Tag Archive | Susan Lenart Kazmer

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!


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

Tucson registration open

If you adore making jewelry then you know that Tucson, Arizona is the place to be in February with all the shows that pop up in hotels and tents from one end of town to the other. I’ll be teaching ICE Resin, metalworking and mixed-media jewelry workshops again this year at the To Bead True Blue show. Susan is teaching some killer enameling workshops this year where students will not only play with both hot and cold enameling, but will also create Talisman shapes that will be the base for color. Linda McNulty, Susan’s sister and an amazing encaustic artist, is teaching encaustic jewelry techniques that can be translated to all mixed-media from collage and assemblage to jewelry. Kristen Robinson is also at the show teaching how to make some of the loveliest adornments using her Rue Romantique line.

Jen Cushman Breaking Out of the Bezel

One of my brand new workshops for 2014 that I’m really excited about is Breaking Out of the Bezel. You know how much I love making molds from found objects and casting them in ICE Resin. While it’s been awesome to see my students walk out with so many cool components to use in their work, I decided it was time to take the workshop up a notch and teach some intermediate to advanced resin techniques to create truly unique and dimensional finished works of wearable art. I am seriously so jazzed about this workshop that February can’t get here quickly enough!

I’ll be talking about and showing art samples of all my Tucson workshops on my blog over the next few days. However, I wanted to start getting the word out that registration is going on now. We’ve set a smaller student number on workshops so be sure to take a look. If you’re interested, I suggest you go ahead and sign up rather than waiting. When they’re filled, they’re gone.

Here’s wishing you a joyous weekend! I’m sure most of you are attending holiday parties or involved in family events, as I am. This means no time in the studio for real work, but it’s OK. Tis’ the season!

Thankful Chicken Candy Necklace

Jen Cushman Candy Turkey Resin Necklace

Thankful ChickenWhen I picked my daughter up from preschool on Monday, she was so happy to show me the picture she made for us. “Mama, mama,” she said patting my arm to get my attention because I was talking to her teacher. “I made you and daddy a Thankful Chicken!” I couldn’t help but breaking into a huge grin because she seriously says the cutest things. Her teacher immediately corrected her to say it was a Thanksgiving turkey, but secretly I thought she was more brilliant than all the other kids in her class because it was indeed a very happy and very thankful chicken. Now that’s art!

A few weeks ago, I was shopping for some artisan bakery items for a girlfriends get together when I found these adorable candy turkeys. The head baker had just made them and packaged them up. Not sure if you know this, but I’ve been embedding candy into ICE Resin for a long time now. I’ve also covered Peeps in it at Easter, lips and hearts at Valentine’s Day, candy monsters for Halloween and sweet shoppe Snowmen for Christmas. This is my first turkey though.

Because I’m so thankful I get to live every day of my life as a working artist, writer, business woman and instructor, I thought it might be fun to share a little stepped-out tutorial on how I repurposed candy into a wearable holiday-themed art necklace. Of course, just as this little guy from A.J’s Fine Food Market in Phoenix, Arizona created by an unknown food artisan is no longer a cupcake topper, my necklace is not really a turkey. In honor of my smart, creative, miracle baby girl, whom I’m also so grateful for, this necklace is titled “Thankful Chicken.”

Candy turkeys

Step one: Prepare your work surface by having your candy items ready on a non stick craft mat. You can use a plastic trash bag (the heavy kind, not a grocery bag), but I prefer a silicone mat because the resin won’t stick to it and because it’s surface is completely smooth so the dried resin peels right up.

Turkey Necklace  Step 2

Mix up ICE Resin according to the directions and use a disposable paint brush to paint a layer of ICE all over the candy piece -  front, back, sides and bottom. Set aside 6-10 hours to dry.

When the resin-covered candy is dry to the touch, drill a hole into for attachment. For less dense candies, you can use a sharp-pointed awl in most cases if you don’t have a drill. I have my flex shaft always at the ready on my workbench, so it’s quickest for me to use my drill.

Turkey necklace step 3

Now comes the fun part. Add beads to your candy to turn it into jewelry. I drew a bead on the end of a piece of 20-gauge bronze wire and then threaded on two small spacer beads and a larger crystal rondelle bead. Then I put the “resinated” chicken (turkey) on it. I added another spacer bead and a red crystal and then made a wirewrap loop.

