Heart Assemblage and new DVD

DDVDClayHeartWithWingsDVDcovero you love hearts? Check out what I have to say about them and also my new Clay Heart Assemblage DVD in my guest post on the Cloth, Paper, Scissors blog today. I wanted to throw in an extra bonus for hanging out with me, so I did a quick freebie tutorial over there for adding color and depth to chipboard. You can see a detail shot of it in the photo below. Yup, this is chipboard on either side of the Art Mechanique bezel designed by Susan Lenart Kazmer and filled with ICE Resin and Fire Opals.

The chipboard is made by an artist-based company that a friend of mine turned me on to called UmWow Studio. The designs are fresh and funky and the quality is awesome, as you can see on their website and blog. Dee Dee Catron, the owner is a total sweetie. If you’re planning to buy some chipboard for your mixed-media pieces, consider purchasing from them. I do! {Little tip: Iced Enamels work great on chipboard too.}

 

 

Resin Clay Heart Assemblage Detail Shot 1 Jen Cushman

 

 

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The large heart focal in this piece is resin clay. Have you ever worked with it? It’s yummy because you don’t condition it in a pasta machine like polymer and it air cures rock solid. Particularly dense pieces can take as long as 3 days to cure, but for the most part, it’s dry to the touch in 24 hours. Resin clay is often used in jewelry, but it’s a great mixed-media art material.

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Well, this concludes Jen Cushman week. (if you didn’t read Monday’s post, be sure to see my little surprise) I know it’s been a lot of updates this week for me, so thanks for hanging in there and not getting too tired of my mug everywhere.

I do want to take one last minute though to say again what a blast I had doing this. From the filming in Fort Collins, Colorado all the way to working with Cherie, the online CPS editor at the end of the process. It takes a village to support artists, and F+W/Interweave has been pretty fantastic to work with over the years. I’m truly grateful for how hard the entire team works to make myself and all its authors/artists look good. If you’ve ever wanted to write a book or film a workshop or write articles on your art in a magazine, take a good look at F+W as your future publisher.

Here’s wishing you an Artful weekend!

JenSig

Two more DVDs — out of the box upcycling

Alrighhhhhht! Today I get to tell you about two more of my brand new DVDs with Interweave and Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine.

ForkHookdvdCoverFirst the fork book hook (say that 5x fast). Yeah, I’ll admit it. I’m kinda proud of this one. Cherie Haas, Online Editor for Cloth, Paper, Scissors tells my story over on the magazine’s blog today, so be sure to hop on over there and check out what inspired this idea. What I will tell you is that I have a thing for vintage stuff. My studio is filled with objects from the past, and, like many mixed-media artists, I find satisfaction in recycling – upcycling – old things into art. The more mundane and useful the thing is, the more I enjoy making it the focal in my work. I love the old days when craftsmen put their heart into creating beautiful and useful objects. Silverware, reading glasses, buttons, tattered books, broken jewelry…(the list goes on) all make my heart skip a beat when they offer themselves to me for transformation.

Wondering how to use this sweet little Upcycled Silverware Hook ? I think it’s the perfect hanger for your purse or keys when you walk in the door. You can also use it as home decor as a hook to hang a picture from. I want to make a dozen of these and hang my necklaces from them. You can even display a jaunty old hat, but then what a shame to cover up the clever fork curl.

Fork Book Hook Full Shot Jen Cushman

 

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Mica necklace dvd cover Jen CushmanNow on to the Stamped Metal and Mica Pendant that comes from my book Making Metal Jewelry. Only it’s really a necklace and not some crazy necklace turned nightshade. How normal of me?! The thing about this piece that I really wanted to share with people is how you can easily incorporate your own photographs into wearable art. Though I used a vintage image in this project because it went with my theme, I might just as easily made this a necklace featuring my kids or my mom or my favorite pet. In my book, the main focal image is a color photograph of flowers I took at a outdoor market. The pinks and cream in that image just makes me happy. There’s lots of technique in this video too. From cutting sheet metal to stamping, wirewrapping, setting rivets, patina and more. Another part of this DVD that I’m crazy about is teaching people how to easily make their own chain link with nothing but some wire, tools, a torch and a little ingenuity.

