Queen’s Ink this weekend

I am off to my last teaching gig of the year. Sooooooo excited about this one, as it’s a brand new venue for me. I’ll be at The Queen’s Ink in Savage, Maryland teaching assemblage, collage and jewelry — my favorite things in the entire world!

Patti Euler, the owner of Queen’s Ink and I have been chatting for years now every CHA (Craft and Hobby Association trade show) about me making a trip to her fabulous mixed-media art supply store. Well, we finally said to each other, “No more talking about it; let’s do this!” And so we shall. Just so you know a bit about Patti. Not only is she a smart businesswoman and store owner, she is an incredible mixed-media artist in her own right. She’s also an art educator too. Can’t wait for dinners. We have so much to talk about. (grin)

Classes are full, so this post is more an update to let you all know what I’m up to and where I will be this weekend. Here’s a look at the projects and techniques my folks will be learning and making Sept. 16, 17 and 18th.

Juxtaposition Assemblage: Found Objects and Resin Casting



Fun, Funky and Functional Art Journal 


Gypsy Heart Necklace 



Be sure to check out The Queen’s Ink website and if you are ever in the area, please visit Patti’s store. Honestly, for an artsy person such as myself, it doesn’t get much better than this! JenSig

Halloween Roundup with Friends

Jen Cushman Halloween Necklaces

A few of my craftalicious friends have teamed up with the idea of sharing more of our work on our blog and then also pointing our friends over to each other’s blogs by issuing art challenges amongst ourselves and motivating each other. Our first roundup has a Halloween theme. It’s no surprise to people who regularly read my blog to know that I am so NOT the best at making holiday-themed projects, unless they’re for a deadline. So when the challenge came in to do  something Halloween, I was a little befuddled. But then I realized — Hey, I have some cool Art Mechanique hobnail bezels using Vintage Halloween imagery and ICE Resin in my done bezel stash from this summer when I poured a half dozen pieces for my Sept./Oct column for Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine and my column “The Mixed Media Metalsmith.”

I went to my stash and finished off a couple of cute bezels into necklaces with some chain, charms and beads. Viola! Halloween jewelry. I’m thrilled for this challenge because I now have something to wear this month and can now take my daughter trick or treating and this can be my costume. Score!

Here’s how to make these necklaces:

Jen Cushman Vintage Pumkin Necklace

1. Grab one of our signature Susan Lenart Kazmer Art Mechanique Hobnail bezels from your stash. (Don’t have one? Get ’em here, or at your local Hobby Lobby store or call your favorite local bead store and ask them if they carry the Susan Lenart Kazmer and ICE Resin line.)

2. Locate a vintage Halloween image. Personally, I’m a fan of ArtChix Studios and all of her great mixed media art supplies. Check out her Vintage Fairies images. You can get this exact pumpkin face royalty free here at Craft Jr.

3. Cut the image to fit inside the bezel. Use Art Mechanique paper sealant with a brush to seal the images top, back, sides so it stays colorfast. If you want it to look vintagey, you do not have to first seal your images, but take note that with dark images, they will go darker as ICE Resin permeates the paper.

4. Be sure the sealed images in completely dry before adding resin. If it’s still wet in spots, the image will get little dark spots on it where the resin soaks into the paper. if you want to add some glass glitter for extra sparkle, this is the time to gently shake some into the bezel. NOTE; If you use your craft glitters, they are too light and will rise to the top of your resin as your pour and, literally, sit on top of the resin as it dries. Glass glitter is heavy and will sink in the bottom of the bezels and not rise to the surface.

5. Mix up some ICE Resin, let it sit for 5 minutes after mixing to release the bubbles caused by stirring and then gently drip into the bezel using your craft stick. ICE naturally domes so it will get a pretty rounded top to your bezel if you keep slowly dripping. Be sure to stop when you see the doming. ICE Resin is self-leveling and ultra clear so there will be no bubbles in your bezel.

6. Let bezel dry to the touch, about 6 to 10 hours. As soon as it’s dry to the touch, you can add beads or wirewrapping or use jump rings to make your jewelry. For the pumpkin, I added another Art Mechanique silhouette charm that’s been cold enameled with Enameling Medium + Iced Enamels + ICE Resin in that order. I used my metal hole punch to make a hole and then added one of our adorable rhinestone brads for bling. I then attached to the bezel with a jump ring. I then used a piece of a chain and a jump ring to connect it to the top loop of the bezel. I left the necklace long so I didn’t need a clasp. It slides right over my head and will look great with jeans and a T-shirt.

jen Cushman Vintage Trick necklace

For the vintage girl bezel, I used my rhinestone brads to cold connect the bezel to a brass filigree (I like to buy from B’Sue Boutiques). I used my metal  hole punch pliers to create holes at the top and bottom of the brass filigree. To the bottom I added a tiny rhinestone charm and the top I attached to a piece of chain with a jump ring. I also left this necklace long so as to not have to worry about a clasp.

