How to Get Your Artwork Published


I just put the finishing touches on my last .pdf document for my upcoming workshop called The Pitch, The Project, The Paycheck that I’m teaching this coming Tuesday evening at Art Unraveled in Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve put a lot of thought and time into this lecture-style workshop because I truly wish to teach people the ins and outs of publishing and how to get their artwork featured in magazines. There is nothing quite as thrilling at that first time you pick up one of your favorite art magazines and see your work and words there in all its glory. 

As many of you know, I began my career as a newspaper reporter and, later, an editor. I really enjoyed my decade-long career doing it, but don’t regret for one moment leaving the daily grind to be a mom. When I left The Arizona Republic, I thought I was going to be an at-home mom who only occasionally did freelance. The Universe had other plans for me, as I was fortunate to take the first six months of my son’s life off work and return to a healthy freelance writing career. I was trying to add up how many articles I’ve written in 22 years and, well, I had to stop and leave it at “bunches”. All this really means is that I realize I have some good information to give and I hope to help others with my class on Tuesday, and hopefully more workshops to come.

Here’s a little preview of what I’m talking about: How to approach editors; how to write a good query email; how to find the “hook” of your story that makes editors, and ultimately readers, respond to your work; how to handle photography and how to take the right kind of photo to sell your story; editor pet peeves and how to avoid them; handling deadlines; writing a press release for important events/awards in your life; marketing your articles when their published and a lots, lots more.

There are still spots left in my class. I’m secretly hoping some of my fellow instructors sign up for it Tuesday evening. I know I’ve had more than my fair share of these types of questions and conversations at past retreats. So many of these amazing creative people have shared so much with me over the years, I would love that chance to give back a little to them.

More Moving and a Sneak Peek

Life has been busy the past few weeks with the impending move. I’ve spent the better part of this past week purging and packing my studio. It’s been an interesting outer and inner excavation as I go through my boxes and stuff, accessing if I will ever truly have to time to make X, Y or Z art project that I envisioned for the corresponding object(s).

I think being a mixed-media artist automatically means I’m a hoarder of unusual stuff. One of my favorite ways to spend free time is to scour thrift stores and garage sales treasure hunting for interesting items that I can re-purpose from their worn out and “worthless” state into something unexpected and creative. I know I’m not alone in this obsession, as I have met so many women and men at art retreats across the county who share my affliction. I’ll be thrift shopping and spot something and think, “Oohhhhh this is going to make a fabulous light fixture or assemblage or whatever.” I take it home and do my best to strike while the idea is fresh. However, writing the book and all of the other things we have going on with ICE Resin has put a serious dent in my free time, so I’m unearthing too many unrealized art projects these past few days.

Making Metal Jewelry book photo

Since I’m not quite ready to put photos of my studio in its chaotic, moving state on my blog, I thought it might be fun to every once in a while publish a sneak peek photo of my new book, Making Metal Jewelry. It’s still in the last of the design phase right now. My editor tells me I will have final author review of it next week and then…off to the printers. The date it will be in bookstores across the county is Dec. 13th. Again, Lucky 13!

This little pendant pictured here is one of the “filler” pieces I made. When the writing is done, all the photos are taken and the book is finally laid out in its “thumbnail” format, there will be some holes that need to be filled. It’s up to the author and the editor to decide what to do. I was fortunate that I only had three holes for the entire book, so I quickly whipped out a few “variations” on the main projects to give readers additional design options.

There are a few things I love about this little pendant. First, I made the decision to not flux my sterling silver wire when drawing a bead. Flux helps wire form perfect little balls when dipped into hot flame. However, I really like the reticulation holes and dents made during the melting process so I rarely take the extra few seconds to apply flux. The other thing is that I made the bead caps larger than the crystal focal bead and only lightly dapped the discs. This gives the piece an asymmetrical look and allows the discs to spin, rather than tightly cup the bead.

I don’t mention any of this in the book because it doesn’t seem relevant, but it’s fun to talk about here. I know from my years of profiling artists, I was always interested in their process and why they made the artistic decisions they did. What I learned is that while many artists work intuitively, there is always a measure of control, or a purpose when it comes to utilizing a particular technique. I find the same to be true in my own work.

Next week, I’ll be in the “new” old house. My computer will be down for a few days because hubby is taking this opportunity to back up my hard drive and wipe it clean. A digital fresh start. I’ll be out of sight, out of mind for a while on the blog.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read. Here’s wishing you a truly Artful week (or two) until I see you again.

Count Down to Art Unraveled

With the move and the changes, I have a lighter schedule this year at Art Unraveled with 2 evening classes. This is the first time I’m teaching both of these workshops though, so I’m pretty jazzed.

I seem to get lot of questions from folks wondering about the publishing process. They want to know how to submit ideas, who to submit to, how to write the letter, should they send a letter or an email? Also what to say, how to get their idea to stand out from the crowd, etc. And that’s just the very beginning. I’m teaching a workshop called The Pitch, The Project, The Paycheck to teach how to approach the publishing process — mostly magazine articles — from A to Z. I’m cramming more than 20 years of working in the newspaper and magazine industry into an evening workshop. I know it’s going to be valuable for some folks who really want to get their work out into the world, but just don’t know how to begin or what the process is.

