Off to CHA 2016

As you know, we have a brand new partnership with Ranger Industries. Susan Lenart Kazmer is the Creative Director of ICE Resin and my new title is the Director of Education for ICE Resin. These last five months have been a whirlwind of constant activity, but it’s all been behind the scenes stuff as Susan, myself and every single one of the amazing people at Ranger have been working on the brand new 2016 Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin releases. The time is finally here!!! I’m heading to CHA — the Craft and Hobby Association megashow today (Friday, Jan 8th) to join up with everyone and see with my own eyes our brand new booth. I will also get to see all the new product packaged, displayed and ready to go. It’s an incredibly exciting time and, honestly, a dream come true.

Susan and I feel great about the new products and the entire SLK line. Her vision has never wavered, and she’s known from the get-go exactly what she wants to see on store shelves everywhere. Ranger’s commitment to quality has been outstanding. We’ve been testing the new products; coming up with brand new art techniques to show our students, friends and fans; working with their graphics team on all improved packaging and the branding expert and digital content manager and all the rest of the million and one little details that it takes to bring products to market.

Ranger did a sneak peek of the new products on Monday. If you missed it, here is the link to the press releases. Also, I did a series of beginning educational videos to be released this year. Here’s a link to the first one I did showing how to use the new 8oz kit. Others will be coming after CHA when everyone gets back to the office.

Susan is teaching an artisan class tonight at CHA. I’ll be teaching the ICE Resin Basics and Beyond class Monday morning. These classes are for the arts and crafts industry and taught to store owners so they can learn how to use the products and, hopefully, head home after the show to develop great classes for their people. You must be a CHA member to take these classes and gain entry to the show. Here is a peek at the necklace my students will be making. It uses the faux opal technique, collaging a bezel and also my absolute favorite thing to do with ICE Resin — casting!

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Remember though we will at the To Bead True Blue show is Tucson teaching with our new products and techniques and Ranger will also have an ICE Resin booth were it will be the first time where people can purchase the new stuff, along with all the other SLK products and lots of ICE Resin, of course. Interested in registering? Head on over to Susan’s website.

If you’re interested in CHA and want to watch some of the goings on from your home, be sure to check out Charity Wings. My friend Elena Lai Etcheverry is doing free livestreaming from the show floor Saturday and Sunday. She’ll be interviewing us noon PST Saturday at the booth. Here is a picture of a new ICE Resin necklace I made her to wear at the show. Her organization’s logo is a heart with wings, which is one of my favorite art symbols too. It’s about four layers of resin, vintage mother of pearl buttons and uses Tim Holtz’ Ideaology wings covered in Iced Enamels.

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Also be sure to follow ICE Resin Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. To stay up on all the Ranger Signature Designers, be sure to follow their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts too. Lots to see!

After the show is over, I’m heading to the Charity Wings Art Center to spend some time  at the first ever after-CHA designer party. So many friends only see each other once a year and it’s always so crazy at the show that Elena organized a get together where we can all have some downtime and just chat and relax. I’ll be returning home next week, take a long weekend with my family and then gear up immediately for To Bead True Blue.

If you are looking for art retreats this year, please check out my website to see where I’m teaching. I’ll also be adding new ones as they come up. 2016 is off to a busy start! How lucky am I???

Here’s wishing you an incredibly ARTFUL 2016 for yourselves.

JenSig

Looking for Big Magic

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The past seven weeks I’ve been working on lots and lots of behind the scenes stuff that I can’t share yet. This is always a challenge for me because my days fly by busy and working, but since everything I’m doing is for future big revels, I always struggle with updating my blog and doing my social media.

Basically, Susan and I are working on new product development to debut at the winter CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) trade show now that we are working hand-in-hand with Ranger Industries. I can tell you the process has been so enjoyable. I love the meetings because not only is there a fabulous team, but everyone at Ranger is happy, fulfilled and doing their jobs so effectively. We are loving being an integral part of a larger team and seeing how much ICE Resin is going to grow and soar with these changes. There’s lots of new product ideas, testing, sourcing, concocting, brainstorming, working with the in-house chemist and everything else that goes into bringing art products to market.

