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.



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. ūüôā

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?




ICE Resin Basics and Beyond class — Registration link:




Metal Mania etched copper pendant necklace:


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


Back to Back, Again….

It’s that time of year again when I teach back-to-back art retreats so it’s been extra busy. I tried to get a free moment to update my blog before I left last week for the CREATE mixed media art retreat sponsored by Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine, but as you can see, it just didn’t happen.

Me and Christen Olivarez, Director of Publishing (aka the Big Dog) of Stampington & Co.

Me and Christen Olivarez, Director of Publishing (aka the Big Dog) of Stampington & Co.

I arrived in California Tuesday morning by 7:30 a.m. because I spent the day at the Stampington offices shooting my step out photos for my upcoming feature in Somerset Workshop. I’m so thrilled to be one of the four Workshop artists this year. The issue comes out in October so the editors are working hard on it right now. I will be doing mixed media jewelry, of course.

I taught 4 workshops Wednesday and Thursday. I had Friday day off, which I spent at a gorgeous little tea house called Paris in the city of Orange with my art friends Ruth Rae, Elena Lai Etcheverry and Kari McKnight Holbrook. Our fourth in the group, Kristen Robinson, was teaching her upcycled journal workshop so she didn’t get to join in the fun, but I did bring her Rosewater Macroons and Paris green tea from the store as an afternoon snack before the Artist Faire evening.

Me and the uber talented Kari McKnight Holbrook full and happy from our tea house lunch.

Me and the uber talented Kari McKnight Holbrook full and happy from our tea house lunch.

The workshops were a whirlwind of activity and instruction, so I wasn’t able to get very many pics during my teaching. I always want to give my students 100% of me, so I don’t really get any picture taking or social media time. I did manage to snap a photograph of the lovely couple Becky and John. These two are an amazing art team. Despite Becky being in a wheelchair, there is nothing this woman can’t do. She is a living, breathing example of the saying if you can dream it, you can do it. They were in my mixed-media journal class and you should have seen Becky make the most amazing collaged resin paper. John did the hammering and metalwork, but other than that he was simply there for support.

becky and John, husband and wife team. This couple is so wonderful, inspiring and talented!

becky and John, husband and wife team. This couple is so wonderful, inspiring and talented!

As much as I enjoy every class I teach, I think the extra special one this time at CREATE was my Cold Enameled Heart necklace class because there were just so many techniques and tips and art experimentation packed into these six hours. Everyone loved our new Iced Enamels and had a blast playing with color on metal and then sealing it with ICE Resin. We did layering with ICE and the results were stunning.

I came home on Saturday and immediately spent some time snuggling and playing with my daughter. I was so happy when nap time came and we settled down for a nice long rest together. Bliss! Sunday was washing my clothes so I can iron them and repack them and then also grocery shopping and making a couple of casseroles so my family has meals when I’m in Milwaukee this week. I leave Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. for the Bead and Button Show, more workshops and out ICE Resin booth. This show isn’t quite as jam packed with the schedule so be sure to find me on Facebook for some pics of the week.

CREATE workshops

CREATE 2013 I'm Teaching ButtonIt’s that time of year when I’m starting to gear up for the next round of teaching and workshops across the country. It’s been nice to be home working in my studio since March, but I find myself getting a little itchy as the days tick by and the retreats draw near. In just a few weeks, I will be in Orange County, California for the Cloth, Paper, Scissors CREATE art retreat. I do love this event, as my fellow instructors are so darn inspiring with their class offerings and the students are radiate with positive energy as they are learning and creating. Talk about being in the flow!

I’m teaching 4 workshops — 2 all day ones and then 2 evening classes. Like always, I’ve packed a lot of instruction into them. We always end the day with a completed project, but I structure my workshops so we begin with basic techniques and build on them as the minutes and hours progress. We work up to things logically, but so quickly, that my students will often say halfway through “Wow, I had no idea we’d be doing so much!” I love it when that happens.