Turkey necklace step 5

To finish it off, I pulled some Industrial Chic by Susan Lenart Kazmer chain from my stash and made a necklace. Since I wanted it on the longer side, I didn’t worry about a clasp. The necklace slips easily on and off over my head.

Turkey necklace step 5

All that is left it to wear a complimentary top for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner with my large extended family. When we go around the table like we always do to say what we’re thankful for, I will be answering my family, my work, my friends and my new chicken.

Turkey necklace finished

Here’s wishing you an AMAZING Thanksgiving and a truly artful long holiday weekend.

Gooooo Team! #handmade bracelets

handmadebraceletsHere’s a little bit of news. Our fab friends over at Interweave — particularly the Cloth, Paper, Scissors editors, under the direction of Jenn Mason — worked hand-in-hand with us to publish a brand new 108-page ebook showing the bracelets myself, our ICE Resin 2013 Creative Team and some staffers made for actors and actresses of the Academy of Arts and Television Sciences for our recent Gift Lounge the Saturday before the Emmys. When Jenn and I first began kicking around this crazy idea of putting together a book in less than 3 weeks time, we looked at each other like we were a little off kilter. But then if there’s one thing I’ve learned working with Jenn over the past couple of years, it’s that she moves as quickly as I do and enjoys a challenge even more. (As an aside, I first began writing articles for Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine and that morphed into my column, “The Mixed-Media Metalsmith” that I currently produce for every issue. I’m lucky to spend time with her each year at the CREATE Art Retreats as well.)

Long story short, as the team was working on their handmade bracelets for the celebs, as well as making all their charms for the make n’ take, Carol LaValley, ICE Resin’s Content Coordinator, started working with Paige Martin, CPS associate editor, to push the ebook to fruition and put the publishing machine into drive. I asked the entire team to document their journey with behind-the-scene pictures. Everyone also had to write step-by-step instructions for their bracelets and also talk about the inspiration behind their pieces. I even hunkered down in my studio and made leather cuff bracelets for the guys. Thank goodness for my friend Dahlia Ziffra who came to my rescue to provide the incredibly beautiful leather cuffs to use a base for my ICE Resin bezels and designs. I’ve made cuffs before, and absolutely love doing them, but there was literally no time to pull it together. What is that saying about necessity being the mother of invention?!

ICE Resin jewelry for men

Every artist on the Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin  team made the most beautiful, inspired original wearable art for the celebs. Carol ended up editing/compiling nearly 10,000 words for this book, along with getting Paige all of the photos. Jenn, Paige and her art people designed an incredibly beautiful ebook so others can, in turn, make jewelry like what the stars will be wearing.

Interweave’CPS_IceResinWebinar-500-register[11]%20copy_jpg-130x130s marketing department is doing a wonderful job spreading the word. Take a look at what was sent out today to subscribers of Cloth, Paper, Scissors daily email blast. I’m so thrilled and proud to see another publication in our line up. I hope you find #handmade bracelets  inspiring and fun.

In addition to the ebook release, we did a webinar with Interweave yesterday. More than 1,700 people signed up to attend! If you happened to miss it and still want more information, here is the link to download it and listen in, Creative Members Pamela Huntington and Cindy Cima Edwards were the moderators, along with myself, and they rocked it!

Gifting Lounge wrap up for the Emmys

Susan Lenart Kazmer and Jen Cushman as the Connected Gift Lounge

Hi everyone. Sorry for the long delay in getting to my blog. After the Emmys event, I spent Monday morning in LA in a fairly long meeting working out some future business that came from an important contact made during the event itself. Another meeting in the afternoon and then a 6-hour drive back to Arizona. Unfortunately, as a working mother I returned home to a sick little one with a raging fever. No sleep Monday night and spent Tuesday taking care of my daughter. I caught the flu myself, so most of the week has been trying to do business while half functioning.

ICE webinar banner

As you may know I was in Los Angeles last week for the CHA Connected Gift Lounge as part of the festivities surrounding the 2013 Primetime Emmys. Susan Lenart Kazmer LLC/ICE Resin was there as one of the sponsors of the event. Susan, myself and a few other ICE Resin team members were there to show off our passion for art and all the amazing mixed-media jewelry folks can make using ICE Resin and Art Mechanique products. You can learn more about the event during a free webinar being sponsored by Interweave on Oct. 2. Be sure to sign up here!

