Secret coupon code

Hey peeps! My editor at F+W just sent me an email saying that the marketing folks gave me my own secret code. Sounds so very spy-like doesn’t it??

I can give away 25 of these codes and it’s only available to my blog followers. It’s a 20% off coupon for my new dvds. I can’t publish the code here, but if you email me at jencushman@ymail.com then I can send it to you. The code expires April 30th.

You can find all of my new dvds in the sidebar to the right. These are affiliate links with the publisher so I’ll make a few pennies when you purchase them using these specific links. Just click on the image and it will take you there. Once you have the code from me, you can fill in the box before purchase.

JenCushman Fork Hook Detail1LR

Also, if you do read my blog and you’ve already watched any of these videos I would sure appreciate you leaving a review on the Interweave site. Obviously the more stars, the better the review, but please give honest feedback because it’s important that people who don’t know me and who’re taking your reviews into consideration get your authentic opinions.

I know I’ve said this before at various times, but it bears repeating because its true for myself and my fabulous friends in mixed media. If you follow an artist’s work via their blog/social media/classes and she/he has truly inspired you in some way or added to your personal knowledge base, one of the very best thank yous is a good review of the artist’s books on Amazon or her products on sites that let you offer customer feedback.

It’s not a simple path to fully embrace the artist’s life because you need to have multiple revenue streams to make a living from your creativity. There are a fortunate few whose work is in demand to the point where they paint all day while their sales reps and/or agents and/or business partners take care of the rest. Most studio artists are juggling marketing, emails, sales, Etsy stores, branding, etc. and that can gobble up more hours in the week than actual art-making time. When the career-making projects such a books, dvds, ebooks, online classes do make their way into the world, your public support counts.

Here’s to all of us beautiful creatives!

JenSig

Packing for workshops

I’ve been home for a long and lovely 6 weeks. I really needed the time to recharge my batteries and work on some items on my to do list that just never seem to get done because they’re always at the bottom. I head out to SoCal on Thursday for a lunch and meeting at the Stampington offices and then my 2 days of Resin workshops at Make Art in LA. If you happen to be reading this and you’re local and find yourself with a free days this coming Friday or Saturday, check it out. I have only two spots left in Create and Resinate. My kits are made for the max amount of students the space holds so I promise there’s room and materials for last-minute sign ups.

If you’re not convinced about both days, here’s a little testimonial from artist Kelly Smith: “Casting is addicting! Ever since taking your class a few years ago I’ll go into huge spurts of making molds and casting. You are the best teacher!”

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I thought I’d show you a little sneak peek of what it takes for teaching. I include so many mixed-media techniques in my classes that it requires a lot of supplies. I have a large heavy-duty black tote that gets filled to brim and usually weighs between 50 and 70 pounds. (It’s a bear to ship, but as much as I’ve tried to whittle down my supplies. I can’t really do so without asking my students to bring a huge laundry list with them). You can see by my short LA workshop supply list that I do my best to make it easy for people to show up, learn, play and discover.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that if I pack for each class in plastic shoe boxes it helps keep me organized. An important consideration at many of the national hotel-based retreats where you’re teach both day and night for two to three days in a row, plus vending.

Jen's teaching box

In addition to my box, I have a black tool bag for my Wubbers pliers, steel bench block, hammer, files, drill, wire snips, torch, rivets, wire, etc. This usually weighs around 20 lbs. Sometimes I bring a small store with me, which includes Susan Lenart Kazmer Art Mechanique bezels, ICE Resin, Iced Enamels, ribbon, etc. Other times, it’s too much and I show up as just me, an artist. (When this happens, I tend to get a least a half dozen sad faces from people who were also hoping to shop and then I feel bad for not wanting to lug around all the stuff.)

Jen's toolbag

My workshop art samples, books and work for sale goes into another plastic tub along with a few display items that fold and pack flat. In this box also goes a piece of fabric for a table covering and a couple of old burlap coffee bags with great vintage writing on them for display.

