Cloth Paper Scissors May/June issue out

CPS May June 2015 coverThe May/June 2015 issues of Cloth, Paper, Scissors  magazine is available on newsstands now. My Mixed Media Metalsmith column for this issue shows how to make a birds nest bead. Oh how I love this messy bead! Some people make these beads sweet and neat, but I like to take my 20 gauge wire and just go to town with my style of organic wire wrapping. My technique is a little different from the way most folks do it. I like to think it’s easier.

I find that birds are a pretty constant form of imagery in my work. I know it has to do with wings and freedom and my wish to fly ever since I was small. Since I see birds everywhere in mixed-media art, I know this is a common theme for a lot of us too. Every time I wear this necklace, I get compliments.

In this issue, I teach you how to make the focal bead. I also give the step out directions to make this necklace:

Mixed Media Metalsmith Jen Cushman May June 2015 necklace in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine

And this ring:

Mixed Media Metalsmith Jen Cushman birds nest ring

Some other highlights include a lesson from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer on how to turn a utilitarian apron into an artsy accessory you’ll love to wear, as well as an inspired quote scarf from my friend Lesley Riley. Also, my friend Ruth Rae is at is again with her amazing sewing and free motion stitching skills where she creates a poet’s shirt that’s so pretty I’d love to hang it in my studio for inspiration.  I can’t begin to tell you how cool it is to flip though the pages of this gorgeous magazine and know the artists whose work is featured inside. I’ve said it before, but I truly love our mixed-media community and how willing people are to share art techniques so we can all learn and grow.

If you’re not a subscriber to Cloth, Paper, Scissors yet give it a look see. The publishing industry is changing as a result of the way we’re seeking and consuming information. To keep magazines viable, we need to buy them. We need to support the companies that advertise in them (as long as we like and use the products that is). If we don’t, they fold and the marketing folks have to keep finding new (and sometimes more invasive) ways to get to our eyeballs so they can get to our pocketbooks. Not trying to give a hard sell here by any means. Rather, I’m just putting it out there so we can be intentional consumers.

Thanks for reading. Here’s wishing you an Artful and joyful weekend!

JenSig

 

From Solitude to Spotlight

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Imagine my surprise when I open my email today and see the Cloth, Paper, Scissors Online Editor Cherie Haas has done a little write up on my next Art of Business column in the Spring 2015 issue of Artists and Makers magazine. The second issue of this fab new magazine is available now. Honestly, I think I am the target market for this magazine. As a working artist and entrepreneur, I spend my hours every day weaving in and out of tasks. Sometimes these tasks are getting to make jewelry or collages or assemblages. Sometimes (albeit rarely) I get to simply play in my art journal. More often than not, I’m doing business-related tasks of sending and responding to emails, writing columns, working through various stages of deadlines, marketing, research, social media, blogging, as well as all the rest of the tasks that occupy a typical work day. Add to that a traveling and teaching schedule and you’ll understand that I spend a lot of time thinking about ways to enhance productivity so I can keep moving forward in business, art and life.

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I was pretty jazzed when I learned the focus of the Spring issue is all about being in the spotlight. As my editor and I talked over my intro for my column, I told her one of my biggest challenges in my working life is how to balance the solitude of of my days in the studio with the spotlight of teaching/filming/selling. Fortunately, I have many more working days where it’s just me at my computer, talking to our team members or other business associates on the phone, and creating art than I do all-out public days. However, those days at the shows or art retreats or conferences are long hours with lots of creative energy exchange with others, as well as information overload. I consider myself to be a social introvert, meaning I enjoy people and their company immensely but when I’m left to my own devices I tend to choose home-based activities like making or reading or hanging out with my husband and family.

I’ve learned how to enjoy the solitude and embrace the spotlight after quite a few years of doing it now. It wasn’t always easy and I definitely stumbled at times, but I know that success requires both ends of this spectrum. It takes time where you must turn inward and create. After creation though comes sharing. Every artist needs to share her creations with the world in order to inspire others and generate sales, and being in the spotlight is just as important work as is the making. If you’re interested in this topic at all, you can find my thoughts on the subject, as well as 100+ pages of artist interviews, gorgeous photos and even more salient advice from the other experts/columnists. All this for less than $10.

Cool, eh?

 

 

 

Artists and Makers premiere issue

I can’t believe I haven’t shared this new on my blog yet. Oy! I’ve talked about it often on my social media channels of Facebook and Twitter but never got around to writing a blog post. I even mentioned it in a podcast interview I did a few weeks ago (still unpublished). Forgive my delay in sharing this new news here though.