I have to say some of my favorite moments were the times where there was space to really connect on a personal level with a few of the actors, actresses, musicians and professional athletes. I know that seems like a crazy thing to say when there is this huge event going on around you that’s taking place in a dark nightclub with hundreds of people vying to get the attention of the celebrities. Sure there were folks who were there just for the swag, and others for the opportunity to see and be seen (as well as be adored by fans), but there were some authentic people who really “got” what Susan and myself are about. People like Tank and his girlfriend Zena Foster and her sweet daughter Zoey who got as happy as my little girl does when she gets to make a wearable piece of handmade art.

Crafting The Emmys Tank

Other favorite moments:  Seeing Grammy-winning musician Prinz Board engaged in a great conversation with Susan about her work and how she uses Talismans and getting a chance to speak to Tony Hale (Emmy Winner!!!) the day before the big event and how one handles the thrill of being the nominated front-runner.

Crafting The Emmys Tony Hale

I also loved when Drake Hogestyn and his wife Victoria spent at least 20 minutes at our booth picking out charms and designing necklaces for their three daughters. And I got a kick out of the actors from HBO’s Band of Brothers digging through all of our charms to pick out pieces that spoke to them. They were adorable and so fun!

Crafting the Emmys Drake Hogestyn

Crafting The Emmys Band of Brothers

I was so busy helping the celebs with the make n take Talisman necklaces that I didn’t get too many photos of myself with them. However, Susan did have me get one with Tony Denison from the hit television show The Closer and that was awesome.

 Crafting The Emmys Tony Denison

There were dozens of moments throughout the day at the Celebrity Gift Lounge that were exhilarating. I can say that we had fun and made some important contacts for the future. There’s an incredible amount of creative talent in Hollywood and it was really cool to be part of it for a day.  There’s a lot of hoopla surrounding things like this, and I think it can be very hard to stay real and grounded in situations where it’s easy to become star struck, but it’s important to remember that many, many of these celebrities are just like us. They want to be respected for their talent and recognized for their hard work. They’re family oriented and they want to enjoy life’s pleasures.  I was also reminded that for a lot of people ART is a common ground, a path to more authentic conversations. I’m reminded time and again that art is a language all unto its own and you either speak it or you don’t.

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!

Hobby Lobby and Iced Enamels!

Art Unraveled begins today and runs through next Tuesday, August 6th. It’s another full week of education and demos, make n takes and a booth for Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin! Tonight, I’m thrilled to be participating in a panel discussion hosted by the amazing Seth Apter, mixed-media artist, instructor, author and all around creative soul. I can’t believe my luck because I am one of the featured artists in Seth’s new book The Mixed-Media Artist: Art Tips, Tricks, Secrets and Dreams from Over 40 Amazing Artists, which comes out this October from North Light Books. After the panel discussion, I’ll be at Meet the Teachers night with my table for a meet and greet of old friends and new. Tomorrow, I teach my Cold Enameling class all day. Friday there is a make ‘n take using ICE Resin and Rue Romantique bezels by Kristen Robinson  and the Artist’s Extravaganza on Saturday. Then I teach again next Monday and Tuesday.  Please follow me on Facebook for status updates of all the Art Unraveled happenings.

Now, on to another big announcement. I’m sure you’ve already heard from our ICE Resin® blog and social media, but we now have a brand new program in all Hobby Lobby stores nationwide. Iced Enamels™ along with our bestselling Art Mechanique™ hobnail bezels, new Art Mechanique™ brass Silouhettes, brand new ephemera papers, Shattered Micas, findings and, of course, ICE Resin® are all available at your local store. Be sure to also pick up the brand new free project instruction sheet as well.  Susan and I are so thrilled to bring our passion for mixed media jewelry to our loyal customers coast to coast!

Free project guide on Iced Enamels and ICE Resin available at Hobby Lobby stores nationwide.

Free project guide on Iced Enamels and ICE Resin available at Hobby Lobby stores nationwide.

Also, if you’ve been following our ICE Resin social media for a while now, you might have noticed a recent uptick in information. Be sure to say hello to Jennifer Priest, our new social media manager. Jennifer’s legendary skills were quite the talk of last week’s Summer CHA and we are thrilled to have her as an important part of our team. I cannot tell you how exciting it is to have gathered the group of ladies around us that we have over the past few years. Every single person who is part of the ICE Resin company — including our talented Creative Team of artists — is as passionate about ICE: Inspiration, Creativity, Education as Susan and myself. Look out, world, here we come!