Cooper Necklace Metal Stamping Jen Cushman

 

Metal Stamped Copper Pendant Jen Cushman

 

If you came to my blog from the Cloth, Paper, Scissors blog and you may be here for the first time, then I want to thank you. I’d love it if you took a moment to subscribe to my blog or even “like” my Facebook page. I also have Twitter and Instagram is that’s your thing too.  If you’re a subscriber to my blog, thanks for reading this and be sure to jump over to CPS next to check it out.

Also, if you are looking to take a workshop from me in person, be sure to head over to my website to see where I’m teaching this year. For all your Southern California friends, I’m sooooooo thrilled to be teaching at a new venue for me, an old hardware store turned art retreat workshop space that is perfect for intimate gatherings of students. I head out pretty soon and will be teaching at Make Art in LA April 10, 11th.

Here’s wishing you a very Artful journey!

JenSig

My new DVDs are here!

JenCushmanWeek

I have some exciting news to share. My DVDs (or digital downloads) are being released and I’m not too proud to tell you I burst into a huge grin when my hubby brought the box into my studio and I opened it up to see the cover art for the first time. Then imagine my surprise when I opened my email Saturday afternoon and saw that Cloth, Paper, Scissors dedicated March 23-29 as The Jen Cushman Week. Seriously??? I just about fell out of my chair. I had no idea that one was coming!

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Not sure if you recall, but I flew to Fort Collins, Colorado to film these one week before Christmas. Yes, you read that right…the week before Christmas. (A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do). Even though everyone over at the Interweave studio was as ready to get on their  holiday cheer as much as myself, we managed to get some good work accomplished. If you’d like to refresh your memory or see the on set pics if you haven’t yet, here’s the link to that December blog post.

DVDCastResinMessageBoardCoverWe filmed four DVDs in 2 days and had a blast doing it. My time to push hard was when I was making all the art work, doing the step outs and just organizing my part of the filming so when I got into the film studio things went as smoothly as possibly. When it was all said and done, I came home to enjoy Christmas. Then it was a push to get to CHA and then Tucson and now it’s already Spring. I knew in the back of my mind that the DVDs were set to come out soon, but I was surprised to get that email from Cherie Haas, fabulous online editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors telling me that it’s time. The feeling was a bit like having a baby, but forgetting you were knocked up.

So, without further ado, here are some photos of my Mixed-Media Chalkboard with Cast Resin. (if you’re curious about the straightforward titles, blame it on SEO. It’s great for the Internet but it’s killing artist’s and writer’s ability to be clever). This is home decor piece reminds me of the Paris flea markets whenever Susan Lenart Kazmer and I do our art retreat in the South of France because that’s where I bought the hardware I molded and cast.

French Message Board Jen Cushman

This piece is a painted chalkboard. As a technique, I also teach you how to make your own chalk paint (the blue) and your own antiquing wax, thereby saving you money and adding to your creative knowledge of things. This fabulous wooden base is from Walnut Hollow and I love the French Provencal shape of it. Actually, the entire project was inspired by this substrate.  I used old wooden rulers that my sweet hubby swiped from the supply closet of his work for me. He had to go digging around for them. They were in a box on the floor literally gathering dust.

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The details are stamped and embossed Paris-inspired images from Stampendous and, of course, my favorite cast ICE Resin embellishments. I had a ton ‘o fun making this chalkboard and I hope you enjoy the DVD too.

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If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to head on over to the post Cherie wrote on my new DVD and see what she has to say about it. Also, be sure to check in with my blog this entire week. I’ll be talking about all the new releases.  Cherie will be doing the same at CPS. If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter yet, I’d encourage you to do so. Lots of great info that’s all about mixed media! Also remember that there is a coupon code to save 15% on the videos. It’s CPSVIP15. 

