halloween Necklaces

A few of my craftalicious friends have teamed up with the idea of sharing more of our work on our blog and then also pointing our friends over to each other’s blogs by issuing art challenges amongst ourselves and motivating each other. Our first roundup has a Halloween theme. It’s no surprise to people who regularly read my blog to know that I am so NOT the best at making holiday-themed projects, unless they’re for a deadline. So when the challenge came in to do  something Halloween, I was a little befuddled. But then I realized — Hey, I have some cool Art Mechanique hobnail bezels using Vintage Halloween imagery and ICE Resin in my done bezel stash from this summer when I poured a half dozen pieces for my Sept./Oct column for Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine and my column “The Mixed Media Metalsmith.”

I went to my stash and finished off a couple of cute bezels into necklaces with some chain, charms and beads. Viola! Halloween jewelry. I’m thrilled for this challenge because I now have something to wear this month and can now take my daughter trick or treating and this can be my costume. Score!

Here’s how to make these necklaces:

Jen Cushman Vintage Pumkin Necklace

1. Grab one of our signature Susan Lenart Kazmer Art Mechanique Hobnail bezels from your stash. (Don’t have one? Get ‘em here, or at your local Hobby Lobby store or call your favorite local bead store and ask them if they carry the Susan Lenart Kazmer and ICE Resin line.)

2. Locate a vintage Halloween image. Personally, I’m a fan of ArtChix Studios and all of her great mixed media art supplies. Check out her Vintage Fairies images. You can get this exact pumpkin face royalty free here at Craft Jr.

3. Cut the image to fit inside the bezel. Use Art Mechanique paper sealant with a brush to seal the images top, back, sides so it stays colorfast. If you want it to look vintagey, you do not have to first seal your images, but take note that with dark images, they will go darker as ICE Resin permeates the paper.

4. Be sure the sealed images in completely dry before adding resin. If it’s still wet in spots, the image will get little dark spots on it where the resin soaks into the paper. if you want to add some glass glitter for extra sparkle, this is the time to gently shake some into the bezel. NOTE; If you use your craft glitters, they are too light and will rise to the top of your resin as your pour and, literally, sit on top of the resin as it dries. Glass glitter is heavy and will sink in the bottom of the bezels and not rise to the surface.

5. Mix up some ICE Resin, let it sit for 5 minutes after mixing to release the bubbles caused by stirring and then gently drip into the bezel using your craft stick. ICE naturally domes so it will get a pretty rounded top to your bezel if you keep slowly dripping. Be sure to stop when you see the doming. ICE Resin is self-leveling and ultra clear so there will be no bubbles in your bezel.

6. Let bezel dry to the touch, about 6 to 10 hours. As soon as it’s dry to the touch, you can add beads or wirewrapping or use jump rings to make your jewelry. For the pumpkin, I added another Art Mechanique silhouette charm that’s been cold enameled with Enameling Medium + Iced Enamels + ICE Resin in that order. I used my metal hole punch to make a hole and then added one of our adorable rhinestone brads for bling. I then attached to the bezel with a jump ring. I then used a piece of a chain and a jump ring to connect it to the top loop of the bezel. I left the necklace long so I didn’t need a clasp. It slides right over my head and will look great with jeans and a T-shirt.

jen Cushman Vintage Trick necklace

For the vintage girl bezel, I used my rhinestone brads to cold connect the bezel to a brass filigree (I like to buy from B’Sue Boutiques). I used my metal  hole punch pliers to create holes at the top and bottom of the brass filigree. To the bottom I added a tiny rhinestone charm and the top I attached to a piece of chain with a jump ring. I also left this necklace long so as to not have to worry about a clasp.

Now, it’s time to hop on over to all my amazing crafty peeps and see what crazyamazingwonderful things they’ve made and posted on their blogs. Check ‘em outL Eileen Hull with her line of dies with Sizzix, Jennifer Priest makes some awesome sugar skulls shoes, Tanner Bell from A Little Craft in Your Day talks about planning an awesome Halloween  party on a budget, and Liz Hicks sews a sweet tote.