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!).

Susan and her jewelry

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

 

I’m up on Creative Jump Start 2015

CJSOutOfTheBoxEditionRemember me telling you that I was contacted by my fab artist friend Nathalie Kalbach and asked if I’d be part of her super cool annual project called Creative Jump Start with other amazing artists/crafters? (If not, here’s a link to my blog post about it.) Well, the time has come for my video to join my friends’ videos.

To be fair to Nat and all the people who paid to sign up and be inspired all throughout the month of January, I’m not going to post the video for free here on my blog. However, it is time to finally reveal pics of my project. (If you’re at the CHA Show in Anaheim right now, be sure to stop by the ICE Resin Susan Lenart Kazmer booth 647 and see this baby live and on display).

I’ve had a pretty hideous piece of soft Samsonite luggage in my studio for a couple of years now that I bought at a yard sale for $1. I’ve always had the intention of making it an art piece, but just never seemed to get around to it. That is until Nat told me this year’s theme is Think Outside the Box. I know I’ve seen some painted luggage before, but I’ve not done it myself yet so I thought it was enough outside-the-box to qualify. Of course, you know I had to put ICE Resin on it after I painted that sucker with Liquitex Soft Body Acrylics. (Yum, they went on like butter!).

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Since I’m always the teaching artist as well as a working one, I had to leave one side completely unfinished. I want people to see what it looked like in its original state and Ta Da!!!! afterwards. The other thing about this particular piece of art is that I wanted to ensure that viewers of CJS got an accurate look into my authentic art process. I did not work out in my head the colors or sketch the design of this piece before I began. I went into it like I usually begin. With a visual in my brain and a passion for getting my hands to do what my mind’s eye sees and my heart feels. That’s it. If you watch the video, you’ll hear more of my narration on this.

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My supplies for this project are pretty simple. A suitcase. Three bottles of Liquitex soft body paints in Red, Blue and Yellow (so I could custom mix any colors), Black and White paint, a couple of paint brushes, couple of Liquitex paint pens, 2 Stencil Girl stencils (one of them Nat’s design) and ICE Resin.

If you’ve signed up for Creative Jump Start 2015 I hope you’re enjoying the videos so far. There’s still LOTS more amazing people and ideas to come. If you’re interested and want to learn more, here is Nathalie’s page. I believe you can still use my personal code cjsnewsiceresin to get a $5 discount off the price.  Note: This code is only good until Jan. 15th.

For those of you who’re already enjoying CJS15 and who might just have discovered me….welcome! I am so excited to have you visiting my blog for the first time. If you like what you see, please subscribe.

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Here’s wishing everyone an Artful rest of your week!

JenSig

 

It’s that time of year: CHA

cha_logo_designersI hope everyone had a seriously amazing Christmas or Hanukkah and a Happy New Year. It’s Monday, Jan. 5th and if your life is anything like mine, you’re easing back into work and/or just happy that your kids are back to school. Not that I don’t love the family time. We had some really great quality time together snowed in at our cabin in Northern Arizona where we spent days/evenings hanging out, watching movies, playing games and getting all bundled up to play in the snow. Why is it that you spend more time putting on the snow clothes and taking them off then the time you actually spend in the snow itself?

Today is a little insane at Studio Cushman, as I’m running a million miles an hour to check off all the things I still need to do before I leave for the Craft and Hobby Association Show in Anaheim Wednesday morning. My darling and supportive husband is driving the ICE Resin Susan Lenart Kazmer booth out with his big truck and trailer, while I ride in the passenger seat doing last-minute car crafting for the show. Thursday is booth set up all day and then education day on Friday where I get the pleasure of spending time with Jennifer Priest during our Business Seminar called Building a Social Media Campaign and later assisting Susan in her Artisan workshop called Alchemy with ICE Resin and Iced Enamels.

Susan Lenart Kazmer and myself in front of our ICE Resin booth CHA Winter 2014.

Susan Lenart Kazmer and myself in front of our ICE Resin booth CHA Winter 2014.

 

Saturday is Day One of the show. If you’re planning to attend, be sure to stop by our booth number 647. The two other workshops where I”ll be for CHA is Sunday at our joint workshop with Imagine Crafts and Stampendous called Oh Happy Day; Stamps, Ink and Resin. This is a sold out workshop, but I’ll be sure to take some pics of it as its going on and put them on my Instagram and Facebook pages. Finally, I’ll be teaching ICE Resin FUNdamentals on Monday. As of last head count, there are still a couple seats left. Other than that, I’m planning to be at the booth most of the rest of the time with the exception of a couple meetings.

charitywingsbepartICE Resin — Susan and myself — will be participating in Charity Wings Live from CHA online streaming event. Elena does an amazing job every year with this event. Participants have so many chances to win amazing swag bags from lots of manufacturers and handmade art from your favorite designers. Here’s a Live from CHA link to get all the info. It’s a FREE livestream. We’ll be giving away some great stuff during our segment at 3 p.m. on Saturday Jan. 10th. Join me!