Of course I have my luggage. I bring water, some snacks like fruit and nuts and Kind bars. I also pack my lavender eye pillow, a small scented candle and some essential oils because sometimes hotel rooms have musty or odd smells. Of course, all of the above is easy to pull off when I’m driving. The events I fly to are much more challenging and I have to ship my workshop box and tools ahead of time. Believe it or not, I’ve also shipped water as crazy as it sounds. I learned this the hard way when I was stuck in a hotel room in the outskirts of Chicago with no car and no van shuttle to get me to a nearby store. I was like a camel and after 5 workshops and had the most splitting headache from dehydration.

I know this is pretty mundane stuff here, but they’re a number of you who read my blog who also teach or are interested in teaching. Plus, I know quite a few of you are art retreaters yourself and it’s good to peek behind the scenes. One of the ways you can tell the difference between a newer teacher and someone whose been at it for a while is their level of preparedness. This isn’t to say that things don’t go wrong, because there’s always something that does, but the experienced instructors should have an ace up their sleeves, like a good magic trick that can save the day. I promise you, they’re a couple of things in that black tote of mine that I can use to change my workshop in an instant if need be.

I’ll catch you on the flipside next week when I return. It’ll be a little quiet here for a bit because I have my Cloth, Paper, Scissors column due within days of being home and a webinar idea I’m suppose to be getting to my editor as well (happy to have a 6 hour drive to think it through because right now all I have a headline and 3 bullet points.)

Artfully yours,

JenSig

 

Heart Assemblage and new DVD

DDVDClayHeartWithWingsDVDcovero you love hearts? Check out what I have to say about them and also my new Clay Heart Assemblage DVD in my guest post on the Cloth, Paper, Scissors blog today. I wanted to throw in an extra bonus for hanging out with me, so I did a quick freebie tutorial over there for adding color and depth to chipboard. You can see a detail shot of it in the photo below. Yup, this is chipboard on either side of the Art Mechanique bezel designed by Susan Lenart Kazmer and filled with ICE Resin and Fire Opals.

The chipboard is made by an artist-based company that a friend of mine turned me on to called UmWow Studio. The designs are fresh and funky and the quality is awesome, as you can see on their website and blog. Dee Dee Catron, the owner is a total sweetie. If you’re planning to buy some chipboard for your mixed-media pieces, consider purchasing from them. I do! {Little tip: Iced Enamels work great on chipboard too.}

 

 

Resin Clay Heart Assemblage Detail Shot 1 Jen Cushman

 

 

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The large heart focal in this piece is resin clay. Have you ever worked with it? It’s yummy because you don’t condition it in a pasta machine like polymer and it air cures rock solid. Particularly dense pieces can take as long as 3 days to cure, but for the most part, it’s dry to the touch in 24 hours. Resin clay is often used in jewelry, but it’s a great mixed-media art material.

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Well, this concludes Jen Cushman week. (if you didn’t read Monday’s post, be sure to see my little surprise) I know it’s been a lot of updates this week for me, so thanks for hanging in there and not getting too tired of my mug everywhere.

I do want to take one last minute though to say again what a blast I had doing this. From the filming in Fort Collins, Colorado all the way to working with Cherie, the online CPS editor at the end of the process. It takes a village to support artists, and F+W/Interweave has been pretty fantastic to work with over the years. I’m truly grateful for how hard the entire team works to make myself and all its authors/artists look good. If you’ve ever wanted to write a book or film a workshop or write articles on your art in a magazine, take a good look at F+W as your future publisher.

Here’s wishing you an Artful weekend!

JenSig

My new DVDs are here!

JenCushmanWeek

I have some exciting news to share. My DVDs (or digital downloads) are being released and I’m not too proud to tell you I burst into a huge grin when my hubby brought the box into my studio and I opened it up to see the cover art for the first time. Then imagine my surprise when I opened my email Saturday afternoon and saw that Cloth, Paper, Scissors dedicated March 23-29 as The Jen Cushman Week. Seriously??? I just about fell out of my chair. I had no idea that one was coming!

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Not sure if you recall, but I flew to Fort Collins, Colorado to film these one week before Christmas. Yes, you read that right…the week before Christmas. (A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do). Even though everyone over at the Interweave studio was as ready to get on their  holiday cheer as much as myself, we managed to get some good work accomplished. If you’d like to refresh your memory or see the on set pics if you haven’t yet, here’s the link to that December blog post.

