My first book!

It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to write a book. I’ve been working to make the dream a reality since last Fall when I teamed up with my friend and business partner Susan Lenart Kazmer to write a technique book on ICE Resin®.

In addition to my normal duties for Susan, I locked myself up in my studio/office for weeks on end making art and writing the chapters of the book. I also decided to do my own photography of the jewelry pieces I made in the hopes that I could take my skills to a new level.

It’s all come together in Explore, Create, Resinate: Mixed Media Techniques Using ICE Resin®, which debuts in a little over a week at our incredible booth at the CHA Winter 2011 trade show and also at our booth at the Tucson Gem and Mineral To Bead True Blue Show.

The decision to self-publish wasn’t an easy one. I had been working on and off with a book editor on an idea for the past year. While I admire this editor tremendously, as well as her publishing company, there was some kind of glitch that kept my idea from turning into reality. I don’t place any blame whatsoever because I realize the timing was just not right. There were things I needed to discover by going through the self-publishing process. I truly hope to one day work with this editor and learn from her, so I consider this a chapter in my life that hasn’t been written yet.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over the years it’s that when things aren’t meant to be, they just don’t flow, no matter how hard I try to get them to fit into place. I used to think there was no such thing as a square peg in a round hole. If I was determined enough, I could force any shape peg into any shape hole. Life experience, however, has taught me differently and I now know that many things are beyond my control and its really OK.

When I spoke to my friends about self-publishing, they encouraged me to go for it. My background as a writer and editor helps tremendously. Then when Susan gave me the green light, along with her love and encouragement, I knew I was on the right path. Things fell easily into place. The final piece of the puzzle was finding Dawn DeVris Sokol through a colleague’s recommendation. She is crazy talented and her skills took exactly what was in my head and turned it into magic on paper.

There are so many gorgeous images in this book. I have over 18 new pieces of jewelry, along with Susan’s adornment and the ladies who have become friends and family to me the past 20 months; the Susan Lenart Kazmer Design Team. Jane Salley, Barbe Saint John, Kristen Robinson, Deryn Mentock and Kecia Deveney made some stunning works of art jewelry using all the techniques taught in the book.

For now, Explore, Create, Resinate is being introduced at the wholesale shows. Once we come back, it will be made available for purchase. More details to come soon, I promise.

I’m also excited that I have my first book signing and demo at the wonderful store Paper and Metal Scrappers in my hometown. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is the first in many more book signing opportunities to come.

A Bird in the Hand

Jen Cushman Assemblage
I'm gearing up for the annual CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) Winter Trade Show in a few weeks. This year, it's moved to Los Angeles. Like most folks, I shall miss Anaheim and being so close to downtown Disney and within walking distance of The Cheesecake Factory for yummy dinners after a long day on the show floor.

As a Designer Member of CHA, I usually participate in whatever designer opportunity arises to put a piece of my art somewhere on the show floor. Last year, it was in the Eco Lounge and this year, the designer showcase area is called Craft Studio.

I enjoyed the little twist to this year's theme. Designers were given a craft product to work with and had to build their design around it, using the product for the majority of the design work. Hallelujah, I was given wire to work with. I can freehand just about anything with wire, which is what I did with the wire nest and the little bird. I had fun making his cute little feet and eye.

This is my sneek peek of the project. It's an assemblage called "A Bird in the Hand." I've had this very cool wooden cigar box sitting around my studio for more than a year that my friend Robin gave me. I wanted to pair it with this great wooden hand I bought for next to nothing on Ebay. Wire and ICE Resin® (of course), and viola! a nature-themed assemblage.

I know I've neglected my blog a lot lately. I can tell you now that it's because I was writing a book. New art, new photos and lots of information about ICE Resin®. Stay tuned, more news to come soon!