I’m also teaching 1 Mold 3 Mediums is an introduction to mold making. I developed this class because I have so many unique found object treasures in my studio that are hard to part with. When I learned how to make molds and recreate these objects in various mediums, I became a much happier artist. Over the years, I’ve made texture molds  and molds using just interesting parts of my found objects, etc. In addition to learning to make the mold, how to get a good impression and undercuts and other tips, we’ll also be doing all kinds of lovely surface treatments to our cast pieces. The addition of color and carving, mark making and other embellishing is what helps these casts to come alive!

So if you happen to be in Phoenix on Wednesday, August 1 from 6-9 p.m. and want to learn about mold making and casting with resin, resin clay and paper clay, come on down. There are spots available.

I’m also going to be having a table at the Saturday Artist’s Fair with my art work. I have a lot of really great earrings for sale right now, along with necklaces and other pieces. I’m planning to work on a few more house encaustics to sell, but we’ll see how quickly I can get my new studio up and running.

I always adore Art Unraveled every year. I plan to pop in at least every day to see my friends and breathe all that creative air that comes from such a happy community. If you happen to read my blog and see me there, please be sure to grab me and say hi. I’d love to hear from you.




A New House Encaustic

Well the move is finally upon us. The contractor, a very dear friend of ours, has been staining concrete floors, removing wallpaper, painting wall and trim and more for the past month. He is still not quite finished, but the time is upon us that we must get to the Valley and get settled before the school year starts. Strangely enough, our kids in Arizona resume school the first week in August. It’s crazy to me to send them back in 113 degree weather.

Since we are keeping our lovely mountain home that we’ve had for the past 9 years, I’m starting fresh when it comes to filling and decorating the “new” old house. I’m doing it on the cheap, which is cool because I’ve been dreaming about all the artsy, funky things I plan to do. Not sure how I’m going to find the time to paint furniture and re-purpose all the objects on my list, but that’s an entirely different blog. I decided the look I’m going for this time around is Flea Market+Industrial+Artsy Chic. We’ll see how well I pull it off, and I plan to share my decorating re-dos on my blog.

The muse danced into my brain the weekend we returned from vacation. Earlier in the month, I had hubby cut some house shapes for me from panels I picked up for pennies at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Use Store we have in town. I have a hallway between the living room and kitchen that I need to display some art. I pulled out my encaustic supplies, my patterned paper scrap stash and brunt umber paint. I’ve had this triptych running around in my head for the past month and just wanted to see it come to fruition.

Encaustic by Jen Cushman

The three houses are simple mark making with pops of blue and pink color. Despite the fact I kept them flat, there is a lot of yummy texture on the panels with the wax. When the wax was soft right after I painted it on the boards, I took the back of my paintbrush and scratched into it, carving as deep down as I could so I could rub burnt umber deeply into the crevices.

Encaustic by Jen Cushman

All that’s left to do now is to apply the hangers to the back and display them on my freshly painted hallway walls. The house shape is another one of my Talismans, as it always represents the love of my family. I know I sound like a broken record, but, honestly it’s what is most important to my life and I’m grateful for them every single day. Even the days when they’re driving me crazy, which has been more than normal because it’s summer break. (grin)

Encaustic by Jen Cushman

I hope you enjoy looking a these little houses. Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day!

My Love Affair with Numbers


Here’s a not so secret fact; I love, love numbers. Like words, I sneak them into my art and use them as Talismans throughout my home decor and every day life. I’ve always loved numbers, but it was when I started making jewelry using the techniques I learned from Susan that I really started to understand the Talisman concept and how numbers can be archetypes and symbolism for our lives. I believe numbers that are important to us can also change with our circumstances. That we can grow into, and out of numbers, the same way our tastes changes and become more refined as we age.

For example, I used to always decorate in 3’s. Not only was it visually pleasing, but it represented my family. My husband, myself and our son. About a year before I became pregnant with our daughter, I started to see the number 4 everywhere. Intuitively, I began to incorporate it into almost every piece of art I made. Sometimes it would be a big and prominent 4, but most times it was just written in pencil and then covered up by the layers of medium and materials.

My favorite number for the past decade has been 13. I feel like it’s a lucky number and I like the thought of having a Lucky 13 in my life. The same time I began using 4 in my work, I also started taking a look at my love affair with the number 13. During my pregnancy, they were in just about everything I touched. So it wasn’t too astonishing that my miracle baby girl was born on Friday the 13th, completing my family of 4.

It’s always interesting to find other artists and creative folks who are drawn to numbers too. I almost always ask the question, “What’s your favorite number?” and then follow up their response with “Why?” The answers are just so interesting. I’d love to hear your response. Tell me, do you have a Talisman number?

Happy Forth of July

I sincerely hope all of my friends and family had a glorious holiday. What a perfect day for my family- visiting with relatives, a BBQ cook out with fresh-picked Ohio corn and lots of laughter and good-natured teasing like only families can do with one another. We ended the day in Wooster with an old-fashioned fireworks display.

Tomorrow is shopping at the hardware store (yay!) and antique shopping, as well as visiting Amish stores. I plan to take Instagram photos tomorrow if you are interested, follow me there.

Here’s wishing you am Artful day!