Your camera and your heart

2Bellamonth4I'm so looking forward to this coming Wednesday evening (Dec. 2) for a couple of reasons:

1. I am doing something completely by myself for myself

2. I'm going to learn some new tips to improve my photography skills

The Phoenix Art Museum is hosting Photographer Nick Kelsh, author of the book How to Photography Your Baby as part of its free "In Focus" series. I heart the Phoenix Art Museum and have been a member for the last decade. Yes, I live a few hours north of the Valley, but I seem to hand over my member dues each year without hesitation. The free monthly lecture series, not to mention the children's events, are well worth the 75 bucks a year.

Kelsh is sharing some of his inspiration behind his most memorable photos of the past four decades. Called What Was I Thinking?, he promises to share some of his most important life lessons. In 40 years of taking a photos, I'm hoping to learn a lot in a mere 90 minutes.

When I saw the Art Museum's monthly flyer, I immediately called Grandma and asked if she could watch baby so I could attend the lecture. Being a good Grandma, she immediately said "Yes!" I next called one of my best girlfriends and asked her to pick up my son from school and watch him until dad gets home from work. Another affirmative. Gotta love a good support system!

I'll let you know how the lecture goes. However, I have to warn you, I'm not the most neutral of reviewers right now. Being the mom of a 4-month-old, juggling work/marriage/parenting and a new baby, I'm thrilled to lock the bathroom door and get 5 minutes to myself. The thought of 90 whole minutes sitting in a room of adults, listening to stimulating conversation might just be too much for my fragile psyche to handle.  

Here's a recent photo I took of my baby girl. Unfortunately, it was a dark morning in the woods with very little natural light coming in the windows. I had to use my flash, which makes everything look harsh. But I did follow one of Walsh's rules: Get close with your camera and your heart.

Welcome to my new online home

JenSorenzeDoor1A new blog. A blank canvas. A world of possibility awaits, just like when I open a new Word document on my computer and hope sentences flow effortlessly from my brain to my keyboard. Or when I sit at my new-to-me (in reality old-and-beat-up) 9-foot long table I've turned into my jeweler's bench and stare at a blank piece of metal and a box of found objects. Or even when I sit at the smaller table in my studio where all my paper, inks, stamps, embossing powders, Glimmer Mist, paints, etc. patiently wait for me to get the mojo flowing.

I'm excited about taking a step forward with a sense of wonder. Like Dorothy and her faithful pal Toto skipping along the Yellow Brick Road, I've placed my new home on virtual ground and am ready for adventure.

Workshops & Classes

CHA Winter 2011: Jan 29-Feb 1 in Los Angeles. Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin will have a booth at the Winter Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show and I’ll be doing ICE Resin® demos every day of the show. I’ll also be participating in a Roundtable discussion with my fellow CHA Designer Members. More to come on this later.

ADORN ME: Houston, Texas March 29 an 30, 2011. I’ll be teaching a 2-evening workshop altering papers with color, texture, stamps and inclusions to create your own paste papers for jewelry and mixed media projects. Night two, we’ll be turning those papers into a gorgeous stacked resin ring.

ART AND SOUL New Orleans:  July 7-10, 2011. I’ll be teaching 2 classes using ICE Resin®. The first is a two-evening workshop called Label It! Non Traditional Bezel forms for Resin. This classes is based on my article in the Gifts Issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine.

I’m also teaching a 2-day intensive ICE Resin® class with Barbe Saint John. Our class called Resin, Etch, Torch is a great primer of some techniques that will up the ante on your jewelry making skills considerably.

Sample Artwork

Rather than posting a series of photos, I’ve created a multimedia montage of some of my work. I can’t seem to choose between jewelry and paper arts, so I flit from one to another, working in my studio on whatever the creative muses send my way on any given day.

My artwork has been called a lot of things, but a few words always seem to land my way. Colorful, fun, unusual, different (now, is that a compliment?). I prefer the words fresh, fun, great use of color, quirky, uplifting, whimsical. All it means in a nutshell is “Life is Too Short for Serious Art.”


JenCushmanI’m a natural storyteller. A journalist of 20 years, I’m a collector of phrases and photographs. I fell in love with fine art when I spent a summer in Paris studying French during my junior year of college. It took nearly a decade, however, for my passions to coalesce. After a few years specializing in the visual arts as a writer/editor for various magazines, I realized there was a place in her heart that longed to create. After taking classes in every medium imaginable, I found my niche in altered art.

I’m drawn to the imperfect, the quirky, the funky, the artsy and the authentic; be it people or art or objects. I’m a self-taught mixed media artist, jewelry and paper arts instructor and independent writer. 

As an independent writer, I produced a paper arts column for Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion Magazine. The very first “Paper, Scissors, Crop” column appeared in the April/May 2005 issue and ended with the last issue of the magazine of Dec./Jan 2009. It was a thrill to seek out talented artists to create incredible original projects for the publication. I truly miss this magazine.

However, I’m testament to the saying, “When One Door Closes, Another One Opens”. Before the magazine folded, I made the decision to join the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) as a Designer Member to pursue my passion for art and design. A short time later, I joined Susan Lenart Kazmer and ICE Resin as her Director of Education and Marketing.

I was also asked to begin writing a business advice column for artists that I named “Art Chooses You.” I write 18 columns a year on this subject for and Belle Armoire Jewelry.

Life is Good! I get to do what I love writing, creating, teaching and making art.

I can be reached by email at

Why Get Real?

 A bit of history:


Get Real Scrapbooking is a passion of mine. In 2006, I was creating art projects about finding one’s authentic self though sincere scrapbooking. The project was about living life joyfully, developing deep and truthful relationships with family and friends, knowing and honoring yourself (strengths and weaknesses), listening to the small voice within and following your heart even when everyone around you thinks you’re off your nut.


For me, being real is my path. Scrapping real was the art form (at the time) that I chose to document and celebrate my life and my loved ones. When asked to give a one-sentence explanation of Get Real Scrapbooking, the simplest answer I came up with is “Scrapbooking for the Soul.” I created a six-week series class based on my ideas and designs for my favorite scrapbooking store, Paper and Metal Scrappers, in Payson, Arizona.


Though Brenda and Barbara, the very hip, very supportive owners of the store, loved the idea and were willing to take a chance on me, we were all a bit dubious as to how people would respond. The class immediately filled with 11 women willing to take a journey with me to scrap real.  There was a waiting list to boot. Word spread and I taught a second group of ladies my Get Real Scrapbooking philosophy.


I began a WordPress blog under the same name, and kept it going until July 2009. Two things happened that caused me to stop the blog. First, my beautiful daughter was born and I knew I wouldn’t be able to update often. Also, I felt my Get Real Scrapbooking blog had simply run its course.


I stopped scrapbooking shortly after teaching my classes because I had seriously decided to start a new career in mixed media. That meant found object jewelry and paper arts college and assemblage.


The reason I wished to incorporate this into my new blog is that as a journalist, I appreciate a sense of personal history. It’s easy to erase, change or forget about things in the digital age.


I still live a very “Real” life philosophy. Sometimes, I can be a bit “too real” for some folks. Yes, we all want to put our best faces forward. We like things easy and perfect and beautiful. But life is messy. Juggling life as a work-from-home artist/writer mother, means I’ve learned to find equilibrium in the chaos.


So now I begin a new chapter in my life and and a new blog. This is my story and mine alone to tell…