Follow Your Heart

Hi everyone! Long time no talk. I’m sorry about that, but this has been one of those summers where the first three weeks in June were super busy teaching and the past few weeks have flown by as my days are truly split between running the Sales/Marketing/Education of ICE Resin and my kids who are home on summer break. Our company — Susan and mine’s — has been growing so quickly. It’s exciting to nurture the business plan we put into place and see it come to fruition. For all entrepreneurs who dream of owning a successful business, I can tell you it’s no different in many ways than being a parent and working hard to care for, manage, nudge, wrangle and pour every ounce of energy into the birth and nurture of your ideas.

Jen Cushman Journal Page

An interesting thing that’s happened to me more than few times in the past year are the questions from fellow artists seeking direction on making a full time career from their art. Honestly, I cringe a tad inside when someone approaches me on the topic. It’s not that I don’t like talking about it, it’s just that doing this full time can be really, really hard. While the world admires and appreciates authentic creativity, there’s still a schism for many of being able to pay one’s mortgage and life expenses solely from one’s art. It’s by no means insurmountable, it can just be difficult in the beginning because there are a lot of steps to take before opportunities begin to roll.

That said. I thought maybe it was time to sit down at my computer and share a little bit of hard-won advice I recently sent to one of our incredible artists on the ICE Resin Creative Team who reached out to me. Entire volumes can be written on artistic success, but here’s my 2 cents of where to begin. I’ve never written this publicly, but bits and pieces have come up in conversations with fellow artists over the years.

First, as cliche as it sounds, follow your heart. There is no one in the world who knows you better than you. Even in the midst of times of seemingly total confusion, it’s YOU who knows your deepest dreams, secrets and fears. Only you know your boundaries; the limits of what you’re willing to do (and more importantly not do) to have a successful career.

I found that when I first decided being an artist/writer/teacher is what I wanted to do that it helped to keep a journal. Not an art journal with paint and drawings and pretty doodles. A down-an-dirty journal to just start writing thoughts in. Write down everything in your life that you are really good it. Everything! These are your strengths, your natural-born gifts. Your strengths are the pillars you build your business upon. Feel in your heart how good it feels to know how amazing you are. Own it!

Ok, now for the hard part. Write down everything that you find challenging with your life. Stick to skills, rather than circumstances. Circumstances can get us into a mode of victimization where we give our power away to others. Skills you’re lacking are easier to deal with because you can either A. Learn them or B. Find someone who can help you. Here’s another important tip. If the other person has great skills you want/need, you are going to have to PAY them or BARTER with them. Sure these folks probably love you and will do it anyways but why not recognize their good karma and applaud them for moving so confidentially in the direction of their dreams. This exercise is not for the feint of heart. In order for it to really work, you must look at your stuff, honestly and directly. Own it! When I realized I have the power to change my life by taking responsibility for my thoughts, feelings and actions, I learned how amazing everyone’s lives truly are.

Got this? Ok, next is to step back and think about what you learned by gathering this type of intel on yourself. Once you’ve had some time to see things a little more clearly, go ahead and write down your dreams/goals. Be very specific. Dream the biggest dream for yourself that you can feel in your heart. Here’s the thing. You have to believe it can happen to you. If you don’t feel worthy of it, how will you draw it to you?

Now make a business plan. Do one small thing every single day (Monday through Friday is my reality, as I try to reserve weekends for family) that moves you forward in the direction of your dreams. If you find yourself doing all of these things and nothing seems to work, all I can tell you next is to get out of the house, off the computer/smartphone and off social media. Volunteer for something you believe in (it doesn’t have to be art related). Make time to connect with people. I fully believe it is the human connection, in the sharing of our stories, that makes magic happen. Small sparks can become large bonfires with a little bit of oxygen and proximity of other forms of matter as fuel.

This is by no means a complete list or road map to success. It’s what’s worked for me so far. I share it now because it feels like the right thing to do. Also because I need to step back again for a while and enjoy the sweet, fleeting summer days before I’m back on the road for CHA, Art Unraveled and CREATE Chicago. I have more samples to make and it’s time to get into my studio and stop procrastinating.

Here’s wishing all of you a very Artful summer!