Ho Ho Ho Necklace


Take a peek over on the ICE Resin blog to read the story of how and why I upcycled a Christmas card with a vintage Santa Claus image into a piece of holiday jewelry. I’ve been wearing this necklace a lot during this holiday season. Because it’s a long 36 inch chain, it goes with anything and feels both comfortable and festive.

Be sure to save your favorite cards after this holiday season is over and think about turning them into next year’s jewelry using ICE Resin and Susan Lenart Kazmer products.

I know this is the last weekend before Christmas and everyone is probably hopping and jumping with all the preparations. Me too. I do hope you are able to get a little creative time in the next few days to make something wonderful!


Final few days to buy my jewelry


My Handmade Art Market Holiday Pop Up Shop on the H.A.M. Facebook page is only open for a few more days. People have sent me private messages on Facebook saying they don’t quite understand how it all works. I know it’s a pretty new concept – a virtual group store on Facebook — but I think it’s pretty cool stuff. This is my first year participating in it. and only the second year the organizers have done it. The idea is the brainchild of my dear friend and fellow jewelry artist Susan Walls. She and her friend and artist Kelly put a lot of work into the idea. I think we are going to start seeing much more of this type of online selling in the future.

The way this virtual market works is that participating artists each have a storefront shop. Handmade items are up for sale in the shops. The first person to type SOLD in the comments section of the item and provides a valid PayPal address gets it. I will send an invoice and payment is due immediately.  Sorry, shipping only to valid US addresses at this time.

It can be a little tricky to find my shop. You must first be logged into your Facebook account. Then click on the Handmade Holidays Art Market page. If you can’t find it, type Handmade Holidays Art Market in the search field. There are quite a few so be sure to click the one with the icon that looks like a vintage Santa Clause. Next you click the link Photos. Then click the link Albums. You will see my shop logo there (pictured below for reference). Click into that and you can view my jewelry for sale.


I’ve heard from a few people this year that they really want to shop handmade and support artists. I think it’s an awesome goal. The pop up shop introduced me to new artists I didn’t know and I was thrilled to buy some of their work.

Hope your holidays countdown is going great!


H.A.M Pop Up Shop Now Open

My Handmade Art Market Holiday Pop Up Shop is now open over on the H.A.M. Facebook page. I wrote a post the other day that I was planning to offer some of my handmade jewelry for sale. I just loaded up my shop with 32 pieces of wearable art. I hope you get a chance to take a peek. The sale starts midnight Nov. 27 and runs until Dec. 13th. If you’re doing holiday shopping, I suggest you shop early in order to make the shipping in time.

The way this virtual shop works is that participating artists each have a storefront shop. Handmade items are up for sale in the shops. The first person to type SOLD in the comments section of the item and provides a valid Paypal address gets it. I will send an invoice and payment is due immediately.  I promise to send out the piece by USPS within the week. Sorry, shipping only to valid US addresses at this time.

Here is a sneak peek of many of the necklaces available.


I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Can’t wait to see you on Facebook. Be sure to “Like” my business page if you haven’t already!


Own a piece of my art


I have some fun news to share. I was invited to participate in an online juried art market to sell some of my handmade art this holiday season. Dozens of artists will be hosting an online store from Nov. 27th to Dec. 13th on the Handmade Art Market Facebook Page.  To participate, log into your Facebook account and then click to “Like” the H.A.M page. This is a limited shopping event for handmade items and you must have a Facebook account to participate.

The way it works is that the participating artists will display a photo of the item for sale, along with details like description, size, price, shipping costs in their shop on the Facebook page. The first person to type “Sold” and give a valid Paypal account will buy the piece. The artists will invoice immediately and items will be shipped out within 3 days of purchase. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Plus an easy way to do some holiday shopping in your jammies.

I often get emails from people wondering where they can purchase my work. At this time, I don’t have a virtual store for my jewelry. I just last week finally opened my Etsy shop so people can get a signed copy of my book, but I’ve always needed to keep the jewelry I make with me when I teach. That’s because I use many of the techniques I teach in the pieces I make, so when I’m demoing particular techniques I can point to components of my work for a visual reference. I do sell my work to my students and also at the vendor nights of the retreats.

But here’s the good news. I’m ready to let go of quite a few necklaces and earrings. Susan has some wonderful new products to debut next year with Ranger, so I’m going to be busy in my studio making all new jewelry (aka art samples). I also developed a lot of new classes for 2016, so you’re going to find me hunkering down here pretty soon. (Registration has begun for many of them. Check out my website and click on Workshops to see a list of confirmed workshops).

Here is a sneak peek of just two of the necklaces I’ll be selling over on Holiday Art Market. I will be sure to have pieces in a variety of price points. Since I am ready to let these babies go, I decided to not price any of my work over $100 for this special sale.



There are A LOT of amazing artists participating in this event to sell their unique work. Be sure to look around at all the shops. My jewelry might not be the thing for Aunt Martha this holiday season, but I can bet there is something wonderful to be found for just about everyone on your shopping list who appreciates handmade. Below is a picture of my shop storefront. Hopefully this makes it easy to find me.


Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day!


Take Me Away Collage tutorial


The symbolism of the spiral shape mingled with water carries the power to flow and change. This important concept of transitioning from one stage of life to another with grace and dignity has been a recurring theme in my work these past few months.

During a particularly rough patch as my father was in hospice care, I made this simple — almost childlike — mixed-media collage to represent my subconscious desire to jump aboard a small boat all alone and sail away to some place beautiful and blue and quiet where I didn’t have to make decisions.

As I was gluing the papers to the canvas, my mind was thinking about the sea air and warm sun on my face. At this moment, making art to soothe my soul provided a brief respite and a small space to breathe. The physical act of building this collage made it possible to express my desires, fears, concerns in an emotionally healthy way.

