Ebook winner picked!

Hi again everyone. Thanks to all of you who came to my blog to check out the post on the free giveaway. Even bigger thanks and hugs to those of you who took the time to leave a comment for a chance to win the new Susan Lenart Kazmer LLC ebooks by our incredible 2011-2012 Creative Team of artists.

I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments about what inspires them. I was particularly touched by Lisa Mathews who said she is inspired by an idea, meaning the initial concept of the idea itself because those words made me feel as though we’re kindrid spirits. I’ve written columns about this exact same thing in the past and Lisa’s comment inspired me to scribble down some thoughts for one of my upcoming column for Belle Armoire Jewelry articles. Thanks Lisa!

Also it was amazing to read the kind words many of you said giving myself and Susan and the entire ICE Resin/SLK LLC team credit for some of your inspiration. As an artist-based company, we attempt to surround ourselves with other artists who deeply and passionately believe in their work as much as we do our own. Creativity breeds creativity…

Onto the lucky winner via random number generator. Number 19 (starting from the bottom up as in first to comment until the last) is Barbara M. who is always inspired by color. Me too Barbara! I’ve sent you an email with instructions on getting your free download. Check your mail.

As I’m on a plane early tomorrow for California and teaching Friday-Sunday, I will run the next giveaways for Volumes 2 and 3 next week. Keep an eye on my Facebook and here for the info.

As always, here’s wishing you a truly Artful day!

E-Book Giveaway!

Since I’m heading off to teach at Seaside this weekend for Charity Wings, I’m feeling quite charitable myself today. Did you know that ICE Resin now has a three-volume collection of Ebooks filled to the brim with amazing projects done this past year by the 2011-12 Creative Team? Oh my goodness, inspiration oozes from the digital pages of these books.

So here is the deal. Leave a comment here about what inspires YOU to make your art. I will choose one lucky winner by random number generator to receive a free download of Imagine, Create, Explore (get it? ICE) Vol. 1.

You have until 10 p.m. AZ time Wednesday Nov. 28th to enter.

After this one, we’ll move on to Vol. 2 and Vol. 3.

Photo tip for rings

One of the things I’m most proud of with my new book is that my wonderful editor and the kind folks at F&W (North Light Books) allowed me to do my own photography. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you might remember that while I was in the middle of shooting my beauty shots (what publishers call the main photos of your art pieces/projects), I was second guessing my ability to play professional photographer.

I’ve been fascinated with photography since collage when I took two semesters and learned how to do it from shooting manual pics (which one had to do with a 35mm camera back then) all the way to darkroom development of the images. I consider myself an amateur photographer, but since I did all of my pics for my first book, I thought it would be fun to do it all over again.

It was A LOT of work. I’m not sure at the moment if I will do it again for my third book, but for now, I’m happy when I see Making Metal Jewelry and look at the way I styled my pics and shot them.

I know many of you who follow my blog make your own beautiful jewelry. One of the hardest things to shoot well are rings. They never look as good laying on their sides, and it’s difficult to get them to stand up straight. I wanted to share a tip I learned during my process of shooting jewelry for publication. Use a small dot of modeling clay or a little bit of that sticky stuff by 3M that you use to hang pictures in your kids rooms or on the fridge.

Be sure to use natural light and a neutral background surface (I have a small set of white ceramic serving plates that I love to style with because they are neutral but shiny so they can catch the light, which allows the metal to sparkle in the photo). An example of this tip is seen here. I rolled up some modeling clay, stuck it to the bottom of my ring and then to the plate, set up the area in my studio that I use for photography and here are the results.   For this little tutorial, I didn’t pull out my lighting tent that I nearly always use when shooting for publication because well, frankly, I’m being a little lazy. Hopefully though there is enough here with these pics to give you the gist.