One last thing, since March is National Craft Month, I’ve been working with Walnut Hollow this month with some inspirational projects for their blog. Coincidentally, I have a project up today. (When it rains, it pours) Don’t miss that blog post either. This is another home decor one using wooden spools, steel wire and a stencil. The free tutorial with step outs is on their blog.

Here’s wishing you an Artful day!

JenSig

 

A Peek in My Guest Bedroom

If you visited Thursday, then you know I participated in Seth Apter’s online collaboration to share how folks live with their art. As promised, I’m giving a little peek into my guest bedroom today.

Jen's Guest Bedroom Opening Door

While I definitely have a quirky industrial/vintage/found object vibe to my home, most of my house is pretty lived in family life. My guest room is the one place I was able to decorate just for myself and my family and friends who stay with us. I wrote a post about my French Flea Market Bedroom, but I’ve updated the room to add a tad more color and some of my collages (You see them in the photo above). I also wanted to incorporate more of my found objects on display as well. Truthfully, while I wanted to keep it a black-and-white palette, I just couldn’t maintain that no color look.

Guest Bedroom Desk Vignette Jen Cushman

This room is a work in progress. I want to get more pillows for the bed and a vintage bed skirt. The walls need the molding put back into place but my hubby just hasn’t had the time (ok desire) to finish it off from over two years ago when we moved in. The bed is super comfortable with a new memory foam mattress and that’s what counts the most; that the people I love feel safe and warm and comfortable when they visit.

Jen Cushman Guest Bedroom Bed

 

My little vignettes of found objects are vintage items, most of which I’ve picked up at Sweet Salvage. Since they’re a once a month vintage sale in Phoenix, I’m always finding new treasures to add to and replace in my home.

Vintage Found Objects Display Jen Cushman

 

What do wheels and real Amish shoes (you should see the cool handmade iron nails on the soles!), a beat up school photo and a vintage printer’s block have in common? This is the visual representation of what went through my head as I was arranging the vignette – A sweet, scared Amish teenage girl dreams of leaving home attend collage to study English Lit and become a university professor. However, she loves her mother and sisters dearly and is torn between the only life she knows and the life her soul longs to live. The beauty is in the longing and in the precipice of her decision. The vintage train case is my mother’s. When I open it, it still smells like cold cream. I cannot tell you how much I played with this as a girl.

Vintage Dress Form Display Jen Cushman

 

This vintage dress form – another Sweet Salvage find – is one of my most treasured objects. She’s been in our Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin booth a bunch of times, not to mention at Art Unraveled, Tucson To Bead True Blue and other shows. She’s starting to get a little too fragile to be attending more shows so I think she’ll be staying home from now on.  The gorgeous piece of handmade lace on her was found in an old trunk at a tag sale. I passed on the trunk but I had to have the lace. Some of you might even recognize this vintage chaise too. It’s been to CHA and back a couple of times. This is what it means to be an artist-based company. Our art and our displays are always personal.

Hope you enjoyed my little virtual home tour. Be sure to check in next week. I have some very exciting news to share with you!

JenSig

 

Walnut Hollow + National Craft Month

March is National Craft Month and to celebrate Walnut Hollow has asked a few of their friends/designers to create some quick and easy craft projects. Since I adore Walnut Hollow’s high quality wood surfaces and exceptional products, I thought it would be fun to participate. (Note: be sure to read to the end of the post for entering my giveaway).

But first, a quick little story as to another reason why I’m also a Walnut Hollow fan. When I first joined CHA as a designer (rather than a member of the press) in 2007, I participated in my first an only Designer Showcase. I spent the better part of a month working non-stop to make interesting mixed-media projects to showcase my talents. I worked out the display, got my postcards and business cards created and printed, did some cool signage and went to the show to announce myself to the crafts industry as a professional artist/designer. I had butterflies in my belly and was nervous as to how my work would be perceived during the meet the designers viewing. The very first manufacturer to show up at my table and talk about my designs was Chris Wallace from Walnut Hollow. Her supportive words were music to my ears and the match that lit a fire inside me and confirmed that I was right in my desire to step my work into a larger stage. Isn’t it incredible that one person saying just the right thing at just the right time can effect such positive change? Over the years, I’ve come to learn that Walnut Hollow is one of the most designer-friendly companies in the industry and Chris is a key player. Life has changed tremendously for me in the past eight years, but my loyalty to Chris never will.