So for all you West Coasters with a little bit of time on your hands and who want to make art, check out the CREATE website and all the incredible class offerings. Not just mine, but also my dear friends Kristen Robinson, Ruth Rae, Elena Lai Etcheverry, Pam Carriker, Kari McKnight Holbrook, and Joanne Sharpe. You can see all their bios here. Remember if you are looking for unique art supplies, handmade art from some of your favorite instructors and unique mixed-media jewelry to wear, the Artist Faire is free and open to the public. I’m working on some pieces from my book to sell, specifically metalwork bangles, rings and earrings.

Here are pics of my classes:

Resin clay, painting, texture, hand forming, fiber  jewelry, cold connection attachment, making clasps and findings

Resin clay, painting, texture, hand building, fiber jewelry, cold connection attachment, making clasps and findings

Textured and enamels bracelet by Jen Cushman

Cold enamels, texturizing, forging, dapping, doming, disc cutter, cold connection – lots of fundamental metalwork.

Jen Cushman Sea Journal

Heart’s Desire journal. Resin, resin paper, fabric flowers, doodling, stamping, surface texture, forged wirework. Lots of technique packed into one workshop!

Cold-Enameled Heart Necklace class. Learn all new enameling techniques for adding color to metal and also advanced resin techniques as well.

Cold-Enameled Heart Necklace class. Learn all new enameling techniques for adding color to metal and also advanced resin techniques as well, plus metalworking of making forged neck collars and handmade findings.

The CHA Bra

I realized I never did post pics of the bra I made for Charity Wings that was auctioned off at Winter CHA. Here’s a bit of background. Charity Wings did a very successful Crafty Flash Mob at Winter CHA 2012. About 100 folks took over the convention center lobby before the show opened. It was my first and only flash mob and I had soooo much fun.

Resin paper altered bra

Elena being Elena, she had to up the ante this year. A very dear friend of ours in the industry was diagnosed with breast cancer and we were devastated. Elena and some folks cooked up an idea to do a mob flash where all the crafty peeps created altered bras and then “flashed” them before ¬†Winter CHA 2013 show opening. No worries, the ladies wore pink T-shirts with their altered bras on top of the shirts. Because this show was a big one for us with our new releases, there was no way I could sneak out this year and participate in the fun. (sad face here).

As you all know by now, I pretty much support Elena in just about anything she does to raise money for the charities Charity Wings supports. I told her I would make an altered ICE Resin paper bra. I wanted to show the world how cool and transparent tissue paper becomes when a layer of ICE is applied to it, and well, I thought the breast area was the best possible canvas to get my point across. I bought a tiny little bra at the Goodwill, washed it up and then proceeded to cut the cups out of it, keeping the underwire, and attaching resin paper. I also made some wire leaves (a technique Susan created and taught me and a bunch of others how to do in her workshops) and added an Iced Enamels bezel and some German Glass glitter  to it. Just for the fun of it, I created an asymmetrical headband to go with the bra. When I finished the whole thing it seemed to me that I somehow channeled a modern-day Moulin Rouge costume inspired by our summer workshop in France.

The one thing I forgot to do was add extra “material” (resin paper) to the cups so the bra will need to be worn by one tiny little flat chested woman. Oops! I wasn’t exactly thinking of functional art now was I? The cool part of that all of the bras were auctioned off at a Westcott sponsored¬†party with all the money going toward breast cancer awareness. ¬†I have no idea how much money my bra raised, ¬†but I do know that it raised a few eyebrows and was the object of a some scandalous jokes. Of course I love that, as art is supposed to inspire, stimulate and elicit emotion!

Altered bra and headband by Jen Cushman

And to let you in on a little insider joke, when I finished making the bra I held it up for my husband to see. I asked him what else it needed, as in did it need any further crafty embellishments? Being the straight man he definitely is, his response was simply a sly smile, a quick sideways shake of his head and two words; “Just breasts.” I had to laugh. I really love my man!

Headband by Jen

On another non-bra related note, I’m off to Tucson Friday night for the To Bead True Blue show and more workshops and our booth. I doubt I will have time to update while I’m gone. I’ll try to take lots of pics and post them when I return.