Viva La France

I’m so excited! The time has come for our workshop in France. I’m heading out Thursday and come this weekend, I’ll be wandering through all the amazing Paris flea markets with Susan and our students looking for centuries-old treasures to not only inspire me, but also to re-purpose into mixed-media art! After five days in Paris, we’re heading by high-speed train to the South of France for our retreat.

Since there’s still a million and one things I need to do before I leave, I thought I’d give you all a quick photo collage of some of the past pictures from our Relics, Ruins and Resin Alchemy workshop.

Ruins Relics and Resin with Susan Lenart Kazmer and Jen Cushman

This workshop is a big undertaking with lots of logistics and a small, intimate group of people. Our students are not only looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience but are dedicated to digging deeper into their work and getting a full immersion experience in the best techniques Susan Lenart Kazmer‘s developed throughout her 25-plus art career. I’m really looking forward to teaching the ICE Resin and casting part of this workshop. Susan, of course, is going to be teaching her amazing soldering and caging, forging, brazing and wireworking techniques. I’ll be listening and soaking it all up, not to mention I plan to come home with some amazing new jewelry of my own.

Interested in learning more about our trip, jump over to the ICE Resin website workshops page. Want to see more on this magical retreat known as La Cascade, be sure to click the link.

france workshop logo

Once I return in two weeks, I’m planning to do a series of blog posts on the trip. I plan to share some video, lots of pics and more information about La Cascade and what it, and France in general, means for me personally and for my soul’s growth.

Bon Voyage everyone. Stay well, happy and creative.


Word band bracelet

Jen and Colleen Best Friends

One of my best girlfriend’s birthday is coming up. Though she likes my jewelry, she tends to wear small pieces and likes a simpler, more clean aesthetic than I do (read non-mixed-media). During a recent visit to my local Michaels store, I picked up some of these Tim Holtz’ Ideology Word Bands on sale. I decided I’d make her a very simple wrist wrap in her favorite color – green. The beautiful thing about these wrist wraps is that they are a snap to make and really comfortable to wear, as all they are is some soft ribbon or torn fabric wrapped a few times around your wrist and tied in the back. They add a touch of color and have a young vibe. Every time I wear one, I always get teenage girls checking them out and commenting on how much they like them.

Jen Cushman Wrist bracelet


The key to this bracelet is gently curving the word bands. You can do this a couple of ways. If you have a pair of nylon jaw pliers like what you use to straighten kinked wire, all you need to do is place the metal tag in the nylon jaw and gently use your fingers and the pliers to create a curved elongated U shape to fit the curve of the wrist. If you have a bracelet mandrel in your studio and a rawhide mallet — this is how I shaped my bands — you can gently tap the tags over the bracelet mandrel to achieve the curve.

Once you have the word band formed, all you do is simply thread ribbon through the outside loops, making sure the ribbon is behind the words so as not to conceal it and center it in the middle of a long piece of ribbon. I used about 2 feet for my wrist bracelet here.

Finished bracelet wrist wrap designed by Jen Cushman

This trendy bracelet is a snap to make. Much quicker, easier to do and cuter (in my opinion) that running to Target to find a gift.

I hope you give this craft a try. In less than 30 minutes you can have dozen bracelets created for less than a dollar a piece.




Happy Father’s Day

Wanted to share a beautiful video with you today.

It’s amazing how powerful love is when you look it straight in the eyes without flinching.

This was created by Echo Storytelling Agency as part of their #TellThemNow campaign. You can check out Echo Storytelling Blog here.


Edging toward the final transition


Clouds Photo by Jen Cushman

One of the hardest things to do as an adult is to watch your parents age. My parents are 85 and 87 and in poor health. Watching them grow older is similar to watching the light in a light bulb dim a little, then a little more, then a little more.

Each day has become a struggle to care for themselves and each other. My mother tells me that her life, with its almost 65 years of marriage to my father, three adult children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren “went like that” — she says as she snaps her fingers.

“Honey, it all goes by in a blur. Those years of working, raising kids, making a mortgage and monthly bills, changing diapers, family vacations, summers, laundry, cooking, hugs and kisses, bedtime stories, keeping up with the dailies…you look back and realize it was your life,” she says. “And then you get old and wonder where did the time go?  I can hardly remember your childhood, much less your brother and sister’s. I can barely remember last week. When did my brain get so foggy?”

The past three months have been especially hard as my father’s health declines. Two weeks ago, I was able to call in Hospice. Each day, he gets a little bit weaker. Each morning my mother calls me asking me if today is the day. I have no answers. I barely have words.

One thing I do have is commitments, and I take them very seriously. My teaching gigs are usually set a year in advance. Unfortunately, I was unable to keep one teaching commitment this year at Adorn Me because I simply could not leave home at the time. I look back at that week now and realize it was the beginning of the end.

Things got managed and more stable so I went to Bead and Button in Milwaukee last week, and in less than two weeks, I’m off to France for the workshop Susan and I have been planning and organizing for the past 16 months. Our students have put a lot of faith in me…in both of us…to travel overseas for an adventure and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m excited and honored and blessed to ensure they (and we) get it. I know being transparent about my dad’s upcoming transition coupled with the fact that I plan honor my work commitments leaves me vulnerable to criticism, but my only response will be that until you truly walk in someone else’s shoes you have no idea how she feels.

I have been doing everything in my power to juggle my parent’s financial and medical needs these past three months along with my normal life of being a mommy and wife and business partner and artist. It’s been really hard, but I’m proud of myself for doing it. To anyone whose ever gone through this, you know the hardest thing to do is to stay as strong as you can, advocate for your loved ones, and get shit done. Particularly when the thing you really want to do is stay in your bed and cry and wonder why. Or maybe just sleep your way through the pain and hope someone else steps up to the plate so you don’t have to. That’s not who I am, but I will admit I thought about it.

My innermost circle of family and friends have circled the wagons, so to speak, and offer me constant support though love texts, emails, phone calls that I let go to voice mail and even private Facebook messages. I cannot say enough how grateful I am for their love.

Each time I think of my blog and that I haven’t posted much, I feel badly. I wasn’t sure how to put this out there in the world. I have shared a small bit on my Facebook page, but even that’s been uncomfortable. I feel like this is my business and nobody else’s. But then I also feel strongly that if a person is going to use social media as a window into his or her world, it’s not fair/right/reasonable to only share the best and brightest. It sends an unbalanced message of what life is really about.

One of the most important aspects for me of truly living the artist’s life is to share what it looks like. To be authentic. To tell the truth. To be real. To put work into the world and let others judge it, and you, and yet still do it because you know it’s your life’s path and what’s required of you. To stay strong and make, even when all you want to do is laze about in bed to ward off any sorrows/monsters/egos/demons/drama that may be chasing you — real or imagined.

Today I breathe. Tomorrow, God willing, I breathe. And the next day and the next day and so on until one day I can try to explain to my beautiful then-grown son and daughter that life went by in a snap of my fingers.








P.S. I took this photo at dusk in the plane on the way home from Milwaukee. I added the filter “blue haze” to it and a sun flare, but I just love it. I think it sums up how I felt when I was heading home to my family after another successful show. Despite how difficult it’s been and how hard it’s yet to be, I believe our world is filled with wonder, awe and opportunity.


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