Here’s another tip, when you shoot your pictures you might see a little bit of the clay poking through. There is where it’s good if you know the basics of  Photoshop Elements or another photo editing program because you can zoom in close and erase those little protruding bits of clay. I left the clay in these photographs that I would normally whisk away in Photoshop so you can see how much I used and how I placed it on the plate for the rings to stand up correctly.

I made these ocean-themed rings using real shells and a sealer cost of resin for Seaside Soiree, which I’m teaching at Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in San Diego. If you are local and want to see me, please stop by the vendor fair Sunday afternoon. I will have ICE Resin products to sell along with some of my jewelry. The art fair is free and open to the public. Elena and the girls will even be putting out sprinkled cupcakes and lemonade for free refreshments too.

Also — just so you know. These prong rings are super simple to make even though they look like complicated metalwork. Why? Well because I used the cast white bronze Art Mechanique  rings available for purchase on our company website. Check them out!


Feeling much gratitude

Jen Cushman and Jenn Mason

Jen and Jenn taking some pics before my filming begins.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’m feeling much gratitude for my experiences last week. As you may know, I spent a couple of spectacular days in the Interweave/F&W studio in historic downtown Loveland, Colorado. I was there to film a dvd workshop on mold making and casting for Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine.

As if the filming wasn’t enough, I was able to do this hand-in-hand with one of my best friends, the amazing Kristen Robinson. Kristen was there to film a resin jewelry dvd for CPS magazine and is also one of their 2013 DVD Workshop artists. Being able to film a dvd and have Kristen beside me was like birthday and Christmas all rolled up together.

Our director for the shoot was the incredibly talented Jenn Mason, editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors and a pretty kick booty mixed-media artist as well. It was really fun to get to hang out with her for a few days. She is actually a very funny person with a great sense of humor. Joking and giggling is always part of her process. I believe it’s how she manages to shake off some of the stresses of her very  high-pressure job.

My favorite part of the shooting was when Kristen and I got to go into the prop department and pick items that spoke to us to create the backdrop of our sets. All of the artists were asked to bring samples of our work, but then we had an entire room of goodies to choose from to help the set look more like our home studios.

Kristen’s set is simply gorgeous! It looks just like her — cream and lace and vintage and oh so pretty! We got it set up and displayed in about 20 minutes and then she started to roll. Her entire taping, plus some extras that were added for some future promo material, ran about 3 hours.

It was my turn right after lunch. We stripped down Kristen’s set and put up mine in the same amount of time. In the prop room, I chose and old door, a vintage shoe stretcher, an old box with rusty nails poking through, a crackled white chair, burlap sacks and then pops of color with glass and ceramic items. I loved how we literally went from one visual extreme to another in less than 20 minutes.

Ready for my close up…

After some photos of the set, it was my turn to begin. I have to tell you the truth. The first 5 minutes of filming are miserable. You can’t help but be nervous and stiff and feel as though wads of cotton are in your mouth. My voice sounded tinny and my movements seemed so theatrical. However, very quickly I found myself getting into the groove. My “student” for the day was Johnny Depp on the camera monitor. The next thing I know I was simply doing what I do…talking about my love of found objects and teaching how to make molds and do castings. Knowing that everything will be edited and that everyone in the room was there to make me look as good as I possibly can helped tremendously. Now, there is nothing but excitement to see how the project all comes together.

Then Wednesday, Kristen and I had the day to ourselves to do a little shopping and then a long talk about CHA and ICE Resin business. Of course, we had to get a little antiquing in there as well. Always on the hunt for treasures to mold and cast!

The plane home was uneventful. I took Thursday off to catch up on some family things and then I spent Friday teaching locally. It’s amazing how the days just seem to fly by. I had planned to update my blog Thursday, but time just slipped on by.

I hope you enjoy the pics of the trip and filming. No worries, I will be sure to post more about what month the dvd will be released next year, etc. as I get updates. For now, I hope you, too, are feeling the gratitude for your life and all the wonderful things you experience on a daily basis.