Charity Wings adventures

I’m off to one of my most favorite places in the world this week — San Diego and Charity Wings Art Center. As many of you know, I’ve been a supporter of Charity Wings mission and vision for about five years now. Elena, the founder of the Charity Wings non-profit, and I hit it off one year at a Craft and Hobby Association convention and we’ve become good friends ever since. Even without the dear friendship, I’d still be a huge supporter of this organization because as far as I know, it is the only non-profit that truly works hand-in-hand with the crafts industry.

Each year, I donate my time to Charity Wings to teach various mixed media techniques. Most times, it’s jewelry, but mostly I try to listen to what new skills and techniques the Ahmazing volunteers and supporters of the Charity Wings Art Center want to learn. Of course, resin is always right up there on the list. The BEST part about this year’s visit is that it is in conjunction with the organization’s Art Decade*nce Celebration and big come-one-come-all free festival that culminates the activities on May 14th.

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My classes are Thursday this week. There’s still time to sign up. The metal etching class is almost sold out, so if you are interested, I’d suggest you jump on board toot-sweet (Ok, it’s actually spelled tout suite in French and is an idiom for right away, but I think this spelling is much cuter.:-)

Here are some photos of what I’m teaching. In the caption is the individual registration link. Remember, taking my class at Charity Wings is like learning for good or learning with a cause. How cool is that?

 

 

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ICE Resin Basics and Beyond class — Registration link: http://charitywings.org/ice-resin-basics-beyond/

 

 

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Metal Mania etched copper pendant necklace: http://charitywings.org/metal-mania-class/

 

I sincerely hope I see you there so we can have a truly Artful experience together.

JenSig

A Mother’s Day First

Mother’s Day is usually a pretty great day for me since I became a mom. I love my kids more than anything and it’s always fun to get my macaroni necklaces and hand drawn cards and lots of hugs and kisses. This Mother’s Day is a new first. It’s the first one in my life where my mother is no longer here.

Don’t get me wrong. She is with me. In spirit. In Love. In my heart. Always and All ways.

However I can no longer touch her. No longer talk to her and hear her voice. No longer hug her, cry on her shoulder or call her just to chat.

This post is for all of you whom I share these thoughts and emotions with. I am your soul sister now because now I know a little bit of what you’re feeling. Here’s a big {{{hug}}} to you on Mother’s Day just because you deserve it.

This is also a day that I am making sure to celebrate ME. I have the most important job in the world – MOM. When my daughter gave me the macaroni heart necklace she made with such care in her first grade class this year, you can bet I gave her and extra big hug. It is my newest favorite piece of jewelry, and I will treasure it. One day when she’s an adult and goes searching for photos of the two of us, she will find this necklace saved for her a safe spot. Hopefully she will save it next to the one her future son or daughter makes for her with the same amount of joy and love. It’s a silly sentimental object, but right now, it’s what I’m holding on to. I wish I had found my macaroni necklaces when we went through my parent’s belongings. I’d wear it with pride layered with my daughter’s.

I decided to go looking through and old backup hard drive of mine with family photos. I found a few of me and mom. I admit I shed a few tears looking at them, but they make me happy. Memories are good. Good memories are better.

Here I am as a baby. My mom was 38 when she had me. Hard to believe when I see this photograph.

Here I am as a baby. My mom was 38 when she had me. Hard to believe when I see this photograph.

 

I don't have any memories of this, however, I've been told my whole life how much I loved it when we went bicycling when the weather was nice in Phoenix.

I don’t have any memories of this, however, I’ve been told my whole life how much I loved it when we went bicycling when the weather was nice in Phoenix.

 

Photo of my mother, myself, my sister, her favorite dog and my grandparents. My grandmother passed away when I was 5 so I never knew her, but my family told me she kept scrapbooks and read constantly and loved art. They tell me I’m a lot like her. I know we both like pie…a lot.

 

Another pic of my mom and me when I was young. I have a devilish little look in my eyes. Wonder what I was thinking? Probably where's my crayons? I want to color on that sidewalk.

Another pic of my mom and me when I was young. I have a devilish little look in my eyes. Wonder what I was thinking? Probably where’s my crayons? I want to color on that sidewalk.

 

Happy Mother's Day Mom. I miss you.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I miss you.

JenSig

Art Jewelry Adventure sale

Creative150ArtJewelryAdventureHey guys! Just wanted to let you know the Art Jewelry Adventure online retreat that’s taking place this entire year is on sale now for 20% off. If you use my direct instructor link – http://bit.ly/1M1Rs0f – and register now, you pay just $80 (normally $99).

Not sure what to get your crafty jewelry-making mom (or even for yourself) for Mother’s Day this might just be a great prezzie.

Once you register, you’ll be able to watch all the online lessons that have been taking place so far. And good news, you haven’t missed my class yet. I’m up in October teaching how to make a pretty transparent resin bezel and a handmade chain necklace from 18 gauge bronze wire.