Remember, if you want to see some of the happenings at the CHA 2015 MegaShow, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook. Also be sure to follow the ICE Resin Susan Lenart Kazmer Facebook page too for lots of updates and happenings.

 

Take care and be well!

JenSig

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

 

A little behind the scenes filming pics

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Action shot of me talking about the stamped metal and mica pendant that I’ll be showing how to make. You can see my books and DVD on the side table. Garrett moved me to a jeweler’s bench for this project rather than the big table that I needed for my other mixed-media home decor videos.

I cannot believe it’s 2 days until Christmas! Where did the time fly? I swear it feels like it was just Thanksgiving, doesn’t it? It’s also hard to believe I had not one, but two trips in between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The first was a whirlwind trip to the ICE Resin home office in Ohio for a couple of days for an important meeting and then the second trip was to Fort Collins, Colorado for two days of filming at F+W for Craft Daily.

It was a little odd to be back in Denver. I was there last year to do my video Breaking Out of the Mold with Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine. That’s when the home office was in Loveland and was still part of Interweave even though F+W had already acquired it. There’s been lots of changes in the past year as things are getting much more integrated, including a whole new office complex and filming studio in Fort Collins. Of course, I had seen images of the new studio since that’s where my friends Jenn Mason and Julie Fei-Fan Balzer shot the Mixed-Media Workshop. It’s one thing to see it on your computer screen or iPad and entirely different thing to see it in person and also be the “talent”.

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Ted taking a shot of my final piece for the marketing department and my editor.

In two days, I shot four new videos for Craft Daily. I’ll be showing people how to make a vintage message board with cast ICE Resin hardware; an air-dry clay with wings collage using ICE Resin; an out-of-the-box vintage book hook where I take the fork bracelet from my book Making Metal Jewelry and turn it into a vintage book hook and, finally, a metal stamped vintage photo/mica pendant with handmade wire chain using Art Mechanique metal sheet and wire. I’m not exactly sure when these videos are planning to air, but I’ll be sure to let you know the details as I know them.

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Notice the camera overhead? This one gets the hands shots and see exactly what I see from the same vantage point. There are two other cameras going as well. One that is being operated by Brian and zooming in on action and then one straight on looking at me.

The fun and different thing for me this time with the filming is that F+W now hires a professional makeup artist to come in each morning and do the talent’s makeup. (I have to keep using that word because I chuckled when I heard people referring to me that way). Her name is Keegan and she’s a crack up. It was the first time I’ve had my foundation airbrushed on my face and then contouring done to bring up my cheekbones. She asked me if I wanted to try individual false eyelashes and I immediately responded, “Sure, that sounds fun!” I sooo like to try new things and have new experiences that I’m usually game for just about anything the first time. I have to admit the eyelashes made me feel kinda girlie and dressed up. I even decided to try a little harmless flirting as Garrett was getting my mike set.

There were also two lovely ladies on the set to ensure that I had anything I wanted or needed. Tamara helped me with all my step outs and my projects. She brought me hot tea for my throat and lozenges (I started to get a sore throat my second day of filming. My son came down with it the day before). She was kind and generous and really made sure I had everything at hand while the cameras were running. Jill was also there as another behind-the-scenes person who ordered my lunch each day, took process photos, photos with my camera for my own blog, and generally ran through the F+W checklist of everything marketing needs to complete its job. Everyone kept telling me that I was a pro and doing a great job. I’m sure they say that to all the talent, but it was a little ego boost to get kudos for doing well.

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The team! From Left to right: Jill, Tamara, Keegan, me, Brian and Ted. Every single person was a total pro and made the whole thing run smooth from A to Z. Garrett was on another beading video shoot this morning so he’s not in the pic, but he is so cool. I worked with him on m last DVD shoot.

When I posted a couple of pics on my Facebook page, a friend and fellow artist of mine asked if filming is nerve wracking. The thing is that the first 15 minutes are horrible. I think even to the most seasoned of pros. Once the jitters settled down and I started to talk and teach to the camera just as if it were one of my students, things went much smoother. By the time Day 2 came, it was pretty much old hat and I could have stayed there for the rest of the week just doing what I do.

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End of day one filming and holding up my mixed-media heart collage. There are so many techniques in this class. I incorporated techniques from ceramics, paper crafting, resin and jewelry making into this collage.

I did have a moment back in my hotel room where I was just hanging out thinking about the day. That made me remember when I made the decision to pursue mixed-media as a full time career and then fully dedicating myself to living the artist’s life. I made the decision in November 2006. It’s now December 2014, and I can honestly say I have checked off every goal I set for myself in the beginning. I’ve had opportunities I never dreamed of come from my decision to work hard and show up every single day. I never once wrote in my goals list that I wanted to make videos for the largest arts/crafts publisher, but it happened. Seriously???? Whaaaatttt??? Incredible!

