To bead..or not to bead

That is never the question. This little lead in is my way of telling you that I’m all packed and ready for the 2016 To Bead True Blue in Tucson. This is my sixth year attending/teaching this show and it’s one I definitely look forward to all year long.

I spent some time in my studio this week making some new art samples to show my students. Mostly ideas I had for new techniques and ways of showing some of the ideas I will be presenting.

Take a peek at the necklace I made using crushed quail’s egg shells. I kept it simple by using our brand new tints to color the background. Then I added the eggs in a layer and then the words from one of my favorite poetry books that I cut up often for mixed-media jewelry. I have all the materials on hand, so my fast-moving students are going to be able to work on the pendant after they finish their “fly” bracelet.


This isn’t the first time I’ve used eggs in my work. I was with Susan in France the year in 2008 when she found some sweet little quails eggs at the weekly market. She bought a box for everyone and took them back to La Cascade so we could all make the most beautiful focal pendants. I loved the idea so much that when I returned home I tracked down some hollowed out quail’s eggs and started exploring other design possibilities. I made this bracelet for our first Explore, Create, Resinate book that came out in 2011. I’ve had a number of requests over the years to teach this bracelet, so I’m finally doing so this year.


By the way, did you know it is not easy to travel with fragile quails eggs for my students’ kits? Ahhhh, the things your instructors go through for you (grin!)

I’ll be teaching this bracelet class and two more at the To Bead True Blue Show at the Doubletree Hotel Sunday and Monday. There are some spots left and, as always, I made up the max kits so I’m prepared. The other classes focus on resin casting — an all time fav! Also wireworking and cold enameling. Click on Susan’s website to register.

I will be coming home Monday evening after teaching just in time to get my daughter into the doctor Tuesday morning to get the cast on her arm removed. Yes, for those of you who might not know, she broke her arm Christmas evening being stubborn thinking she’s big enough to ride her teenage brother’s hover board.

I’ll be back at the show and at the booth Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We have some meetings set, but I’m planning to spend a lot of time at the show demo-ing all the cool new products. If you are around Tucson next week, please come see me and say hello.



Off to CHA 2016

As you know, we have a brand new partnership with Ranger Industries. Susan Lenart Kazmer is the Creative Director of ICE Resin and my new title is the Director of Education for ICE Resin. These last five months have been a whirlwind of constant activity, but it’s all been behind the scenes stuff as Susan, myself and every single one of the amazing people at Ranger have been working on the brand new 2016 Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin releases. The time is finally here!!! I’m heading to CHA — the Craft and Hobby Association megashow today (Friday, Jan 8th) to join up with everyone and see with my own eyes our brand new booth. I will also get to see all the new product packaged, displayed and ready to go. It’s an incredibly exciting time and, honestly, a dream come true.

Susan and I feel great about the new products and the entire SLK line. Her vision has never wavered, and she’s known from the get-go exactly what she wants to see on store shelves everywhere. Ranger’s commitment to quality has been outstanding. We’ve been testing the new products; coming up with brand new art techniques to show our students, friends and fans; working with their graphics team on all improved packaging and the branding expert and digital content manager and all the rest of the million and one little details that it takes to bring products to market.

Ranger did a sneak peek of the new products on Monday. If you missed it, here is the link to the press releases. Also, I did a series of beginning educational videos to be released this year. Here’s a link to the first one I did showing how to use the new 8oz kit. Others will be coming after CHA when everyone gets back to the office.

Susan is teaching an artisan class tonight at CHA. I’ll be teaching the ICE Resin Basics and Beyond class Monday morning. These classes are for the arts and crafts industry and taught to store owners so they can learn how to use the products and, hopefully, head home after the show to develop great classes for their people. You must be a CHA member to take these classes and gain entry to the show. Here is a peek at the necklace my students will be making. It uses the faux opal technique, collaging a bezel and also my absolute favorite thing to do with ICE Resin — casting!


Remember though we will at the To Bead True Blue show is Tucson teaching with our new products and techniques and Ranger will also have an ICE Resin booth were it will be the first time where people can purchase the new stuff, along with all the other SLK products and lots of ICE Resin, of course. Interested in registering? Head on over to Susan’s website.

If you’re interested in CHA and want to watch some of the goings on from your home, be sure to check out Charity Wings. My friend Elena Lai Etcheverry is doing free livestreaming from the show floor Saturday and Sunday. She’ll be interviewing us noon PST Saturday at the booth. Here is a picture of a new ICE Resin necklace I made her to wear at the show. Her organization’s logo is a heart with wings, which is one of my favorite art symbols too. It’s about four layers of resin, vintage mother of pearl buttons and uses Tim Holtz’ Ideaology wings covered in Iced Enamels.


Also be sure to follow ICE Resin Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. To stay up on all the Ranger Signature Designers, be sure to follow their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts too. Lots to see!

