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





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!


My new DVDs are here!


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!


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.


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.


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!



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!



Living with Art on Seth’s Blog

Well my little blogging hiatus lasted almost long enough to take some much-needed family time at our cabin with my kids for their Spring Break. It was relaxing and fun and exactly where I needed to be. Nature walks, s’mores in our fireplace, chillin’ on the sofa watching Netflix, snuggles with my girl reading some of her favorite books. Ahhhhhh I feel refreshed, but now it’s back to work and back to business.

Living with Art Icon

I’ve mentioned maybe a million times that some of my favorite emails are from talented artists inquiring about either collaborations or fun social media shares. One of the best collaborators and curators of the online and IRL (in real life) mixed-media world, in my opinion, is Seth Apter. Seth had this idea to show photos on his blog of how real people live with art.

Here was a portion of his recent email: “I’m asking every participant to send me one or two lines (no more) that somehow describes/captures/illuminates their art aesthetic in terms of the art that they surround themselves with. I am leaving this purposely vague so that your own voice comes through. Anything goes…especially if it is creatively artistic or artistically creative. How is that for a challenge?!?!” (Forgive me Seth, if that was supposed to be private. Yikes!!!)

Challenge for shizzle. Guess what, I did what I always do with Seth. Emailed him immediately back with a Hell YES, I’m in!

See how myself and other artists responded to his request on his blog The Altered Page. The come back here this coming Saturday if you want a little more of a tour of my guest bedroom where the photo is taken from.




Taking a little (bloggy) break

Jen Cushman Spring Bird Necklace


Hey everyone. Happy Spring! Well, it could still be mighty cold depending on what part of the country you live in. Here in the sunny Southwest, Spring has sprung, and guess what? I’m cleaning my studio. I still have to work my regular gigs so the cleaning and sorting is going slowwwwwww. I manage to do about two hours a day on it. The rest of the work day is taken up with my normal deadlines and projects. Weekends are still reserved for family time and household chores.

I was chatting with one of my best girlfriends over the weekend while our littles played. I groaned that I was the epitome of spring fever right now. I want to enjoy the gorgeous 75 degree weather and do anything besides the dailies. I’m also having a heck of a time finding my normal creative juice that usually flows through me. Do you ever have times like this?

As we continued chatting (and me doing a little more bitching and moaning than I should have), I realized that I need to give myself a little break. My soul is wanting to take a few daytime naps here and there and just flat line on some of my normal to dos. I made a list of everything in my life that gives me energy. Then I made a list of things that are not currently feeding my soul. The final column was a list of things I enjoy, but want to just take off my plate for a little bit. At the moment, blogging falls into that last category.

I’ve had various conversations regarding blogs over the years. Some people advise to never let your foot off the gas pedal of your blog because its “the driving force of your business.” (Picture me doing air quotes with my fingers and rolling my eyes) Others say it’s OK to do it, but for goodness sake, never tell anyone what you’re up to. Other social media folks have said they will let up slightly on the pedal by filling in the gaps with curated content (either their own past posts or other’s stuff on the internet) rather than coming up with new ideas. I could opine about all these scenarios, but instead I’m going to do what I would advise you to do if you were my friend having the same conundrum.

I would tell you to listen to the whispers of your soul because only you can hear the small, still voice within. The key is being quiet and stopping long enough to hear it.

I have no idea how long this little bloggy break is going to last. It might be as short as an afternoon, making this post irrelevant. It could take a week or more, or as long as my studio purge. What I promise myself, and everyone who subscribes to my blog and cares enough about me to follow me, is that I will never write a post just to publish. There’s a thousand big and small things in life that’s that way more fun and fulfilling than spending time reading half-assed blog posts.

Now get into your studio (or not) and have an Artful day. Whatever you decide to do, please be sure to live with it all your heart.


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.


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!


From Solitude to Spotlight


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.


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?