Now, it’s time to hop on over to all my amazing crafty peeps and see what crazyamazingwonderful things they’ve made and posted on their blogs. Check ’em outL Eileen Hull with her line of dies with Sizzix, Jennifer Priest makes some awesome sugar skulls shoes, Tanner Bell from A Little Craft in Your Day talks about planning an awesome Halloween  party on a budget, and Liz Hicks sews a sweet tote.

That’s how I roll…

My last post was an invite via a Twitter chat for the second stop on our Follow the ICE Queen to the Emmys road trip. For those of you who attended Saturday night, I want to give you a big THANKS shout out for joining us. For those that weren’t able to make it, I thought I’d share a little behind-the-scenes snafu that happened to me. It’s kind of a funny story, and my thoughts keep coming back to it as I work at my computer today.

Jen Cushman

Tweeting in the dark. My family thought it would be helpful for me to see my cell phone better wearing glow in the dark glasses. Hahaha. They are so funny.

Since it’s still pretty hot in Phoenix, my family likes to get to the cooler weather and our family cabin. This past weekend was extra special because one of my best friends for more than 13 years and her four kids were coming up. Her oldest girls — 17 and 14 are like my nieces and think I’m pretty cool. They’ve been asking me to teach them resin and how to make jewelry for a while now, so that was the plan. I had warned my family/friends I needed to block out 7-8 p.m. Saturday night for our company Twitter chat. Since  our amazing Creative Team and staffers met all of their Emmy’s deadlines with grace and ease, I felt pretty confident taking a full two days for family time.

My friend, hubby and myself worked to get bbq and dinner done so everyone would be fed and happy by the time I had to sneak away to chat. All was on schedule. I signed into my Twitter account from my computer at 6:45 p.m. so I was primed and ready to begin. I was really looking forward to watching my pals Vicki O’Dell, Tanner Bell and Jennifer Priest moderate the chat. I knew there were members of the Creative Team ready for action. All I had to do was watch, sit back and jump in every now and then to answer a question or two.

It had been storming all day, but stopped right before dinner. At 6.58 p.m. (PST) as I was watching Vicki inform people  the chat would begin shortly, the power went out. Arghhhhh! Crashed into darkness. Luckily the family was already outside by the fire pit ready making s’mores. I looked at everyone — they looked at me and we burst into laughter. I immediately sent a text to Vicki and Jennifer and put Plan B into action. That was to join the family outside in dwindling twilight with my iPhone, log into my mobile Twitter app and participate as best I could.

Our team immediately knew what was going on and sent me encouraging messages to let me know they had it taken care of. The chat went on — was spectacular actually — as more than 600 Tweets went out in less than an hour using our hashtags #CraftingTheEmmys and #ICEresin, as well as #chaswag which is CHA’s hashtag for the event.  Jennifer, ICE Resin’s Social Media Coordinator, also scheduled an Instagram party at the same time so the amazing artists who are part of our 2013 Creative Team could show sneak peeks of the handmade bracelets made for the Emmy’s Nominees and Celeb VIPs, as part of the CHA Gift Lounge sponsorship.

I have to say it’s incredible to realize that we’ve grown so well.  There was a time that ICE Resin was just Susan and myself and a part-time office person and full-time shipping person. Sure, we’ve always had a design team as part of our company (since 2008) but we now have an entire internal and external team of people who love these products as much as we do and are dedicated to making the company bigger and better every day. The Emmy’s has been an incredible opportunity for all of us to do what we do best — be artists and make cool, inspiring mixed-media jewelry, but I see it as yet another success in a long line of successes. While I may have been Tweeting in the dark on Saturday, I knew that I wasn’t alone because there’s a whole community of people  who want to share in the buzz that comes from creative energy.

ICE Resin jewelry for men

When I saw that there were a lot of male nominees for the 2013 Primetime Emmys, I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to make jewelry for the guys. I had a great time making men’s jewelry! Keep an eye out, plans are already underway to publish and teach these, as well as commission work. If you saw all of them I made, I think you’d see that they really show my style as an artist.

Just so you know, we’ll be talking more about the 100 handmade bracelets that we made for the celebs over on the ICE Queen eZine and on our social media channels. We even have another surprise we’re working on behind-the-scenes now with one of our favorite media companies. Deets to come as soon as I can share. Also, I’ll be showing some sneak peeks of the handmade bracelets I made for the male nominees and VIPs coming up as well. For now, I hope you enjoy the one here. I’m secretly hoping this finds its way to Matt Damon for his nomination for Lead Actor in a Mini Series or a Movie 2013 as Scott Thorson in Behind the Candelabra. I’ve been a fan of Matt Damon’s films ever since Good Will Hunting way back when. Keep your fingers crossed for me!