It’s been eight years since I joined the crafts industry, first as a designer and then as a manufacturer with Susan. When I look back on it, I cannot believe the changes I’ve made, the lessons learned, the information that’s inside my head and what it’s like to work each day as an insider in the industry. I truly feel as though I received a hands-on MBA, particularly in the past four years.

My days are still busy and full, but they have shifted. This means I’m also getting a lot of family time as well. It’s been wonderful to reconnect with my kids and husband in a way that’s been difficult as we were working 24/7 to grow ICE Resin.  I haven’t been doing nearly as much actual artwork as I would like to, but this is a personal choice. I’ve decided that my downtime right now is better spent on family, reading and listening to TED Talks, exploring new recipes and rediscovering myself and who I truly am as a creative being. I’ve also been spending a lot of time with my mother, and still working through the process of getting her eventually settled  in a new home.

I’m finding inspiration right now in Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Big Magic. What a perfect time for me to be reading this new book on creativity! I’m only a few chapters into it, but, WOW, I haven’t been this excited about a book since I read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. I feel like what I am doing now, and what we (Susan and I) are building for the future truly is big magic. It’s all our ideas coming to fruition on a grand scale.

For those of you who are looking for our Tucson 2016 classes, I’m working on getting those put together. I’ll write a blog post soon when they’re available. Also, keep an eye out here and over at the ICE Queen eZine  for some more information on some upcoming news.

I hope as I’ve been taking some time for rediscovery that each of you have been living and enjoying your Artful lives as well.

Till next time,

JenSig

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

 

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

Hot 20 inspiration necklace

 

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If you’ve been following our ICE Queen eZine or any of our social media channels for Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin, you know by now that Iced Enamels was named one of the Hot 20 products of the CHA Winter 2014 show. We were so excited when we receive the email in December announcing the win, and then all the details of how we had to keep the secret until right up to the Friday evening event when the news was announced before members of the press, craft bloggers, designers and buyers. A representative from each manufacturer was given the opportunity to give a 60 second elevator speech letting folks know why the products are awesome. Here I am explaining that Iced Enamels rock because they allow for the look of torch-fired and kiln-fired glass enamels without the use of a 1400+ degree heat.

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As part of the Hot 20, we were upgraded to a large space pedestal on the show floor in the Innovations Showcase, which was pretty awesome in itself. On display was a statement necklace piece I made using a cold enameling ombre technique to get this graduated color in our Relique enameling colors starting with Relique Ivory at the top and then working down to the debut of our new Garnet color on the bottom. The brass shapes are our Geometric Shapes from our Art Mechanique Silhouettes. To add extra bling, I did some ombre bead work with crystals on 18 gauge wire that I did the technique of drawing a bead on the ends of the wire and then hammered flat.

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All of the Hot 20 displays in the CHA Innovations Showcase are heading to Germany. They will be on display at the Paperworld trade show in Frankfurt this coming weekend. I can’t wait to see how the Europeans respond.  Here are some pics of the display on the CHA show floor and also the full piece that I took photos of in my studio before I left for Anaheim. Just as an aside, I made a sketch of this necklace in November, and kept dreaming about it until I finally found the time to get it made. It came out exactly like I saw it in my head. As an artist, it’s always so cool when that happens!  I hope you find a little bit of inspiration in the piece.

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Hot 20 Iced Enamels 

Some CHA pics and wrap up

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.

The Craft and Hobby Winter 2014 trade show and convention was a whirlwind, as always. I’ve nicknamed this show my annual “corporate dog years convention” because we do five or six months of work crammed into 5 days. There are so many things I absolutely love about CHA every year. The top one being that I get to see so many of my friends. I love being in the company of wildly creative people and get so inspired seeing all the artwork they’ve made as samples for various manufacturers, as well as the creative outfits and jewelry they’ve put together to represent themselves and their brand at CHA.