After the show is over, I’m heading to the Charity Wings Art Center to spend some time  at the first ever after-CHA designer party. So many friends only see each other once a year and it’s always so crazy at the show that Elena organized a get together where we can all have some downtime and just chat and relax. I’ll be returning home next week, take a long weekend with my family and then gear up immediately for To Bead True Blue.

If you are looking for art retreats this year, please check out my website to see where I’m teaching. I’ll also be adding new ones as they come up. 2016 is off to a busy start! How lucky am I???

Here’s wishing you an incredibly ARTFUL 2016 for yourselves.


Seats Limited for Tucson

Now that we’ve turned the corner on 2016, it’s time to start seriously thinking about Tucson. Hotel rooms are getting full, but there are still some houses to rent if you use an online rental service like Air BnB or Flipkey. Spaces for our Tucson workshops at To Bead True Blue are filling up quickly.

I’m teaching the first two days of the TBTB show: Jan 31st and Feb. 1. As I was thinking about my 2016 workshops in June and July (this is when teaching artists start making new work and contemplating next year’s classes), I realized that what I love to teach and make is a mixed-media combination of freeform wirework, cold attachment with fibers and eyelets, wire beading, collage, color and ICE Resin, of course. I always make and teach pieces that I like to wear myself. Since I have a busy lifestyle, I need my jewelry to be comfortable and long lasting so I can get through the 12-14 hour days on the road still wearing my pieces all the way back to my hotel room.

I teach process and technique classes while ensuring that my students leave the day with finished jewelry. There is nothing more frustrating to me than spending six hours making something beautiful but walking away with UFOs (unfinished objects). I think it’s because when I used to bring pieces and parts home to my studio from classes, it seemed to take me a long time to get them completed.

Take a peek below at the workshops I’m offering in Tucson. If you like what you see, head on over to Susan’s website at and register. You will immediately pay for them via Paypal. I’ll be sending an email to my students before the show to talk about the tools and materials to bring with you, but I assure you I kept it to a minimum for 2016. Also, a little note on my art samples. I was going through a blue phase since we went to France last year and that gorgeous French Blue was dancing about my brain. I will have plenty of materials/imagery and color choices on hand for you to make these pieces any color combination that excites you!


Time to think about 2016 classes

My 2016 teaching schedule for the national retreats is 99.9% set. I’m just waiting to hear from one more. If you’re a fan of making mixed media jewelry, please consider taking a workshop from me next year. I’ll be teaching all my favorite stuff — ICE Resin, wire working, chain making, resin layering, mold making and casting, incorporating organics in resin and well…lots more.

Most of what I’m slated to teach is, indeed, jewelry making. Here’s the thing though. What I teach can be used in other mixed-media applications. Before I did jewelry, I was always adding metal elements to my assemblages and collages. Now when I do work in these mediums I find myself  including something jewelry-related into my pieces. Of course, it looks nothing like jewelry, but that always makes me happy. Whenever I’m making art, I strive to naturally incorporate the techniques as organically as possible so what’s most prevalent is the story. Everything I make has a story – real or imagined. That’s just the way I roll.

Speaking of stories, I’m teaching at Art is You for the first time in 2016. I created all new classes for this retreat. If you live on the West Coast or have family to visit in California, come spend a day or two with me. I have some extra tricks up my sleeves for AIY. I had so much fun creating this PeepPie leather journal. It’s the perfect example of some jewelry-making techniques that I sneaked into the instruction but you’d never know it.


The rest of the year you will find me at the usual places. CHA (trade show only but there are still a handful of spots in my Resin Basics and Beyond 2-hour class) and then a few weeks later the To Bead True Blue show in Tucson. Susan and I are excited because for the first time Ranger Ink (our new business partners) will be manning the booth while we teach. There are some really exciting new products in the Susan Lenart Kazmer line that are debuting at CHA and Tucson. Be sure to stop by if you plan to come to the show. Register for my classes now.

I’ll also be returning to the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee and to Bead Fest Philly. For you Mid westerners and East Coasters, this is the time to find me. Bead and Button registration opens Dec. 15th. Bead Fest Summer should be opening for registration soon too.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you also know that I’m teaching an online class in 2016 too as part of the Art Jewelry Adventure virtual retreat. Registration for this one can be found here.

I have a few other irons in the fire that I’ll be filling in throughout 2016. As always, subscribe to my blog or check out my website under workshops to see the schedule.

By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be back from Ohio. Susan and I got together in person for five days to get some art samples made for the ICE Resin booth at CHA. I’m so stoked because Ranger is building a brand new booth and we are going to be adjacent to them for the show. We have LOTS of eye candy planned with all the new SLK line of products. It was amazing to roll up my sleeves with her in her studio and get messy. I came home with a to do list as long as Santa’s naughty or Nice list, but I’m excited to spend some real time in my studio now making art. To that end, I’ll probably be on the quieter side here on my blog in my social media while I do a little extra juggling.

I hope your days counting down to the holidays are not super stressful and that you’re enjoying the extra good things that come with the season.