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My favorite editor over at Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine and her team have created an awesome brand new magazine called Artists and Makers. This publication replaces what once was Studios. The premier issue Winter 2014 is on the new stands now. I was asked to author a business advice column for this magazine, and I’m seriously amped up about this new opportunity. Jeannine and I talked long and hard about my new column. I explained that I was only interested in doing it if I could be given pretty much free reign to keep it real on the challenges facing artists and creatives today who are doing their level best to make a living — and create a career for themselves — from their handmade goods.

I don’t want to pull any punches or blow smoke up anyone’s skirt about how difficult it can be to earn a decent living from one’s art. I also don’t want to lose sight about all the intangible and tangible benefits one gets from following the entrepreneurial path in life. I’m hoping to walk the line between being the artist’s business cheerleader whose there to say “you can do it!” and practical coach that says “work hard, do it better. Take a look at your emotional/psychological stuff that we all have and push though the excuses.”

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While I wanted to name my column Tough Love; Practical Business Advice, it ended up being called Straight Talk; Art of Business. This change doesn’t bug me. One of the things you learn quickly about publishing is to never marry yourself to your book titles, or column titles or even headlines. Those are pretty much 100% the editor’s domain. The column itself is pure me. I am keeping my fingers crossed it resonates with other artists and makers and that it brings something new to the business writing marketplace of ideas.

And, yeah, the rest of the magazine rocks too. The cover story alone is worth the $9.99 price tag ($5 for digital download). Kevin Bradley is on the cover in a paint-splattered kilt talking about how he lost $2 million in his first business but then gives specific advice on how he dealt with the loss and went on to rebuild his letterpress business into a thriving, successful and soul-fulfilling creative life for himself. I seriously loved this article!

Here’s a blog post Cheri wrote about the new magazine. Take a peek. Check out the promotional material Cloth, Paper, Scissors marketing did on Artists and Makers. You can read more or purchase your copy here.

The deadline for the second issue came and went before Christmas. It’s in the layout and design stage now, and I’m pretty jazzed about what’s to come. I wanted to challenge myself to ensure every new column I write is better than the last. To do this, I’m going to need your help. Do you have questions about your creative business that you’re struggling with? Are there questions that you’ve Googled and searched for and just not been able to find a satisfactory answer for. Email them to me (jencushman@ymail.com). Challenge my mind to think on them and see if I can come up with out-of-the-box solutions. If I get stumped, I promise I’ll find a way to ask some of the best minds to drum up a satisfactory answer. It gives me a chance to dust off my investigative reporter skills.

I think I’ve got it covered now. Whew! Also, just an extra little note as we’re heading into the New Year. If you haven’t liked my Facebook business page yet, I’d be thrilled if you would.  You can also follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram. One of my goals for 2015 is to work a little more on my social media.

I hope your holidays were filled with light, creativity and positive energy. Here’s wishing you a successful New Year!

JenSig

 

October Cloth Paper Scissors on Newsstands now

2664_Cover_web2_jpg-350x0The newest issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine is available now at your local bookstore and online. My Mixed Media Metalsmith column this time focuses on a project that is decidedly not Fall like, but it is a fun one. I made a Cold Enameled copper bookmark using Iced Enamels, ICE Resin and some stamps and words from an old book. This is a project that is simple to do, fun to make and would make great gifts. Who doesn’t love a book with a brand new bookmark for birthday or holiday prezzies?

I sincerely love writing this column for CPS. I’m also happy to say that new editor Jeannine Stein asked me if I wanted to stay on board for 2015 with my column. You can bet I emailed her back with a very quick YES! And, as far as columns go, stay tuned for a future announcement from me. I’ll be writing a new business advice Q&A for Interweave in a new magazine very soon. I’ve turned in the column, but it’s now in the editing and graphics phase. I’ll post more on my blog when I can.

Here are pics of this issue’s column:

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Here’s wishing you a very Artful day!

JenSig

My latest Mixed Media Metalsmith column is out

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Looking for a quick and easy summer read? The July/August issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine is on newsstands and in subscribers’ mailboxes now. As many of you may know, I write a column each issue called The Mixed Media Metalsmith where I make a fun project each issue. My editor gave me very few rules — which I LOVE — but asked that metal be one of the mediums each time. It’s been exciting showing how metal can be incorporated into just about any kind of mixed media project imaginable.

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I particularly like this issue’s project. A little journal charm made from a scrap of 24 gauge copper, a page from an old book and some nuts and screws as a cold connection. The inspiration for this came from childhood memories of how I spent my summers. I was a big reader and spent every summer break participating in my local library’s kids summer reading program. Growing up in Phoenix means you have to stay cool. If my nose wasn’t in a book, I was making crafts, swimming at the local high school public pool or going to the dollar movies.

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Take a peek at the completed journal pendant. These make great girlfriend, teacher and thinking of you gifts! Then head on over to your favorite bookseller that carries magazines and pick up some new summer reading. It sure helps to pass the time on those hot days!