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All cleaned up and lights out. Ready for the next artist to arrive and get to work. There are some amazing folks lined up to teach for Craft Daily. If you love learning new art techniques, you’ll want to keep an eye on this website.

I know from meeting some of you at CHA or Tucson or the other shows we do that you read my blog just to see what I’m up to. I also hear feedback that you like it when I talk about some of the behind the scenes stuff. I know it can all seem so surreal. Cameras and microphones and studio sets and green rooms. Honestly, it’s surreal to me when I stop and think about it. On the other hand, though, it’s perfectly normal. For me, making art means education. What I get to do is talk about art in small group settings like retreats, or one on one via a camera. Talking about art and making art = Dreams Come True.

I hope that in these final hours of counting down to the Holidays that you are feeling a sense of accomplishment, joy and creativity in your own lives. Don’t forget that you’re the “talent” in your own lives. If nothing else for 2015, buy yourself a pair of eyelashes and see what it feels like to flutter them at someone. Shushhh, don’t tell my husband, but I’m putting this on my to do list some time next year. I want to see if he even notices.

JenSig

Off to Film at F+W in Colorado

ConcenratingJen

I’ve been a little quiet the past week on my social media and blog because I’ve been concentrating and working like a little elf in my studio for an upcoming project with F+W where I’ll be filming four online classes for Craft Daily. I leave Tuesday morning (Dec. 16th) and will be there for the remainder of the week.

I wish I could tell you or even show you what I’ve been working on, but, unfortunately I’m not allowed to reveal anything. I just couldn’t help myself though so I’m showing you an extreme sneak peek of one of the projects. Can you guess what it is? (bottom pic) I will be talking more about these projects in the future so please subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already.

What I can say is that I had a blast making these and working on the upcoming filming. I incorporated so many mixed media paint-y, inky, ICE Resin, rubber stamping, cold enamels, casting, molding, drilling, annealing, forging, wireworking, found objects, vintage photos, riveting, air dry clay, freeform wire shaping…..and the list still goes on….into these awesome projects. I really am hopeful people love them and get a lot of education and value from my work.

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If you’ve never heard of Craft Daily, it’s an online subscription-based site by F+W media chock full of how to videos and classes from some of the top names of artists and instructors in the business. Currently, there are over 350 videos to choose from. If you get a chance, check it out and see if it’s of interest to you. I’m hoping 2015 is going to be my year of videos and online classes. I’m seriously working toward this goal. This is a great step as a follow up to my Breaking Out of the Mold video (which I’m pretty sure is available currently on Craft Daily).

I’m excited to be going. Wish me luck!

JenSig

Mixed Media Mystery Box

1 p.m. MST UPDATE — ALL THE MYSTERY BOXES ARE SPOKEN FOR. Thanks SO much everyone for your quick and overwhelming response. You have seriously MOTIVATED me. I’m going to do a huge purge in January and I’ll be doing this again. I’d love for my treasures to go to good homes. 

 

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I spent 10 hours on Saturday cleaning my studio in order to get flat surfaces for me to work on again. Sometimes I think mixed media = hoarder. There’s just too much cool stuff in this world that I look at and want to re-purpose into ART. As I was cleaning and coming across multiples of items that I’ve used in past workshop kits, I was trying to figure out what to do with all the great bits and bobs. I mean, seriously, there were big piles of awesome trims, brand new stamp sets from Indigo Blu in the UK, items from the Spellbinders Media Mixage line with Susan Lenart Kazmer, Industial Chic by Susan Lenart Kazmer goodie bags that I put together three years ago for my CREATE classes, buttons, old brown bags from the 1950s with writing on them, beads, bobbles, dies, vintage papers, Connie Crystal, things I have left that are onesie and twosies, etc. You can see a sample by this pile here. Just know I kept adding to it even after I snapped a pic and, silly me, forgot to take another photo. I was on a cleaning roll.

Jen's Studio Mystery Box

I grabbed seven medium sized brown boxes and decided to make up mixed media mystery boxes that I’d offer to my fellow hoarders….ummmmmm… I mean artists. I’m selling these for $20, plus $10 shipping. I guarantee you that what’s inside is worth way more. I’d love for a little piece of my studio to now be in your capable creative hands. Here’s the deets:

  • There are only 7 boxes. First come.
  • Send me an email to jencushman@ymail.com and tell you you want one. I will send you an invoice for $20 plus $10 shipping via Paypal. Once you pay it, I’ll ship that box out immediately.
  • No returns. Since this is a mystery box, what you get is what you get. Consider it an art game. Play at your own risk. If you’ve ever taken classes from me, you know how generous I like to be with art supplies.

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I’ve decided that after our two big shows — CHA in January and Tucson the first week in February — that I am going to do a giant purge of my studio. I am paring down my studio to the essentials. If my little mystery box flash sale goes well, then I’ll make it even bigger and better next year. Now go make some room for my stuff! (grin)

Here’s wishing you a super Artful week.

JenSig