Belle Armoire Jewelry Cover March/April 2013

Belle Armoire Jewelry Cover March/April 2013

Remember when I said there were A LOT of big things in the works last year that I had to keep quiet about? Well, I finally can tell you the last of the secrets! My work is being featured in Belle Armoire Jewelry as the March/April issue Designer Showcase. The issue — with my necklace from my book Making Metal Jewelry on the cover (!!!) just arrived in subscribers’ mailboxes today and I’ve heard a resounding positive response from soooo many of my artist friends.

To say it’s an incredible honor to have my work featured is, truly, an understatement. I know there are people who will think that it was a natural fit for me because I write a business advice column for this magazine every issue, but the truth of the matter is that being a “regular” with the Stampington publications can actually make the selection process tougher. I liken it to being a mother and not wishing to play favorites to any of your children.

ICE Resin bezel by Jen Cushman in Belle Armoire Jewelry 2013

ICE Resin bezel by Jen Cushman in Belle Armoire Jewelry 2013

The editors go out of their way to judge every piece of art work that comes into the magazine based on some pretty high standards. That’s why I’m always impressed when I meet someone whose been published in Belle Armoire Jewelry because I’ve seen the editors at work during the selection process. It takes a considerable amount of thought and consideration on their part each month.

When Editor Cynthia Levens emailed me to say that she wished to feature me, I jumped up and down in my studio and couldn’t help but have a big smile from ear to ear. Then she told me what I had to do. Not much, just submit 25 pieces of jewelry (!) for photography and then catch up with Ricë Freeman Zachary for her to do the interview. I’ve known Ricë for a few years now, but it’s always nerve wracking to be interviewed, particularly for something as wonderfully big as a Designer Showcase profile.

Belle Armoire Jewelry Jen Cushman profile

Belle Armoire Jewelry Jen Cushman profile

I could not have asked for a better person to interview me. Ricë is a very accomplished mixed-media artist and independent writer/author. She’s been in the trenches teaching and selling her work. She knows when people who are being authentic with her and she can spot from a mile a way when someone is being politically correct..aka saying what they think they’re supposed to say rather than speaking their truth. I love talking to Ricë because she’s real and ensures people respond accordingly. I knew I’d have some tough questions, but that was part of the fun. The article is wonderfully written. After reading it through for the second time, my favorite part is this (page 23):

She (meaning me) turned her focus on the most salient detail of the life she wanted: learning to value her creativity and skills enough to give them the time and space to flourish, and then learning to value the concrete results of the process enough to share them with the world instead of putting them in a drawer.

I know I pulled this out of context, and I do hope you find the time to read the whole article, but every time I read this paragraph that Ricë wrote, I get chills. It’s an incredible thing to feel that someone “got me” and she really, truly understood what I was trying to say as a human being and an artist.

Thank you, Ricë and Cynthia and Christen for your faith in me and my work. This Designer Showcase is a major highlight in my life. Also, as always, my incredible appreciation to Susan Lenart Kazmer for making such gorgeous and high quality hobnail bezels and creating ICE Resin so myself and millions of other artists can explore their creativity.

Hot off the press, literally….

making metal jewelry

Advance copies are here!

Look at the photo my super-fabulous-amazing editor Tonia Jenny sent me. Earlier today, FedEx delivered two advance copies of my new book — one for her and one for me. Luckily, I live only about 3 miles from Tonia so I drove over to her house to collect my copy. My sweet and silly friend made the suspense extra special for me by gift wrapping them. Here’s a little video of my first reaction of seeing all those months and months of work come to final completion.

To be clear, these are advance copies that were delivered by air from the printing plant in Hong Kong. The remaining copies — the ones that have been pre-ordered — are getting loaded onto a boat today in China and being shipped to the U.S. for distribution to everyone on Dec. 13th. That is the date I’ll be getting the remainder of my author copies. By then I plan to update my website with an all-new shopping cart so I can sell autographed copies of both Making Metal Jewelry and Explore, Create, Resinate.

On my to-do wish list is to also photograph and sell some pieces of jewelry that I have in my studio. I have been very slow to get an Etsy store going as an artist, as I’ve spent the better part of the past four years making work for publication and only selling them during the artist vendor nights at the events where I’m teaching. Things just take time, and definitely more time that you ever originally plan for.

The great thing is that today reminded me that the odds of me reaching my dreams are definitely stacked in my favor. Success takes hard work and focus. It also takes a certain amount in faith to believe that if you truly follow your natural talents and passions, you will be led to the people, place, events and opportunities that make it all come together. Right now this means my latest book. Honestly, how cool is that?!?