Packing for workshops

I’ve been home for a long and lovely 6 weeks. I really needed the time to recharge my batteries and work on some items on my to do list that just never seem to get done because they’re always at the bottom. I head out to SoCal on Thursday for a lunch and meeting at the Stampington offices and then my 2 days of Resin workshops at Make Art in LA. If you happen to be reading this and you’re local and find yourself with a free days this coming Friday or Saturday, check it out. I have only two spots left in Create and Resinate. My kits are made for the max amount of students the space holds so I promise there’s room and materials for last-minute sign ups.

If you’re not convinced about both days, here’s a little testimonial from artist Kelly Smith: “Casting is addicting! Ever since taking your class a few years ago I’ll go into huge spurts of making molds and casting. You are the best teacher!”

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I thought I’d show you a little sneak peek of what it takes for teaching. I include so many mixed-media techniques in my classes that it requires a lot of supplies. I have a large heavy-duty black tote that gets filled to brim and usually weighs between 50 and 70 pounds. (It’s a bear to ship, but as much as I’ve tried to whittle down my supplies. I can’t really do so without asking my students to bring a huge laundry list with them). You can see by my short LA workshop supply list that I do my best to make it easy for people to show up, learn, play and discover.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that if I pack for each class in plastic shoe boxes it helps keep me organized. An important consideration at many of the national hotel-based retreats where you’re teach both day and night for two to three days in a row, plus vending.

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In addition to my box, I have a black tool bag for my Wubbers pliers, steel bench block, hammer, files, drill, wire snips, torch, rivets, wire, etc. This usually weighs around 20 lbs. Sometimes I bring a small store with me, which includes Susan Lenart Kazmer Art Mechanique bezels, ICE Resin, Iced Enamels, ribbon, etc. Other times, it’s too much and I show up as just me, an artist. (When this happens, I tend to get a least a half dozen sad faces from people who were also hoping to shop and then I feel bad for not wanting to lug around all the stuff.)

Jen's toolbag

My workshop art samples, books and work for sale goes into another plastic tub along with a few display items that fold and pack flat. In this box also goes a piece of fabric for a table covering and a couple of old burlap coffee bags with great vintage writing on them for display.

Of course I have my luggage. I bring water, some snacks like fruit and nuts and Kind bars. I also pack my lavender eye pillow, a small scented candle and some essential oils because sometimes hotel rooms have musty or odd smells. Of course, all of the above is easy to pull off when I’m driving. The events I fly to are much more challenging and I have to ship my workshop box and tools ahead of time. Believe it or not, I’ve also shipped water as crazy as it sounds. I learned this the hard way when I was stuck in a hotel room in the outskirts of Chicago with no car and no van shuttle to get me to a nearby store. I was like a camel and after 5 workshops and had the most splitting headache from dehydration.

I know this is pretty mundane stuff here, but they’re a number of you who read my blog who also teach or are interested in teaching. Plus, I know quite a few of you are art retreaters yourself and it’s good to peek behind the scenes. One of the ways you can tell the difference between a newer teacher and someone whose been at it for a while is their level of preparedness. This isn’t to say that things don’t go wrong, because there’s always something that does, but the experienced instructors should have an ace up their sleeves, like a good magic trick that can save the day. I promise you, they’re a couple of things in that black tote of mine that I can use to change my workshop in an instant if need be.

I’ll catch you on the flipside next week when I return. It’ll be a little quiet here for a bit because I have my Cloth, Paper, Scissors column due within days of being home and a webinar idea I’m suppose to be getting to my editor as well (happy to have a 6 hour drive to think it through because right now all I have a headline and 3 bullet points.)

Artfully yours,

JenSig

 

My new DVDs are here!

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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.

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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

 

Tucson 2015 TBTB

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I’m getting things finished and packed in my studio for next week’s To Bead True Blue show. It’s a great show we do every year in Tucson where we teach classes and also have the ICE Resin booth filled to the brim with jewelry-making goodies. Bezels and ICE and Glitter and Ephemera…oh my! All the stuff we love to create and educate.