DVDCastResinMessageBoardCoverWe filmed four DVDs in 2 days and had a blast doing it. My time to push hard was when I was making all the art work, doing the step outs and just organizing my part of the filming so when I got into the film studio things went as smoothly as possibly. When it was all said and done, I came home to enjoy Christmas. Then it was a push to get to CHA and then Tucson and now it’s already Spring. I knew in the back of my mind that the DVDs were set to come out soon, but I was surprised to get that email from Cherie Haas, fabulous online editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors telling me that it’s time. The feeling was a bit like having a baby, but forgetting you were knocked up.

So, without further ado, here are some photos of my Mixed-Media Chalkboard with Cast Resin. (if you’re curious about the straightforward titles, blame it on SEO. It’s great for the Internet but it’s killing artist’s and writer’s ability to be clever). This is home decor piece reminds me of the Paris flea markets whenever Susan Lenart Kazmer and I do our art retreat in the South of France because that’s where I bought the hardware I molded and cast.

French Message Board Jen Cushman

This piece is a painted chalkboard. As a technique, I also teach you how to make your own chalk paint (the blue) and your own antiquing wax, thereby saving you money and adding to your creative knowledge of things. This fabulous wooden base is from Walnut Hollow and I love the French Provencal shape of it. Actually, the entire project was inspired by this substrate.  I used old wooden rulers that my sweet hubby swiped from the supply closet of his work for me. He had to go digging around for them. They were in a box on the floor literally gathering dust.

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The details are stamped and embossed Paris-inspired images from Stampendous and, of course, my favorite cast ICE Resin embellishments. I had a ton ‘o fun making this chalkboard and I hope you enjoy the DVD too.

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If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to head on over to the post Cherie wrote on my new DVD and see what she has to say about it. Also, be sure to check in with my blog this entire week. I’ll be talking about all the new releases.  Cherie will be doing the same at CPS. If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter yet, I’d encourage you to do so. Lots of great info that’s all about mixed media! Also remember that there is a coupon code to save 15% on the videos. It’s CPSVIP15. 

One last thing, since March is National Craft Month, I’ve been working with Walnut Hollow this month with some inspirational projects for their blog. Coincidentally, I have a project up today. (When it rains, it pours) Don’t miss that blog post either. This is another home decor one using wooden spools, steel wire and a stencil. The free tutorial with step outs is on their blog.

Here’s wishing you an Artful day!

JenSig

 

Taking a little (bloggy) break

Jen Cushman Spring Bird Necklace

 

Hey everyone. Happy Spring! Well, it could still be mighty cold depending on what part of the country you live in. Here in the sunny Southwest, Spring has sprung, and guess what? I’m cleaning my studio. I still have to work my regular gigs so the cleaning and sorting is going slowwwwwww. I manage to do about two hours a day on it. The rest of the work day is taken up with my normal deadlines and projects. Weekends are still reserved for family time and household chores.

I was chatting with one of my best girlfriends over the weekend while our littles played. I groaned that I was the epitome of spring fever right now. I want to enjoy the gorgeous 75 degree weather and do anything besides the dailies. I’m also having a heck of a time finding my normal creative juice that usually flows through me. Do you ever have times like this?

As we continued chatting (and me doing a little more bitching and moaning than I should have), I realized that I need to give myself a little break. My soul is wanting to take a few daytime naps here and there and just flat line on some of my normal to dos. I made a list of everything in my life that gives me energy. Then I made a list of things that are not currently feeding my soul. The final column was a list of things I enjoy, but want to just take off my plate for a little bit. At the moment, blogging falls into that last category.

I’ve had various conversations regarding blogs over the years. Some people advise to never let your foot off the gas pedal of your blog because its “the driving force of your business.” (Picture me doing air quotes with my fingers and rolling my eyes) Others say it’s OK to do it, but for goodness sake, never tell anyone what you’re up to. Other social media folks have said they will let up slightly on the pedal by filling in the gaps with curated content (either their own past posts or other’s stuff on the internet) rather than coming up with new ideas. I could opine about all these scenarios, but instead I’m going to do what I would advise you to do if you were my friend having the same conundrum.

I would tell you to listen to the whispers of your soul because only you can hear the small, still voice within. The key is being quiet and stopping long enough to hear it.