There was some amazing behind-the-scenes business relationships that were established for me and Susan and ICE Resin this show that I can’t talk about yet, but that will be keeping me busy the next few months. I’m squealing inside when I think about how these opportunities are going to fling us even deeper into the growth we’ve been expecting and working so hard for. What I can share though is that Iced Enamels was named one of the Hot 20 products of this Winter CHA show. As part of that recognition, I gave a quick 60 second presentation to buyers, bloggers and other media the Friday evening before the show began to tell everyone exactly how revolutionary our cold enameling program really is. It was a little crazy at the time because Susan was at the other end of the Anaheim Convention Center teaching her Artisan Workshop during the exact same time as our Hot 20 presentation.

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The honor definitely helps create a little more buzz for us on the show floor. Our booth is usually packed each year, but this show in particular was busy as people came to see our constant Iced Enamels demos. Some of the incredible artists from our 2014 Creative Team ( and one from our 2013 team Susan Walls) were helping us out working their fingers to the bones with demos, demos and more demos. Thanks Jamie Dougherty, John Petersen, Tatiana Allen and Candy Rosenberg for the 2014 team, Susan Walls from 2013 and our amazing Designer friends Vicki O’Dell and the totally fab-u-lous Suze Weinberg!

This show also proved 2014 is going to be the year for Rue Romantique by Kristen Robinson. All new packaging and brand new styles of backless bezels designed by Kristen were hot, hot, hot! People could not get enough of her workshop, demos and designs!

Here we are with our respective books. Jen Cushman, Making Metal Jewelry; Susan Lenart Kazmer, Resin Alchemy and Kristen Robinson, Making Etched Metal Jewelry. What a trio!

Here we are with our respective books. Jen Cushman, Making Metal Jewelry; Susan Lenart Kazmer, Resin Alchemy and Kristen Robinson, Making Etched Metal Jewelry. What a trio!

In addition to our ICE Resin company business, Susan, Kristen and myself all had book signings at the F&W booth. People were lined up to get signed copies, and it was awesome to talk to folks who are true fans of ICE Resin and all of our jewelry designs. It’s a pretty incredible feeling to know people are reading, seeing and finding value in our creative work. I did have one humorous comment during my book signing from someone who follows my blog and Facebook. “What Jen, no new book this year?” I had to laugh because Making Metal Jewelry just came out January of 2013. Knowing how much I publish, she really expected a brand new release. I laughed and told her a new one is in the works, but that it’s still a year away from release.

Every year at CHA we do a team dinner at Buco di Beppo where we bring in some form of mustaches. We started this five years ago as a lark before mustaches reached the trend they are today as an ice breaker and to get the party and socializing rolling. It’s now become our thing. Dear Kristen is over the mustache trend, but I just can’t seem to let it go. Our sweet friend and Booth Manager Misty Grosse is the one who found the handlebar mustache straws for us to use this year. Last year, it was stickers and we placed them all over the pictures in the walls of the Pope room. The cutest thing is our waiter this year was the same as last year and he even still had the ‘stash sticker on his holder where the bill goes. He was so thrilled to see us again, but sad that we had gone to straws and that he couldn’t collect a new sticker. Now that’s staying power and a testament to our craziness.