Remember, please click my direct link to register.

Also here’s another peek of my project in case you’ve forgotten or haven’t had a chance to see it yet. The deadline to take advantage of this sale is May 7th so hurry now if it’s been on your mind.

Jen Cushman Transparent Necklace Class Image

 

 

 

Smile baby girl

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Here’s a familiar week day scenario. My daughter comes from her babysitter’s house and thumps her backpack on the table. I’m in the kitchen chopping vegetables and working on dinner. She immediately starts fishing in her backpack for the day’s papers and hands me semi-wadded messes of important information intermingled with the day’s take home school work. She’s talking a mile a minute because it’s been 10 hours since we’ve seen each other and a lot has happened in her world while we were apart. (Truth be told, a lot has happened in my work day, but hers is more important so we focus on her).

I wipe my hands on a towel, give her a huge hug, take the wad of papers and put them on a counter in the kitchen so I can look at them after dinner. I pull up a kitchen stool and she continues talking about her day while I keep cooking.  Sometimes we talk through the entire dinner prep time, but more than likely she jumps down from the stool and heads to the living room to play on the iPad before dinner. My husband or teenage son has picked her up from the sitters and they disappear until dinner time the moment they walk in the house.

This time before she jumps down from the stool, she heads over to the papers to put the one about school picture day on the top of the pile. She wants to make sure I see it because it’s important. “Mama, I can wear something pretty because it’s school picture day. We don’t have to wear our uniforms!” (The navy collared shirts and blue or khaki pants/skirt uniform causes consternation with my hot pink and sparkles fashionista).

“Awesome. Why don’t you go pick out what you want to wear tomorrow,” I tell her. She bounces off happily, ready to make this important decision independently.

The truth of the matter is I’m not and never have been a fan of the non-creative photos that are done in public schools across the nation. The whole predictable grey mottled background and cookie cutter way of taking school photos nauseate me. It’s one annual ritual I wish we could just skip. To that end, I have never cared what my kids wear for these photos. The chances of me buying them are 1 in 10. I’d rather donate money directly to the school for something useful, like field trips to the museum or science center than purchase or (gasp!) display them in my home.

I’m doing my best to be a good mom though, so I never express these feelings with my kids. We have creative family photos all over our house. I have a real passion for photography, so we have some fun family home decor and they get to see their beautiful faces everywhere (much to my daughter’s delight and my son’s chagrin.)

Fast forward to bedtime. As I’m tucking my daughter into bed, she asks if I can lay next to her so we can snuggle for a few minutes. As I crawl in next to her, I can see her brows knitted in worry.

“What’s going on, love?”

“Mama, I don’t like picture day at school because I have to smile,” she says.

My heart sinks a little. I know the reason she’s saying this is because she hasn’t had any front teeth since she was two years old. It’s our fault. She screamed and wiggled and fought getting her teeth brushed so we didn’t do as good of a job as we should have and she developed “baby bottle teeth” and they had to be removed. Yes, her adult teeth will come in, but she’s not had teeth for so long that she doesn’t even know what it’s like. She’s been teased about it, and it makes her sad and want to hide this part of herself that she feels ashamed about.

I kiss her on the top of her head and then look into her eyes. “You listen to me honey. YOU are beautiful. YOU are divine. YOU are gorgeous. You are a million and one amazing things, least of which are smart and kind and loving. You are a friend to everyone. When picture day comes tomorrow and the photographer tells you to smile, I want you to give him the biggest and brightest 10,000 watt smile that you have inside of you. YOU let that inner beauty of yours SHINE because you are perfect just the way you are.”

She flashes me a huge smile and me and then hugs me tighter than she has in a while. For a moment, my heart leaps right out the top of my head. Yes, good mama moment. Important mama moment. Success!!!

Here’s a little secret of my own. I have a crooked smile that I’ve often felt ashamed about it. I’ve also done a tight-lipped grin for important publicity photos, like when I was at F+W shooting my DVDs/digital downloads. I didn’t want strangers to look at me and my creative work/products and think less of me or judge me because I don’t have a perfect row of pearly whites. Sometimes when I do selfies with my artist friends at the retreats and events, I’ll keep my crooked smile to myself so it doesn’t show up in their social media news feeds.

However, this little girl of mine is proving to be one of my most valuable life teachers. Being her mama makes me face my own fears and insecurities. Trying to raise a strong, smart, beautiful woman makes me realize that when I’m talking to her, I’m often telling my childhood self the things I most needed to hear, and, wow, these moments can be most empowering and healing.

I hope my daughter takes this lesson to heart and follows through. I promise, if I open that photo package and I see her proudly showing her gums and letting her inner beauty shine, I will buy the entire thing and hand them out to every family member and close girlfriend I have. Boring background and cookie cutter pose be damned!