***

10107-Create-teaching-CHIOn another note: Registration is going on now for my workshops at the CREATE Mixed Media Art Retreats. I’ll be teaching this August in Chicago, September in Dallas and October in Seattle. I have A LOT of new classes this year and I’m so excited to be teaching resin and metalsmithing and mixed media. Be sure to check out my classes at CreateMixedMediaArtRetreats.com. Click into the area of the country that most interests you and then click on Instructors. If you look for my name, you’ll see a list of classes I’m teaching. I sure hope to see you there.

Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day! — Jen

Art Journal Sneak Peek

Vintage Summer by Jen Cushman

I’ve been in my studio finishing up some projects and tying up loose ends at work before I head off to teach at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee. I’m teaching four classes from June 4th through the 8th. While online registration is now closed, you can still sign up on site if you’re going to the show and looking for a class or two to fill in between all that great bead and jewelry making supply shopping! Actually, I have a list this year of things I’m needing to buy for classes and I’m looking forward to seeing some of my favorite vendors again. The easiest way to see what I’m teaching is to follow the Meet the Teachers Link and click on my name. It will take you to the workshops with days and times.

I’m always thrilled to be at this show. Some of these faculty are people whose work I’ve admired immensely as I was learning and growing in my mixed-media jewelry making. I love seeing the new work these talented people bring to the show. It’s so inspiring be there amongst the best of the best!

In between packing and making some more class samples for my students to see, I was also working on a little project for Jenn Mason, Director of Content Marketing at F+W and editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine. She and mixed-media artist Julie Fei-Fan Balzer are hosting a new online weekly show called The Mixed-Media Workshop. While I’m not appearing on the show in person, I am giving a little instruction as part of my magazine column The Mixed-Media Metalsmith. Most of the art samples are already waiting for them in Loveland, Colorado where the filming studio is located. This journal (sneak peek top pic) and a few other cast resin pieces were out the door today. I’ll let you know when the segment airs, but if you see any PR for shiny things then you know you’ll be seeing some of my casting work.

I’m planning to take a bit of a break from blogging this summer. I’ll be checking in here and there, and definitely be on my social media, but the kids are home for summer break AND I’m going into my office for all of July to write my next book on Iced Enamels. For those of you who’ve done book publishing before, you know it’s a pretty time-consuming undertaking. While I’ve gotten pretty good at juggling work and family and teaching, book writing is something that requires my full focus. After the Bead and Button Show, I’m home until CREATE Chicago the middle of August — the perfect time to write, write, write, edit, take photos, edit photos and write some more. Thankfully, most of the art pieces have already been completed over this past year.

I hope you stay with me through the next few months. I promise, I’ll have lots of new information and new art content to share when I get to the other side.

Here’s wishing you a truly ARTFUL day!

 

I’m gonna put on my, my, my boogie shoes

Remember last summer when ICE Resin and Susan Lenart Kamer participated in a celebrity gifting suite the Saturday before the 2013 Primetime Emmys? No worries if you don’t remember. I told you all about how the question of what to wear to the event came up almost immediately. My answer was to alter a pair of Steve Madden wedge shoes using Iced Enamels and ICE Resin — of course! — so I could be fashion forward and still comfortable at the same time. I think I showed a sneak peek of the shoes and then never got around to a full reveal. My bad!

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A little brag here, but my shoes really did turn out fab! All of the art techniques I had in my head translated beautifully to the heels. Iced Enamels worked like a dream as did my cute little heart bezel embellishments at the peekaboo toe cutout. I wore these shoes for the full 8 hours of the event. I even loved them so much that I wore them to a friend’s wedding a couple of weekends later. My Cold Enameled shoes have not chipped, or cracked or needed any repair at all. I think that’s pretty amazing.

Thrilled with the outcome, I sent an email to my favorite editor at Stampington & Co. Cynthia Levens in not only the editor of Belle Armoire Jewelry, but she also handles Belle Armoire and Altered Couture magazines (whew!) pitching an article on my Cold Enameled shoes. She liked the idea, so I sent them off to Southern California. They made it through art selection and I was asked to do a write up on them. Most magazines are working six to eight months ahead. That means the issue of Altered Couture with my shoes is just now available for pre-order. I received the Creative Impulse newsletter this morning and, viola! a picture of the spread is part of the issue’s sneak peek:

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Take a look at the entire sneak peak of the upcoming Summer 2014 issue. That altered denim skirt is so stinking cute. I want to make one…if only I could sew.

Since I never did do a full reveal of my shoes on my blog, here are some pics of them that I took. The magazine article teaches you exactly how to achieve the same look. And remember, you can Cold Enamel canvas sneakers just as easily as you can do high heels! Come on and join me. Let’s make some fun and festive boogie shoes!

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