Mustaches at Buco 1

Mustaches at Bupo 2

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My absolute favorite moment this year was getting to meet Rupert Boneham, one of the most popular players ever on Survivor. My husband and I are HUGE Survivor fans. When I heard that ilovetocreate hired Rupert this year as their national spokesman for their tie-dye line, all I could think of was brilliant! I want to know who thought of that idea and I would like to hire that marketing person to work with ICE Resin. Susan and I were invited to the ilovetocreate party (which was awesome with a massage therapist and makeovers and gourmet popcorn and even a professional photographer to take new blog headshots) Saturday evening. I was sooooo hoping Rupert would show up, and he did. Not only did I get to get have my picture taken with him, but since the party was quiet at first because it was at the same time as a huge blogger event, me and Rupert grabbed a drink and sat down to talk about Survivor and Life. One of the things I adore about him so much is that you can tell he is all about his family. In this aspect, he reminds me of my husband. Just a good, solid man and human being. We had a very real and authentic conversation and I’ll remember it for a long time. Thanks, Rupert for just being you!

Me and Rupert, my favorite Survivor player ever!

Me and Rupert, my favorite Survivor player ever!

Here are a few more pics from CHA…

My dear friend Debbie Cole and me getting ready for our joint demo at the Makerspace Theater. This was a collaboration to show how incredible Stampendous stamps work with ICE Resin and our Art Mechanique and Rue Romantique bezels. Debbie totally rocked her art samples. We had a great time doing a 45 minute class showing all kinds of advanced techniques.

My dear friend Debbie Cole and me getting ready for our joint demo at the Makerspace Theater. This was a collaboration to show how incredible Stampendous stamps work with ICE Resin and our Art Mechanique and Rue Romantique bezels. Debbie totally rocked her art samples. We had a great time doing a 45 minute class showing all kinds of advanced techniques.

Anthony Ryan Auld from another one of my most fav television shows, Project Runway. He is a spokesman for the brand new Scan and Cut machine from Brother. Both Anthony and the new machine ROCK!

Anthony Ryan Auld from another one of my most fav television shows, Project Runway. He is a spokesman for the brand new Scan and Cut machine from Brother. Both Anthony and the new machine ROCK!

The wickedly-talented and ever charming Suze Weinberg. She LOVES using ICE Resin in her art jewelry.

 

Heading to CHA

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It’s that time of year where we head off to Anaheim to the Craft and Hobby Association trade show for Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin. This is such a huge show for us as an exhibitor and manufacturer of our products that preparations start a full six months before the show. By the time the show arrives, we’ve done everything we can behind the scenes to do our level best to make it a success. I’m always super excited — and a little nervous with butterflies in my stomach — today and these next few days of final prep and set up. However, when the show starts it’s always amazing because so much business and networking happens at lightening speed, it’s like living corporate dog years of 5 months crammed into 5 days.

For those of you who might be going here’s my schedule for the show.  The rest of the times I will be at our booth — #652 or in meetings. Please track me down.

Saturday Jan. 11th:

Noon: Booking signing for my book Making Metal Jewelry at the F&W Booth.

3:30 – 4:15 Stampendous and ICE Resin collaboration demo.

Sunday Jan 12th:

3-5 p.m. ICE Resin Fundamentals workshop where I’m teaching

Monday Jan 13th:

Noon -2 at the NABA booth

 

cha_logo_designersBe sure to follow our ICE Resin blog and also us on our social media. Jennifer Priest, our Social Media Manager, is at the show and she’s be Facebooking and Tweeting and Instagraming throughout the entire show. I’ll be Facebooking as well, so if you want to see pics and sneak peeks, be sure to “like” me on JenCushmanArtist on Facebook.

Here’s a sneak peek of one of the art samples I made for our booth using Iced Enamels and our geometric Talisman shapes that’s a new release at the show. In addition to my work, there will be loads of art on display from members of the ICE Resin Creative Team, past and new team, as well as from Susan Lenart Kazmer and Kristen Robinson and some guest designer friends like the Crafty Chica. If you really want to see all the brand new hot releases at the show, along with talking to some of your favorite designers, sign up for CHA Live with Charity Wings. Elena and her crew do an amazing job walking all over that show floor and giving a behind the scenes taste of the excitement that’s the mega show.

Here’s wishing all of you a wonderful, creative, ARTFUL and successful 2014! Happy New Year.