I’m teaching three classes this year. Mold making and casting, wireworking by making your own links and components and also some fun foldforming/metal/resin/cold connection work. All of my classes are technique oriented and project focused. You will walk out with a yummy piece of jewelry to wear and you’ll learn new jewelry making and mixed-media techniques for your art making toolbox. Here’s a blog post Carol, our content manager, wrote about the classes on the ICE Queen eZine (blog). Rather than repeating myself, take a look. All the deets are there.

I know Tucson is a show where lots of folks just get in their cars or catch a plane last minute. It doesn’t seem to have the year-in-advance-planning about it like the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee does. I always find is fascinating that different shows in various parts of the country all have their own unique vibes about them. Many of the same people, definitely classes and education but often a different approach all together. The cool thing about Tucson is that you can always just show up to the party at any time and join in. Classes almost always have a least a few openings and the multitude of shows in tents and hotels across the city are little worlds all unto their own.

If you’re coming to Tucson, please be sure to stop by our ICE Resin booth in the Grand Ballroom at the TBTB show at the Doubletree Hotel. This is a change from year’s past where we’ve always been in the wholesale room (small ballroom). Susan made some brand new bezels she cast in bronze and white bronze for the new year and they are gorgeous limited editions.

Here are some pics of the classes I’m teaching. Remember, your finished pieces can look different than mine. Different colors of Iced Enamels, different resin castings and even your own unique image in your resin bezel in the foldformed cuff. I hope to see you there!

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Once I get home from Tucson I will be home until the end of March. My plan is to do that serious purge to my studio that I keep talking about. Oy, I’m so embarrassed to openly show what my space looks like, but I promised some friends of mine that I will document the process and share. Art supply hoarding — it’s a common problem. I’ve been here before and I’ll talk about what I do to get a handle on things.

I also have a couple of essays coming up that I’ve written, as well as a tutorial on my art jeans that I made for CHA. I even have a Kid Craft Fail post that I wrote that you might want to see if you’re a crafty mom, aunt or grandparent.

Thanks for sticking with me! I’ll see you on the flip side of Tucson.

JenSig

Winter CHA 2015…finally

cha_logo_designersI betcha thought I was never going to get around to post some pics from the Winter 2015 Craft and Hobby Association Show. Well, it definitely took me a lot longer than anticipated but I have a good excuse. (smile) I was in California for 11 days total. My hubby and I left Arizona the Wednesday before the show to drive out the ICE Resin Susan Lenart Kazmer booth. Then there was a day of set up (Thursday) then education day (Friday) where I assisted Jennifer Priest in a business seminar on social media and, later that day, hanging out while Susan taught her awesome Artisan Workshop. Saturday the show began and it was its typical whirlwind — meeting folks, teaching 2 workshops, talking about ICE Resin, scheduling meetings, catching up with old friends in 15 minute spurts and the like for four solid days. Not to mention the evenings where you meet up with friends for dinner and, if you still have some stamina, head on over for some drinks and more shop talk. I’ve said this before, and I say it every year, but CHA for me is like living dog years. It feels like seven months of business is packed into one day. By the end of the show, you have follow up and new opportunities to keep you going until Spring (and beyond). CHA = Long days, hard work, major networking and new business.

Immediately following tear down of the show, I went into family mode. My hubby and children came back to Anaheim so we could spend some time visiting Disneyland, California Adventure and Universal Studios. If you haven’t been to these theme parks in January during the middle of the week, you’ll be amazed by how quiet they are. Wayyyy less people. Rides that normally are an hour wait time are, at the most, a 20 minute wait. Most are a 5 to 10 minute wait. The downside of going this time of year is that the parks hours are shorter and they also shut down some of the most popular attractions for maintenance. It’s a bummer that they’re closed and even more so that Disney still charges full price for the tickets, but the flip side is that you truly can see it all in one day. Now that I made it through the show and the family trip, I can tell you is that nine straight 12-hour long days on one’s feet gets rough.

