What happens in Vegas…

Stays in Vegas. Ok, not so much. What’s really happening in Las Vegas this summer is the fabulous Art and Soul mixed-media art retreat where I’m teaching three classes. The event is June 14-18 and registration is currently open.

art and soul Las Vegas

Art and Soul Las Vegas page graphic of some exciting art samples and workshops.

Glenny does an amazing job putting on her inspiring events. The people who attend are all so excited about their art and learning techniques to take it to the next level. It really is a bucket list thing for me to teach at Art and Soul, and I can’t wait to get to the gorgeous Green Valley resort to start making all kinds of mixed-media jewelry.

art and soul butterfly and resin necklace

I’ll be teaching a class from a project in my book Explore, Create, Resinate; Mixed Media Techniques Using ICE Resin. It’s one of my favorite images from the book where I use a real butterfly wing, some French text, a little special technique to get the wings to “pop” and encase them in ICE. The entire necklace is made by hand too, and that means the rolled metal bail, the resin paper beads and proper attachments of metal wire to silk fibers to create a gorgeous and strong necklace. It is so much more than a resin class, it’s also a metalsmithing basics class too. You can read more about my Eternally Beautiful Butterfly Necklace class here.

jen Cushman mica cuff bracelet

I’ve also developed a brand new class – Mica and Metal, Oh My! – for Art and Soul Las Vegas for a mixed-media cuff. These mica charms are so much fun to create, and can be used in jewelry or other mixed-media applications like on journals or assemblages. Students will learn to cut the cuff shape from metal sheet (nickel or bronze), stamp it with metal stamps for a sentiment of their choice, anneal it and form it. We’ll also be properly attaching the paper and mica charms to the cuff as well. Students can also save the charms for other projects and create a simple formed cuff if they so choose.

Jen Cushman publishing graphic

Lastly, lots of folks have asked me to teach a class on the publishing process. This class called Marketing Youself and Your Art to Editors covers the nuts-and-bolts basics about writing queries, emailing editors, showing your work in its best light, coming up with article ideas and following through with deadlines. If you’re an artist who wants to talk professionally with editors and learn how to not only get your foot in the door, but stay there, this will be a valuable class for you.

In addition to my classes, I’m excited to be sharing a room with my very dear friend and fellow artist/instructor Kari McKnight Holbrook. She’s teaching 3 great classes, including my personal favorite called Rockin Resin Reliquaries using what else??? ICE Resin.

Be sure to check out the retreat and also poke around to see how cool the resort is. What a great summer vacation to immerse yourself in art and also be inspired by gorgeous surroundings. It may still be Vegas, but its pretty far from the Strip. I’m planning on signing up for a mini spa session too. Who’s joining me?

Instagram tour of Historic Downtown Steamboat Springs

Bronze Ben

Ben would not approve of me spending my pennies shopping Downtown Steamboat Springs

truck full of bumper stickers

Proof that some people can't stop at just one.

beautiful cowboy boots

Dancing through the world in rose-colored cowgirl boots.

surfer dude skier

So confused...Southern California surfer dude starts skiing?

My son thought it would be funny to try on her hat and I loved the unique angle.

chinese kitty

My daughter wanted to pet the big kitty

Every snowflake is unique

Gorgeous inspirational video

I Love Love LOVE this video by Ingrid Michaelson. The graphics are gorgeous and the imagery so inspiring. Every time I watch it, it makes me want to get to work in my studio to make something beautiful.

Here’s hoping it inspires you as much as it does me. Have an Artful Day!

Ingrid Michaelson “Maybe”

All boy, but still my boy

I'm gonna go eat worms

My nephew Adam trying to gross out his sisters and cousins by eating a big fat worm that was soon it meet its fate anyway at the fishing hole.

We went on a family camping trip this past weekend to Roosevelt Lake, which is near Phoenix. This has become an annual Spring Break weekend retreat with the whole family…hubby and me and our 2 kids, my sister-in-law and her husband and their 4 kids and 2 grandkids and my mother-in-law, who is the youngest and fittest great-grandma you’ve ever seen. There’s a total of 13 of us when we get together (which also happens to be my lucky number).

We’re one of those blended families. When my sister-in-law and her husband married, he had three children  — 13, 10 and 8. My husband and I had just filled out paperwork to become a Big Brother Couple. We wanted a boy to nurture and take places. We were just getting ready to go through the home study when my “new” nieces and nephew came into our lives. Without going into great detail, let’s just say these kids needed some extra love, so we decided that they were with us for a reason and turned our attention to them. For a couple of years there, we had the younger two nearly every weekend.