Art Jewelry Adventure Incentive



Time is getting nearer and nearer for the 2016 Art Jewelry Adventure Virtual Retreat. I know I wrote about the event a month or so again when registration first went live, but I thought it was time to remind you that I’m teaching at this awesome online event next year. In fact, I’m one of an entire team of 18 instructors. As such, I’ve been able to see some sneak peeks at the projects that are going to be part of next year’s event. I got pretty excited about some of the new techniques I’ll be able to learn from these talented peers of mine.


In case you are wondering about Art Jewelry Adventure here’s a few answers to some of the common questions I’ve been asked –

What is it? A virtual art adventure that lasts all year long. You can take classes on your time, in your home and even wearing your pajamas if you wish. You will be able to slow down, stop, freeze and replay the video tutorials at your leisure.

How does it work? Every few weeks a new class is released. When it is released you will have access to a virtual forum where you can interact with other students and also the instructor. You can ask questions, show your work, get clarification on technique or a part in the video where you may need a little extra help or just say hey!

How many total classes are there? 18 instructors and 24 videos.

How much? $99 for the entire year, which comes out to less than $5 per class.

How do I register? Click my instructor link here. As long as you click this link then you will be signed up through me and I would be sooo appreciative!

What are you teaching Jen? I’m teaching a beautiful necklace project using an open-backed bezel, a fun transfer technique for imagery, layering ICE Resin, using organics and also making a wireworked bronze chain with handmade clasp to bring it all together in a 100% unique wearable art necklace. Here’s a pic in case you missed it.


Who else is teaching? So many cool peeps! Brooke Bock, Ilysa Ginsburg, Kira Slye, Laurie Mika, Cat Kerr, Barbara McGuire just to name a few. You can look at the instructors page here.

And now for a little incentive to sign up. Whoever signs up for AJA Virtual retreat using my link will get a little handmade gift from me. This key chain includes a small resin-filled hobnail heart and a wirewrapped bead dangle attached via jump rings to a key chain. You can use the key chain as is, or pull off the charms and incorporate them into one of your jewelry pieces. Please give me until after CHA and the To Bead True Blue Show in Tucson to get these made and out to you, but I will get them created and mailed. See the photo at top for sample. Offer good only from Nov. 30 – December 31st. 

I hope to see you online in one of the forums soon.


Save the Date; Art is You Santa Rosa


I have some more exciting news to share. I’ll be teaching at Art is You retreats for the first time in 2016. I’ve admired what Sallianne and Ellen have been doing for a long time with their wonderfully creative art retreats. Some of my closest friends are instructors at Art is You, and I have been hearing rave reviews about their classes and students for a long time now.  I’m truly honored to be included in an unbelievable lineup of talent for Art is You in Santa Rosa, California.

I’m happy to say that I developed all brand new workshops for this retreat. I’ll be teaching three mixed-media classes. Two are jewelry related and the other is a beautiful leather journal. I wanted to ensure people with beginning jewelry-making skills feel confident about their abilities to do the class. To this end, I built projects that I know are completely doable as well as lovely. And for many of you who subscribe to my blog, please don’t worry. I kept you in mind as I was creating these workshops because I know you’ve got some mad jewelry skills already. I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Take peek at the workshop schedule .

If you click this link to register, you’ll receive $20 off your registration fee.

Want to see what I’m teaching? Here’s some pics.


My Wild and Free Gypsy Heart


PeepPie Leather Journal


Bronze Bambino Art to Wear

More to come on Art is You Santa Rosa. For now, I’m thrilled to tell you to simply Save the Date.


Art Jewelry Retreat opens today


Happy Sunday everyone. Hope you are having a great day. I just wanted to let you know the “Buy It Before You Win It” contest for the upcoming Art Jewelry Adventure Retreat is now closed. Winners have been announced. Congrats to Karen Lackey. She is the winner from my contest. Karen was one of the first 25 people to enter and she was the first person to share my information on Facebook. Trusty online app picked number 17 and made Karen the winner.

Thanks for all of the support you guys showed me in both entering and sharing of the contest. I’m so pleased with the response that I’ll be sending everyone who entered their name and email on my form a free resin project sheet .pdf that I promised to the first 25 folks. For those who entered, please keep an eye out for it in your mailboxes this coming week.

Today is the first day that online registration for Art Jewelry Adventure Retreat online opens. Illysa and Kira have made 100 goodie bags that are packed with product for those who sign up. If you’re thinking this is the right online art retreat for you next year, please click my instructor link here and make it happen.

Not convinced? Want to see a little video to learn more? Here’s one that introduces all the instructors for the event.

In case you didn’t see my last blog post, this is the necklace I’ll be teaching you how to make. Techniques include working with backless bezels, designing with transparent imagery, embedding organics in ICE Resin and, of course, guaranteed success when working with ICE for your jewelry making. I’ll also be teaching how to make a beautiful wireworked chain from my favorite metal fibers and bronze wire. This includes a handmade wireworked clasp to complete your necklace. You guys know how much I adore making (and teaching!) jewelry using 100% handmade components.




Here’s wishing everyone a truly Artful week to come!