I know most of you who follow CHA probably did so on our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But for those folks who aren’t involved in the day to day crafts industry, here are a few pics to give you a flavor or this big annual trade show. These photos were all taken by Jennifer Priest. I still have yet to pull mine from my phone. I most likely won’t get to it until after the Tucson To Bead True Blue Show the first week in February. (More to come on this next blog post!).

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Susan working the booth and showing off her awesome mixed media jewelry using enameling, cold enameling, resin, metal, sgraffito, cold joins, wirework and all the other techniques she uses in her work.

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Me and Jennifer Priest right after our business seminar on Building a Social Media Campaign. We felt amazing to know that our topic was interesting enough to fill the room of more than 125 industry folks.

Me and Jennifer Priest right after our business seminar on Building a Social Media Campaign. We felt amazing to know that our topic was interesting enough to fill the room of more than 125 industry folks.

This pic is one of those that everyone grabs when you walk the show floor and run into people you know. Little pow wows start to gather and before you know it, you're having a little party with these amazing folks that you get to see every year at CHA. It's one of my favorite parts of the show. From Left to Right: Jennifer Priest, Susan Lenart Kazmer, Susan Walls, myself, Kathy Cano Murillo and Maya Murillo.

This pic is one of those that everyone grabs when you walk the show floor and run into people you know. Little pow wows start to gather and before you know it, you’re having a little party with these amazing folks that you get to see every year at CHA. It’s one of my favorite parts of the show. From Left to Right: Jennifer Priest, Susan Lenart Kazmer, Susan Walls, myself, Kathy Cano Murillo and Maya Murillo.

I'm sure you know these faces well. Our  fabulous friends and fellow mixed-media artists and instructors came into the classroom as Susan was setting up to teach. Oh, I adore these people! Seth Apter, Mary Beth Shaw, myself, Susan and Pam Carriker.  Seth, Pam and Mary Beth all has sold out workshops at the show.

I’m sure you know these faces well. Our fabulous friends and fellow mixed-media artists and instructors came into the classroom as Susan was setting up to teach. Oh, I adore these people! Seth Apter, Mary Beth Shaw, myself, Susan and Pam Carriker. Seth, Pam and Mary Beth all has sold out workshops at the show.

Susan spent some quality time in the booth catching up with students, customers and  friends. Don't you just love her new work and how gorgeous her necklaces are? Keep and eye out for these. Soon to be published in Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine!

Susan spent some quality time in the booth catching up with students, customers and friends. Don’t you just love her new work and how gorgeous her necklaces are? Keep and eye out for these. Soon to be published in Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine!

I truly love teaching ICE Resin classes to independent store owners. Such smart and creative women! Here we are learning how to collage bezels, mix and pour resin. Yes, you can see that I'm air pouring here. The class was too large for everyone to come up and gather around while I demoed.

I truly love teaching ICE Resin classes to independent store owners. Such smart and creative women! Here we are learning how to collage bezels, mix and pour resin. Yes, you can see that I’m air pouring here. The class was too large for everyone to come up and gather around while I demoed.

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 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.

I hope this gives a little taste of what CHA is like each year for me. As you can see, there’s nothing from the show floor on all the new products. Alas, that is one of the things I rarely get to do each year. Time is spent in business meetings and teaching and being in the booth. I usually have to follow other people’s blogs — like Jennifer’s — and social media in order to get to see all the exciting new stuff. (Be sure to check out Jennifer’s CHA round up blog where she shows off the latest and greatest)

Here’s wishing you some Artful time in your studios. I’m getting ready to go into mine to make some new pieces for Tucson.

JenSig

 

Tucson classes are up!

Hi everyone! Just a quick note to let you know that mine and Susan’s workshops for Tucson at the To Bead True Blue show are up. Registration is going on right now over on the ICE Resin website. I’ll be teaching metal and resin techniques, of course. Also wirewrapping and cold enameling with Iced Enamels. Workshop space is limited to 20 students and classes will not be repeated. Space is limited so if you’re joining us, please get your registrations in soon.