And next time — hopefully every time — I see that cell phone camera coming my way, I’ll remember to light it up with my crooked smile and inner beauty as well.

Smile baby girl, you’re perfect just the way you are!

JenSig

 

 

Mold making and casting process

My Peep Pie Journal workshop at Art is You Santa Rosa is almost full. Only two spaces left. By this time next week, I’ll be hanging out in gorgeous wine country with my artsy tribe. I can’t wait! Since so many folks are interested in the mold making and casting process with ICE Resin, and since this technique is the focal point of my workshop next week, I’ve been sharing process pics on my Instagram and Facebook business page this week. To give credit where credit’s due, Susan was the first to cast a lock. I saw hers and fell in love.

I’m teaching myself how to do video and editing since it’s my plan to start offering some online classes. Let’s just say I still have A LOT to learn about making and producing videos. However, in an effort to jump in and try out my skills, I put together a little marketing video for my journal class. I wanted to share something with those of you who might not be able to attend the Art is You retreat this time around. (Put it on your bucket list for sure though. It’s a pretty amazing art tribe, and you know there is serious truth in that saying You Vibe is Your Tribe!)

I hope you enjoy this little sneak peek:

JenSig

Going, going. gone…Art is You registration

AIYlogoGetting down to the wire here with Art is You Santa Rosa. I hope you will be joining me, as I’m super excited about this new teaching event for me. I have only a couple of spots left in my Peep-Pie journal class, but more openings in both my Wild and Free Gypsy Heart and Bronze Bambino workshops. These classes all focus on some really awesome ICE Resin techniques – pouring, mixing, coloring, layering, embedding, casting, resin paper. In addition I’m teaching wireworking and beading techniques in a skill-building way.

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Not in the Northern California region? Check out my class offerings for 2016 at Bead and Button in Milwaukee (search the teacher list for my name and you can see all my classes. Here’s my resin layers one) and also Bead Fest in Philadelphia. For you Phoenicians, remember that Art Unraveled is the only time I’m teaching locally, and this year I had to limit it to two workshops due to other projects in the works.

Oh and you San Diego peeps, remember that I’ll be at Charity Wings in May 12-14 for their 10 year anniversary Art Decadence celebration. I’m on the Board of Directors for this 501(c)(3) Non-Profit crafting organization and art center and have been a big supporter of Elena’s mission and vision for years now. When I teach at Charity Wings, I donate my time. The class fees collected are earmarked for educational programs of the various special needs organizations/students who attend weekly. I’ve had the sincere pleasure of being at the art center during some of these classes and I cannot tell you how much it warms my heart and reaffirms my belief in the good of humanity when I meet these amazing people. There is one woman with the most generous spirit who always gives me her project when she sees me. She tells me that seeing me smile when she gives me her art is what makes her happy. Seriously, brings tears to my eyes every time I’m such a softie. Here are links to my two classes; Metal Mania and ICE Resin Basics and Beyond

Til next time. Hope you are having an Artful week.

JenSig

 

An update on my studio purge and reorganize

Studio Purge/Sort/Clean/Organize update — This was a BIG week for me. My studio got help not one, but TWO days this week. My dear sweet longtime friend Trish spent three hours sorting and organizing for me yesterday. She got all my wire off the floor and into an entire wire cabinet. Plus she organized my resin cabinet and my business/office cabinet. I was on deadline with a project so she happily worked like a busy bee while I did my thing, and I’m soooo very grateful for her help.
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Today Kelly, the professional organizer with New Day Organizing spent the entire day working alongside and motivating me to purge/sort/organize. Kelly had me tackle “my precious” today. That would be my collection of vintage found objects ( A LOT of metal objects) and vintage ephemera, gears, light bulbs, watch faces, numbers and letters. We also tackled my bookcase. I donated at least 35 books. I also have a collection of mixed media & jewelry making books that I no longer need but are amazing that I plan to bring to Art Unraveled art faire to sell this August. The other major thing we accomplished today is that we cleaned behind my office door next to the bookcase. This was stacked with teaching overflow where I put all the onesies and twosies of leftover kits etc.
Here's a super messy shot before Trish and Kelly's help.

Here’s a super messy shot before Trish and Kelly’s help.

During The Purge

During The Purge

We also got to my resin cabinet. We sorted and organized my cold enameling supplies, my glitters, my micas, my Perfect Pearls, my dozens and dozens of molds for casting, my molding putty and also my manufactured molds. You know how much I loooooove casting. I’m itching to get at them again now that I have it all in one nice and tidy place.
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Truthfully, I had hoped today would be the last day I would need to bring in Kelly, but because I *finally* took the time to purge and sort my found object precious, the process was tedious. I’m going to need at least two more sessions. Yikes! It makes my heart beat fast to say this out loud. Lots of vulnerability with this much honesty.
JenSig