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Here’s a sneak peek of my beach-themed project that’s up on Walnut Hollow’s blog today. Be sure to head on over to my post there to see the full tutorial!

And now for a giveaway. Tell me, have you ever used Walnut Hollow products? What’s your favorite. If not, is there something on their website you would like to try? Since it’s National Craft Month, I’ll pick a winner using random number generator for a giveaway an ICE Resin plunger and a few Susan Lenart Kazmer Art Mechanique bezels. (U.S. only please because of the shipping costs).

Here’s wishing you an Artful day!

JenSig

Journaled Jeans Tutorial

 

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I’ve worn my Journaled Jeans a couple of times since I created them, and every time I put them on I get great comments and questions from people asking how I made them. The simple answer is this: Grab a pair of jeans, some fabric paint, a Sharpie marker and dive in.

Actually, I’ve been planning to do a tutorial of my jeans ever since my sweet “adopted” daughter (my best friend’s girl whom I’ve known since she was 1 years old) and I spent a crafting day over the winter break together. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it done before CHA or Tucson, but now that I’m home for a while, I’m catching up on things. Better late than never! So let’s get started.

 

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Jen’s Painted and Journaled Jeans

Supplies:

Directions:

Prepare your work surface. Place plastic garbage bags on your work table and cut pieces of recycled cardboard to fit into the legs of the jeans. This will provide a barrier so the fabric paint does not seep into the back of the jeans as you’re working on the front. Here’s Macy pulling out all the supplies and opening them. Kit Kat is being helpful crafty kitty. She meowed loudly in protest when we pulled her off the table to prep the work surface.

Art jeans Tutorial getting supplies ready

I knew that I didn’t want a hard edge to my jeans and that I also did not want the paint to cover the entire pant leg. I made my own jagged edge stencil out of ripped Viva paper towels and taped the edge to the jeans using masking tape.

Art Jeans Viva Paper Towel Stencil

Next I started to paint a base layer of color with my Soft Fabric Paint using a brush. I have to admit I was hoping for something that had more of a gesso like consistency to it. These paints are very soft and silky, which is lovely, but I had to use a lot of the bottle (about 3/4) to get a base layer. I also put down my paintbrush and switched to using my hands to really rub the color into the jeans. Macy thought I was crazy for getting in with my hands and she decided to stick to using her foam paintbrush. She later remembered that finger painting could be fun!

We let the base layer dry for about an hour (passing the time by making a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Gotta keep those teenagers busy!) and then came back to our project for the next layer. I placed the Stencil Girl stencils where I wanted them and then spritzed with the Tulip Fabric Spray Paint. I had to go really heavy-handed here to get an intense amount of color on the jeans. This was another messy step. Jen's Art Jeans Stencil Step

At this point I was not feeling my jeans that much. I had bought my BFF Colleen (Macy’s mom) a pair of jeans for her birthday to trick out as well. I decided to switch over to a new pair for a while and give mine a chance to dry while I figured out where I wanted to take them next. Macy continued working on hers.

Macy's Art Jeams

I did almost the same process described above on Colleen’s pair. The only difference was I used the end of a paint brush to scratch into the wet paint and also I felt this need to fling paint splatters everywhere on the one leg. Macy told me I needed to add a green ribbon since her mama is a survivor of Lymphoma. (This is another story for another time, but Colleen was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma cancer last summer when I was teaching in Chicago. She underwent chemotherapy and declared Cancer free before Christmas).