I have no idea how long this little bloggy break is going to last. It might be as short as an afternoon, making this post irrelevant. It could take a week or more, or as long as my studio purge. What I promise myself, and everyone who subscribes to my blog and cares enough about me to follow me, is that I will never write a post just to publish. There’s a thousand big and small things in life that’s that way more fun and fulfilling than spending time reading half-assed blog posts.

Now get into your studio (or not) and have an Artful day. Whatever you decide to do, please be sure to live with it all your heart.

JenSig

Walnut Hollow + National Craft Month

March is National Craft Month and to celebrate Walnut Hollow has asked a few of their friends/designers to create some quick and easy craft projects. Since I adore Walnut Hollow’s high quality wood surfaces and exceptional products, I thought it would be fun to participate. (Note: be sure to read to the end of the post for entering my giveaway).

But first, a quick little story as to another reason why I’m also a Walnut Hollow fan. When I first joined CHA as a designer (rather than a member of the press) in 2007, I participated in my first an only Designer Showcase. I spent the better part of a month working non-stop to make interesting mixed-media projects to showcase my talents. I worked out the display, got my postcards and business cards created and printed, did some cool signage and went to the show to announce myself to the crafts industry as a professional artist/designer. I had butterflies in my belly and was nervous as to how my work would be perceived during the meet the designers viewing. The very first manufacturer to show up at my table and talk about my designs was Chris Wallace from Walnut Hollow. Her supportive words were music to my ears and the match that lit a fire inside me and confirmed that I was right in my desire to step my work into a larger stage. Isn’t it incredible that one person saying just the right thing at just the right time can effect such positive change? Over the years, I’ve come to learn that Walnut Hollow is one of the most designer-friendly companies in the industry and Chris is a key player. Life has changed tremendously for me in the past eight years, but my loyalty to Chris never will.

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Here’s a sneak peek of my beach-themed project that’s up on Walnut Hollow’s blog today. Be sure to head on over to my post there to see the full tutorial!

And now for a giveaway. Tell me, have you ever used Walnut Hollow products? What’s your favorite. If not, is there something on their website you would like to try? Since it’s National Craft Month, I’ll pick a winner using random number generator for a giveaway an ICE Resin plunger and a few Susan Lenart Kazmer Art Mechanique bezels. (U.S. only please because of the shipping costs).

Here’s wishing you an Artful day!

JenSig

Happy Love Day

AtAGlanceJenCushmanheart XOXOXOXO

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite days. Not because of the Hallmark commercial aspect of it, but just because I love the idea of a Day of Love. You know how I feel about this subject. It’s my most favorite word and my most favorite emotion. Nothing in the world beats Love. All you need is Love. Love Makes the World go Around. Etcetera, etcetera. I’ve actually been accused of using the word love too much. Whatever.

I was recently working on new art samples for my Vivid Wire Links class, which is an offshoot of my successful Links, Clasps. Components and Chain workshop that I teach. Vivid Links is a condensed version of the wire links (fewer links) but with the addition of cold enameling (Iced Enamels + ICE Resin). I shared Work in Progress steps of the necklace on Instagram, but wanted to wait until Valentine’s Day for the reveal of the piece. Everything about this necklace to me screams Happy LOVE Day. AtAGlanceJenCushman Here are the pics I put on Instagram showing Step 1 in the process. The bezel ( pic below) has two layers of imagery and resin built up and the links are made from 16g copper wire.

AtAGlanceStep1 Next Step (pic below) with a third layer of imagery and cold enameling on the bezel and wire links. Obviously red is the dominant theme here. AtAGlanceStage2 If you’re interested in learning to make something like this, be sure to check out my website and click into Workshops to see where I’m teaching this year. I’ll be in Los Angeles, Houston, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Paris. Possibly back to Texas – Austin — in October. I know many of you have asked about online classes. It’s just not something I’ve been able to pull off considering my teaching/family schedule and ICE Resin responsibilities. However, it’s something I want to do and make time for. Maybe as the time draws nearer, I”ll do a survey to see which ones you’re most interested in so I know where to begin the process.

Here’s wishing you the most Artful Day of Love. I hope you can share it with a special partner, family member or BFF. JenSig