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.

JenSig

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.

JenCushmanLayersandDepth

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.

XOXO

JenSig

 

 

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:

CPSblogMay20

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.

 

CPS_ResinAssemblage

kit contents

Buckle Up, Baby…I’m coming to Austin

Jen Cushman Buckle Up Baby workshop

I’m coming to Austin, Texas y’all! I can’t wait. I’ve spent some time in Dallas and Houston but I’ve never been to Austin, and I have heard some really awesome things about it. Right now, I’m trying to talk one of my best girlfriends into a road trip so we can spend a couple of days enjoying all the sights and sounds after I finish teaching at Art-Xscape. If you have any suggestions for great stores or places that I must put on my to-do list, I’ll take ’em.

Registration for Art-Xscape is open now. I’m happy to say that I developed a brand new workshop that I thought would be perfect for Texans and other art makers who enjoy cowgirl chic. It’s called Buckle Up, Baby. We’ll spend the day learning about Iced Enamels and other cold enameling techniques, as well as making jewelry-sized collages for belt buckles that we encase in ICE Resin.

Last year during the Tucson Gem and Mineral show I found really high-quality antique brass belt buckles. I bought a dozen and couldn’t wait to return to my studio to create. Like a lot of what I do, I went into the studio and spent a couple of days trying to push the limits with my techniques and materials. The results ended up in some pretty fun pieces. I took the best of my techniques, bought more buckles and created a new workshop. I’m thrilled to be debuting it in Austin.

Jen Cushman Resin Belt Buckles

I’ll also be teaching two more resin workshops while I’m there. The first is Create and Resinate, where I teach the basics and beyond of working with ICE Resin. I’ll also be teaching mold making and casting, which is honestly my all time favorite thing to do with resin because I get to play with found objects, as well as molding putty, acrylic paints, Gilder’s Paste, mica powders. We spend a lot of time working on the surface design techniques I’ve developed that pretty much guarantees people cannot tell the difference between the real and cast objects.

If you’re looking for an intimate art retreat getaway in a great city take a peek at the Art-Xscape website. It’s October 8-12 so there’s plenty of time to grab your best artsy friend and plan a road trip with me. I bet we could have some serious fun in Austin together.

JenSig

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.

Asemblagepack

 

 

 

 

 

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!”

MakeArtLAHardwareJournalDay2LR

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

 

 

ClayHeartCollageJenCushmanLR

 

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.

CPS_JenCushmanWeek-640

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