Art Jeans for Colleen, Lymphoma Survivor

I switched back to my jeans when the paint was dry and added some paint splatters and then color and stencils to the bottom back of the pant leg since I wanted my design to wrap around the pant leg. After this we’d been crafting jeans for about two hours and were ready to take a break.

The next day our paint layers were dry so we decided to finish up our jeans. Macy took the Tulip fabric paint in neon colors and made some fun, puffy paint doodles. They were perfect for a 16-year-old. Here’s Kit Kat being helpful kitty again and taking a nap on the jeans. Funny how she knew to lay on the non-painted leg.

Macy's finished jeans with cat

I decided to get out my wide width and regular Sharpie markers and start doodling. I would have loved to use the Tulip Fabric Markers, but I didn’t have any of them available to work with. To Colleen’s jeans I added the words “Live Life” and some hearts. To mine I added “Love Art” running down the right hand seam. I wanted to show you the mistake I did to the O in Love. I came back with my black Sharpie after it dried and gave it a nice thick scalloped border around that O with another layer and fixed it right up! I also drew a few more random flowers and circles and lines on mine just to give it the “journaled” feel I was going for.

Art Jeans Colleen

Jen Journaled Jeans Mistake O

Jen's Finished Journaled Jeans Detail

You have to wait at least 2 days for the paint to fully dry and cure before washing. I gave mine a week just to be sure. These jeans are my new favorites. I plan to wear them to every teaching gig I do, simply because they are artsy and because they make me smile. Living an artful life means embracing creativity in all corners of your existence. Your home, your wardrobe, your way of being. If you have a few hours to spare on afternoon, I encourage you to paint up a pair of your most comfortable jeans. Even if all you do is wear them in the studio, you’ll feel great. Remember, if you don’t want to do this to jeans, you can always grab your favorite apron or sweatshirt or yoga pants. Tulip fabric paints work on all these surfaces!

 

Another teaching photo. I always hope to find one where my mouth is not open and my hands are still. Hmmmmm...still waiting on that one. Well, at least its apparent that I take my job as an educator seriously. You will get lots of information in my classes.

Another pic of my jeans from my ICE Resin FUNdamentals class at CHA Winter 2015

 

 

Hoping you are having an awesome week.

JenSig

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Love Day

AtAGlanceJenCushmanheart XOXOXOXO

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite days. Not because of the Hallmark commercial aspect of it, but just because I love the idea of a Day of Love. You know how I feel about this subject. It’s my most favorite word and my most favorite emotion. Nothing in the world beats Love. All you need is Love. Love Makes the World go Around. Etcetera, etcetera. I’ve actually been accused of using the word love too much. Whatever.

I was recently working on new art samples for my Vivid Wire Links class, which is an offshoot of my successful Links, Clasps. Components and Chain workshop that I teach. Vivid Links is a condensed version of the wire links (fewer links) but with the addition of cold enameling (Iced Enamels + ICE Resin). I shared Work in Progress steps of the necklace on Instagram, but wanted to wait until Valentine’s Day for the reveal of the piece. Everything about this necklace to me screams Happy LOVE Day. AtAGlanceJenCushman Here are the pics I put on Instagram showing Step 1 in the process. The bezel ( pic below) has two layers of imagery and resin built up and the links are made from 16g copper wire.

AtAGlanceStep1 Next Step (pic below) with a third layer of imagery and cold enameling on the bezel and wire links. Obviously red is the dominant theme here. AtAGlanceStage2 If you’re interested in learning to make something like this, be sure to check out my website and click into Workshops to see where I’m teaching this year. I’ll be in Los Angeles, Houston, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Paris. Possibly back to Texas – Austin — in October. I know many of you have asked about online classes. It’s just not something I’ve been able to pull off considering my teaching/family schedule and ICE Resin responsibilities. However, it’s something I want to do and make time for. Maybe as the time draws nearer, I”ll do a survey to see which ones you’re most interested in so I know where to begin the process.

Here’s wishing you the most Artful Day of Love. I hope you can share it with a special partner, family member or BFF. JenSig