Even when doing paper-based art, my love of wire and metal shines through. The spiral waves and free form wire sun are exactly what’s needed to take my work from a two-dimensional canvas to a three-dimensional mixed-media piece. Beeswax used as a sealer provides not only attachment of wire to paper, but also gives my collage a hazy, dreamy feel that matched my thoughts as I was working.


Here are the steps I used to make this piece. Hopefully the techniques/idea will give you a jumping off point to create a lovely end of summer collage for your art room.

“Take Me Away” collage

Tools and Materials:

  • 12 x 12 canvas
  • Natural beeswax
  • Clean tuna can
  • 2 inch chip brush (disposable) or old paintbrush
  • Electric griddle or some method to melt wax
  • 16 gauge wire. I used bronze but you can use silver, colored or copper wire
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose or chain nose pliers
  • Wire snips
  • Old paintbrush
  • Scraps of patterned paper
  • Caran d’Ache Neocolor Artists’ crayons in black
  • Twine
  • Old poetry book
  • Patterned washi tape
  • Paper doilies



Step 1. Use scissors to cut a piece of patterned background paper to represent the sky in this summer on the water collage and glue to canvas using matte medium.


Step 2. Cut out a piece of patterned wave paper or make your own wave shape from scrapbook paper and adhere to canvas. Add additional ephemera as desired. (Here I used a paper doily to represent a frothy wave).



Step 3. Cut the shape of a boat using scissors, as well as a triangle for the sail. Cut rectangle strips for the mast and a circle for the sun. Adhere with matte medium. Continue placing ephemera to your liking. I added a poem, as well a vintage tag and a few strips of patterned washi tape. Let dry.


Step 4. Melt beeswax and use and old paintbrush to apply wax to surface. Work quickly as wax dries quickly. Be sure to place more wax in the areas where you want to embed your spirals. You will be using the wax as the “glue” or adhesion.



Step 5: Use a heat craft iron to smooth out the wax in various areas that needs it.  Tip: If you don’t have a craft iron, you can also use a craft heat gun to blow hot air onto the wax and re-melt it to smooth it out. Be careful, as it melts quickly.


Step 6. Melt more beeswax into area of the collage where you may wish to place additional dimensional items. Here is was to embed some jute into the collage to reference sailor’s knots and lashing. If you have areas of your college where the wax seeped into the paper and caused discoloration, you can continue to add more bits of paper. I used patterned tissue paper as in these areas.

Here’s a few more detail shots of the college canvas –




Here;s wishing you an Artful weekend!


Word band bracelet

Jen and Colleen Best Friends

One of my best girlfriend’s birthday is coming up. Though she likes my jewelry, she tends to wear small pieces and likes a simpler, more clean aesthetic than I do (read non-mixed-media). During a recent visit to my local Michaels store, I picked up some of these Tim Holtz’ Ideology Word Bands on sale. I decided I’d make her a very simple wrist wrap in her favorite color – green. The beautiful thing about these wrist wraps is that they are a snap to make and really comfortable to wear, as all they are is some soft ribbon or torn fabric wrapped a few times around your wrist and tied in the back. They add a touch of color and have a young vibe. Every time I wear one, I always get teenage girls checking them out and commenting on how much they like them.

Jen Cushman Wrist bracelet


The key to this bracelet is gently curving the word bands. You can do this a couple of ways. If you have a pair of nylon jaw pliers like what you use to straighten kinked wire, all you need to do is place the metal tag in the nylon jaw and gently use your fingers and the pliers to create a curved elongated U shape to fit the curve of the wrist. If you have a bracelet mandrel in your studio and a rawhide mallet — this is how I shaped my bands — you can gently tap the tags over the bracelet mandrel to achieve the curve.

Once you have the word band formed, all you do is simply thread ribbon through the outside loops, making sure the ribbon is behind the words so as not to conceal it and center it in the middle of a long piece of ribbon. I used about 2 feet for my wrist bracelet here.

Finished bracelet wrist wrap designed by Jen Cushman

This trendy bracelet is a snap to make. Much quicker, easier to do and cuter (in my opinion) that running to Target to find a gift.

I hope you give this craft a try. In less than 30 minutes you can have dozen bracelets created for less than a dollar a piece.




Beads and Buttons

Today I’m headed to Milwaukee for the annual Bead and Button Show sponsored by Bead and Button Magazine (Kalmbach Publishing). I’ll be teaching three classes, attending the always-fabulous Meet the Teachers reception and, of course, shopping for some fantastic jewelry-making supplies.

I also get to hang out with my beautiful business partner/bff Susan Lenart Kazmer, which is always a rip-roaring great time. Susan is such a rockstar instructor. She’s got four workshops and all of them are almost full. We teach opposite schedules so that means I will get to hang out in a couple of her classes like the old days where I can help out and be there to soak up all the wonderful, creative energy.


I’ll be teaching my always-popular ICE Resin Layers and Depth workshop twice. The first class sold out so I was asked to repeat it. Love when that happens! I’m also teaching a metalworking class called Chevron Drops. I created this workshop so people could really hone in on metalworking basics of forging, annealing and manipulating wire while walking out with a well-designed necklace. I love doing these types of classes. I called them process-project. The teaching is linear with repetitive steps. You can learn a lot quickly. The teaching style allows information to cement itself in the brain. If you are reading this, are going to Bead and Button and want to take this class, there are spots available. You can still sign up on site at the show.

Chevron Drops Jen Cushman

If you’ve never been to Bead and Button and want to see some inside action, be sure to follow my social media. I plan to Instagram a lot during my five days. Will be Tweeting and Facebooking too.

I won’t be posting much to the blog this week, but I’ve got a summer beeswax collage tutorial coming up for you next.