Take a peek at my workshop offerings:

 

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Over the Moon bracelet. Sign up here.

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Vivid Wire Links: Wrapped, Coiled and Colored. Register here.

 

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Take Flight Copper Cuff. Sign up now.

If you are interested in going to Tucson to see the largest bead, jewelry, gem and mineral shows in the US, here’s some information/links to get you started.

I sincerely hope I see you there!

JenSig

Mixed media art journal with Tombow XTREME

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I think I told you about Tombow’s Sticky U program where the company contacted various artists and asked them to participate in a new marketing campaign using the Xtreme glue runner. For a quick refresher, here’s the post I wrote a few weeks ago on it.

Well the deadline has come and I’m excited to share my mixed-media art journal on my blog and also over on Tombow’s blog.

A couple weeks ago I was teaching in Dallas, Texas at a CREATE event. One of my workshops was my Art Journal Jewelry one, where we explore collage, color and mark making and then turn them into one-of-a-kind art jewelry. These images were the pages I created throughout the day as I demoed the techniques and each step in the process.

As I was unpacking my instructor’s box and repacking for my next art retreat in Seattle (Oct. 22-26), I came across my class samples. It seemed the perfect art focal as my Sticky University thesis.

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A plain black Moleskein journal became the substrate. I cut down the collage painting on the left of the beautiful Geisha and then attached it quick and easy with the Xtreme glue runner. Wanting to test the company’s marketing information that this new glue is 5x stronger than standard tape runners and will work on everything from wood to acrylic to metal, I cut a strip of vintage measuring tape and glued it down.

Next, I wanted to test the boundaries of this glue with delicate objects so I pulled some beautiful Guinea Hen feathers a student of mine in Dallas gave me and attached them with Xtreme too. The feathers are perfectly adhered and there is zero glue showing through, which is pretty cool if you ask me. I’ve worked with real feathers quite a bit and they are a pain to get right with wet medium.

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One quick tip: When using the tape runner be sure to end the gluing motion with a side swipe. This stuff is so wonderfully sticky that if you just lift it off your substrate, the glue will pull up and you’ll have strings to deal with. A quick side swipe cleanly breaks the sticky film. Here’s a good video from Tombow showing how to use it if you’re interested in seeing more.

So now that I’ve had time to play with the product my conclusion is that the Xtreme really is perfect for mixed-media artists. I give it two thumbs up and will continue to use it in my work and keep it as an adhesive staple in my studio.  Sure, it’s nice to be a Sticky University graduate, but, really this is a product review and what’s most important to you is to know that it’s simple, easy and works.

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Tell me, are you a glue aficionado? What’s you favorite adhesive for your mixed-media work?

JenSig

Mon Petit Coeur workshop

I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be teaching at one of my favorite guilty-pleasure vintage shops in Southern California called Gilding the Lily. Every time I go to the Orange County area, I always find a way to sneak over to this little slice of retail therapy Heaven. Owner Nancy Jamar is a beautiful jeweler herself and, wow, does she have an eye for quality. The vintage beads, the rosary chain, the millenary items, the lace, the trim..swoon…my heart is beating faster just thinking about it!

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I created a brand-new class just for Gilding the Lily and called it Mon Petite Coeur, or My Little Heart necklace. I’ll be teaching how to use ICE Resin with backless bezels and how to train your artistic eye to design for both positive and negative space. The necklace includes three beautiful Rue Romantique by Kristen Robinson bezels, vintage bits and bobbles, one-of-a-kind transparencies, some lovely Connie Crystal beads, as well as gorgeous tattered ribbon and gilded rosary chain found only at Gilding the Lily. Students can easily bring a family photo or a vintage tin type to include in bezel if they wish to personalize it.

I adore the store in Fullerton and the people there so much I wanted to make the class special. It’s a deal at $115 for the day and includes everything you need to make your unique piece of art. This is my last teaching gig of the year and thrilled to finish off 2014 on such a beautiful note.

You can sign up now. Space is limited to 15. I hope you see you there!

JenSig