Beads and Buttons

Today I’m headed to Milwaukee for the annual Bead and Button Show sponsored by Bead and Button Magazine (Kalmbach Publishing). I’ll be teaching three classes, attending the always-fabulous Meet the Teachers reception and, of course, shopping for some fantastic jewelry-making supplies.

I also get to hang out with my beautiful business partner/bff Susan Lenart Kazmer, which is always a rip-roaring great time. Susan is such a rockstar instructor. She’s got four workshops and all of them are almost full. We teach opposite schedules so that means I will get to hang out in a couple of her classes like the old days where I can help out and be there to soak up all the wonderful, creative energy.


I’ll be teaching my always-popular ICE Resin Layers and Depth workshop twice. The first class sold out so I was asked to repeat it. Love when that happens! I’m also teaching a metalworking class called Chevron Drops. I created this workshop so people could really hone in on metalworking basics of forging, annealing and manipulating wire while walking out with a well-designed necklace. I love doing these types of classes. I called them process-project. The teaching is linear with repetitive steps. You can learn a lot quickly. The teaching style allows information to cement itself in the brain. If you are reading this, are going to Bead and Button and want to take this class, there are spots available. You can still sign up on site at the show.

Chevron Drops Jen Cushman

If you’ve never been to Bead and Button and want to see some inside action, be sure to follow my social media. I plan to Instagram a lot during my five days. Will be Tweeting and Facebooking too.

I won’t be posting much to the blog this week, but I’ve got a summer beeswax collage tutorial coming up for you next.





Good luck and my little one

Jen Cushman Bracelet Lucky Charm


My daughter is pretty darn cute. I know every mother says that about her kid…and every grandma and grandpa and daddy too. But, really, she’s adorbs. Here’s a little known fact about me. I’m not really a baby person. Yeah, they’re cute and all, but I’d much rather hold a puppy or kitten truth be told. I completely loved my own children when they were babies. I think back to how quickly those days sped by even though when I was in the middle of them, I felt like I was living in the movie Groundhog Day. However, I’m really enjoying the age she is now. The 5-7 year old time frame is so much fun because she’s still excited about life and hasn’t yet learned how to roll her eyes at me.

Lately she’s been on this kick where things are Good Luck. Examples:

  • Last Saturday she was eating her Cheerios on the couch watching cartoons. It’s a comfy older sofa so I don’t care if the dogs sleep on it or the kids eat while watching TV. She spilled a little bit of milk and said, “Mama, good luck I was almost done.”
  • We were running late for school and I was hurrying her along to class. We swooped in just in the nick of time and she says “Good luck we made it before they closed the gates.”
  • I was running to the post office to collect a package that I had to sign for and on the way home she wanted an ice cream cone from McDonalds. I pulled though the drive thru and realized I didn’t have my wallet. I dug around in my console and pulled out some change. “Good luck you have a secret hiding spot in your car, mommy.”
  • She dropped one of her My Little Pony dolls and the wing broke off. “Good luck daddy can fix anything!”

I know she really means to use the word lucky rather than good luck, but I’ve never stopped to correct her. I want her to continue believing that good luck is everywhere. I want her to see possibility and fortune whenever she can. In practicing conscious parenting, I’m choosing to teach my kids that the glass really is half full. That optimism is a learned skill they can cultivate to help them roll with the punches of life.

I hope this little tale brightens your day. Also that you might think of it when something unfortunate happens to you. Lose your car keys? Good luck you have a spare! Spill some paint right on the focal when you’re painting in your art journal? Good luck you have an old credit card handy to scrape away that paint blob to create more texture!

Please remember, you are a magnificent being. The Universe wants you to shine and thrive and be happy. Do your part to make it happen.

Good luck in all that you attempt this week!



Assemblage kit with CPS

If you subscribe to the Cloth, Paper, Scissors digital newsletter via email, you might have noticed today’s post (May 20th) is about yours truly. Interweave has put together Resin Assemblage with Jen Cushman Value Pack kit that includes ICE Resin and Susan Lenart Kazmer Molding Putty along with two of my new videos. The price of the kit is under $50. Pretty good deal when you consider the molding putty runs $16, the resin plunger is $12 and then the dvds are $20 each. (More pics of the kit at the bottom of this post).

Here is a pic of Online Editor Cheri Haas’ column today. She’s refreshing a blog post I wrote a while back, but the kit announcement is in there too:


Y’all know I seriously love casting with ICE Resin. There is something so thrilling each time I’m able to take an object, make a silicone mold of it and then have the ability as an artist to transform that object in any way I desire. I feel like an alchemist when I use resin. This object, this thing — frozen Charlotte doll, old key, lock, hardware, handmade polymer clay bead, vintage button skeleton leaves — anything — can be cast and then recreated in ICE. Not only that, I can add spices to the resin like tea leaves or smoked Paprika. I can color it with Perfect Pearls mica. I can make the resin opaque with ink or acrylic paint. Not stopping there, I can add surface design and texture to my pieces to make them look like the real deal or completely fantastical, like something out of a science fiction novel. This, my friends, is the real reason why I’m truly obsessed with casting. Whatever I can dream up as an artist, I can create with just molding putty and ICE.

Take a look at a new necklace I finished just yesterday. It’s part of a collection of jewelry I create based on my Breaking Out of the Bezel workshop that I’ve taught nationwide.