Adam was a challenge. One moment he was in my lap trying to snuggle and the next he was causing commotion to get my husband and I fighting so he could feel more secure in our normally quiet and peaceful home. He had pretty severe separation anxiety, and always wanted to push the world away before anyone or anything could get close enough to hurt him. He came to live with us for 3 months when he was 16 and we got very close. Even now, when I look at him, I see that sweet-faced boy who crawled in my lap like a baby every chance he could.

He made some poor choices in his life, and, unfortunately, at 23 is still making them. It makes me sad because he’s smart, funny, kind and sensitive. I was happy he choose to take part in our family camping trip this year. There’s still a special bond between the two of us and I love him. No matter what. Even if he’s still all BOY and spent the better part of Saturday doing and saying things to gross out his sisters. The cousins, all boys except for my sweet little daughter had a better time because Adam was there with all his energy and silliness.

No paparazzi says my son. Actually he just doesn't let me take pictures any more.

Speaking of boys, here’s a picture I took this weekend of my sweet son. He’s 12 and no longer allows me to take photos of him. Of course, he has to play it cool around Adam too.

Thanks for taking a moment for a personal blog post. I don’t have too many new and interesting things to write about because my life is still lots of work on the book. The days just go…poof!

Conquering Fear in Business

I was recently asked by Melissa Bolton to contribute to her ‘Inspiritment: A collection of affirmations from the web’s most encouraging virtuosos” for a really wonderful program she’s doing on her website to offer free articles and advice to women who are starting their own online businesses. It was quite flattering to be considered an “encouraging virtuoso.” Though I don’t think of myself this way, I do try to ensure that my columns are helpful advice with uplifting messages.

I don’t wish to take anything away from Melissa’s wonderful website Designer Brands, but I thought it might be good to include this content on my personal blog as well. Please note the Marianne Williamson quote at the bottom refers to God. While I prescribe to the notion that it’s unwise to talk religion or politics in a public forum, I thought this might be a good time to let you know that I consider myself to be a spiritual person. While I do not subscribe to any one belief system, I definitely believe in God, or what I like to simply call Something Bigger and Greater Than Me.


Conquering Fear in Business

by Jen Cushman

One of the most difficult parts of being a successful business woman is handling  self-doubt. Self-destructive thoughts, such as “am I good enough?” or “am I smart enough” or even “am I talented enough” are bound to loop through our brains. This seems to come most often when we are spending our hard-earned savings, or worse, a credit line to purchase the multitude of things one needs to begin a business.

I have found that shaking these negative thoughts is imperative because one cannot go confidentially in the direction of her dreams when riddled with fear and doubt. Instead of giving into these destructive thoughts, I change my perspective, reminding myself that what I’m doing is following my heart, my passion and my purpose on this earth. Where I put my focus is what I create.

For example, when I feel fear rising inside of me because I’m worried about not having enough money, or not making a looming deadline, I take a couple of deep, cleansing breaths and visualize the positive outcome I wish to create. I dream the bigger dream, and hold that thought in my heart and mind. Then I immediately go to work, completing the physical steps necessary to make that positive outcome my reality to the best of my ability. It takes some time and training to master this visualization technique, but it’s been so helpful in getting me through the bumpy spots of my business.

When I first decided I wanted to become an artist, author, designer and educator, a friend of mine shared the following Marianne Williamson quote with me. Her powerful words gave me strength. I hope they do the same for you:

More on Step by Step

I spent two days last week starting the step-out photos of my book. I know it’s shocking, but I’m doing things a little differently than the norm. Rather than going to North Light Books photo studio in Cincinnati for a week, I’m meeting with my editor in Phoenix to do the shoot.

Behind the scenes of a book photo shoot

Me and Tonia going over one of the projects after a full day of shooting

My dear friend and co-worker, Carol LaValley is shooting my step-by-step pictures. It’s familiar territory for us, since last winter we were working together to do the same thing with Explore, Create, Resinate. She did such a fabulous job that I saw no reason to not work together again. I’m thankful my editor Tonia Davenport is so open and willing to allow experimentation. In many ways, the process is more difficult because we don’t have the fancy, fully equipped photo studio to work in, but all of us being located in the same place seems to make up for the rest.

We worked two days straight last week and got a little less than halfway done. Next week, we’re back at it to finish up. It’s not difficult to do per say, but it does take time to record all that information both in photography and written form. All steps and directions are checked and re-checked to ensure readers are getting 100% accuracy, and that’s a good thing.

I’m still writing for the next few weeks. After that, the manuscript goes to Tonia for editing and the photos begin the design process. The cover is being designed as I write this, and its coming along beautifully.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to balance my regular work duties with writing the book, along with social media, class proposals and my columns, not to mention my son’s Spring Break right around the corner. Frankly, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. I’m at the point where I’m going to have use that big, nasty word – NO – pretty soon.

Do you ever feel this way?

Time to unplug, turn off the phone, let the world do its thing while I finish the task at hand. Why is this so hard?