Jen Cushman Moon Cast Resin


If you have already bought my dvds, I sincerely thank you for your support. If you’ve been streaming them on Craft Daily, I thank you! If you want to take a peek and get your hands messy with putty and ICE, think about giving the kit a try. If you want to learn casting from me directly and live in or near Texas, remember I’m teaching at Art-Xscape this fall.



kit contents

Charish and Shades of Blue

Mid-Century Modern from Charish. I would love to see this credenza on wheels, Picasso print and scoop chair in my home. Gotta love the little bohemian touch of the pillow and teal shell chandelier.


I’ve been having fun spending time on a new website I found called Charish. It’s for people who love design and want to sell and buy unique vintage pieces. I find myself drawn again and again to the Mid-Century Modern pieces. The lines, the shapes….oh they slay me! One of the coolest things about Mid-Century Modern design is that its easy to DIY style.  For those of us who are into an artsy, eclectic look, there’s nothing like it to get your creative juices flowing.

I have a spot in my family room that I keep looking at and my brain keeps saying. “You know what would look great there? A vintage club chair and a desk or dresser. An accent pillow, a cool vintage focal. Blue, I definitely need shades of blue.” I’ve been visualizing this space for a couple of weeks now and hanging out on Charish for inspiration.

Collage featuring Charish vintage items

Ahhhh….I’m having so much fun with the design process of Polyvore. Here’s a totally different look for my family room space, but still some really fun and unique pieces. The detail that makes the dresser pop for me is the cute little striped legs. Reminds me of Alice and Wonderland stockings in some crazy way.


Now comes the synchronicity part. My fabulously creative friend Jennifer Priest has been raving to me about Polyvore for months now. Since she’s pretty much on top of cool new stuff, I finally decided to start poking around the site to see what it was all about. Oh my Heavens! I think I have a new love…and a new time sink. Drat that JP! Love that JP! Drat that JP! Polyvore is a community powered social commerce website where people from all over the world interested in fashion, interior design and artistic expression create image collages.

So today I start poking around Polyvore and guess what? Lo and Behold I was able to shop Charish and create my very first Polyvore set. My brain went into overdrive! I immediately see a dozen ways that I want to use this website. The first one being a way to show you how my brain makes visual connections.

I’ve often been at teaching events where students of mine will say in an offhanded way that they wish they could be inside my brain. Truthfully, I’ve never completely understood why anyone would want to be inside my head. It took me a long time before I realized that what they were saying is they wish they could get a glimpse of the way I see the world in colors and pictures. Now that’s a pretty cool thing to say to someone! Hopefully as I dig into this a little further this coming summer, I’ll be able to share a little more of my favorite things. Art, color, design, imagery.



Buckle Up, Baby…I’m coming to Austin

Jen Cushman Buckle Up Baby workshop

I’m coming to Austin, Texas y’all! I can’t wait. I’ve spent some time in Dallas and Houston but I’ve never been to Austin, and I have heard some really awesome things about it. Right now, I’m trying to talk one of my best girlfriends into a road trip so we can spend a couple of days enjoying all the sights and sounds after I finish teaching at Art-Xscape. If you have any suggestions for great stores or places that I must put on my to-do list, I’ll take ’em.

Registration for Art-Xscape is open now. I’m happy to say that I developed a brand new workshop that I thought would be perfect for Texans and other art makers who enjoy cowgirl chic. It’s called Buckle Up, Baby. We’ll spend the day learning about Iced Enamels and other cold enameling techniques, as well as making jewelry-sized collages for belt buckles that we encase in ICE Resin.

Last year during the Tucson Gem and Mineral show I found really high-quality antique brass belt buckles. I bought a dozen and couldn’t wait to return to my studio to create. Like a lot of what I do, I went into the studio and spent a couple of days trying to push the limits with my techniques and materials. The results ended up in some pretty fun pieces. I took the best of my techniques, bought more buckles and created a new workshop. I’m thrilled to be debuting it in Austin.

Jen Cushman Resin Belt Buckles

I’ll also be teaching two more resin workshops while I’m there. The first is Create and Resinate, where I teach the basics and beyond of working with ICE Resin. I’ll also be teaching mold making and casting, which is honestly my all time favorite thing to do with resin because I get to play with found objects, as well as molding putty, acrylic paints, Gilder’s Paste, mica powders. We spend a lot of time working on the surface design techniques I’ve developed that pretty much guarantees people cannot tell the difference between the real and cast objects.

If you’re looking for an intimate art retreat getaway in a great city take a peek at the Art-Xscape website. It’s October 8-12 so there’s plenty of time to grab your best artsy friend and plan a road trip with me. I bet we could have some serious fun in Austin together.


Simple and Colorful Jewelry Holder

wh-influencer-program-button1It was such a crazy week when I did this DIY jewelry holder for Walnut Hollow’s blog. The deadline for that project also happened to be right when it was Jen Cushman week in conjunction with my DVD releases. I wanted to give the project a second go around to ensure you all got to see how cute, fun and simple this is to make. You can easily personalize the colors and stencil to your tastes and home decor. My little twist on it, of course, is using a piece of steel wire for the earring holder. Wood and wire = great mixed-media. Seriously, this project takes less than 30 minutes to make. The longest part is waiting for the paint to dry.

DIY Jewelry Holder by Jen Cushman

I have this hanging in my bedroom and it honestly makes me smile when I look at it. I never seem to get enough of this blue/green color palette. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this basswood base from Walnut Hollow. It’s rustic yet elegant and so versatile.

Want to see the full tutorial? Hop on over to Walnut Hollow’s blog now.

Make your Own Jewelry Holder By Jen Cushman


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!