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

 

Light bulb Jewelry and Sonoran Living

SonoranlivingJen

It was cool to return to Sonoran Living Live with the gorgeous Terri Ouelette on Monday (Dec. 1). This time I showed how to upcycle old holiday light bulbs into cute Christmas pendants for jewelry. These would make great teacher gifts or girlfriend gifts. They’re fun to make with the kiddos at your side too. For a festive necklace that’s a little more glam, you can completely cover a light bulb in ICE Resin and then roll it in German Glass Glitter, or keep it simple and paint just a half dozen snowflakes or stars on the glass. Here is the video link Sonoran Living’s website and the segment.

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Here’s a stepped out tutorial on how to make these lightbulb pendants. Be sure to scroll to the end to see a few more pics from my segment.

 

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Using the pilot hole in the metal top of the bulb from the manufacturer insert the tip of the drill bit and  begin drilling.

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Using oil based paint markers, paint a snowman or whatever imagery you wish onto the bulb.

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Add a few more finishing details, like dots for snow and snowflakes.

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Use different colors of paint markers to add more detail to the imagery. Here I’m adding a carrot nose, eyes, buttons, etc.

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Cut a 5 inch piece of 20 Gauge wire for your wirewrap.

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Insert the wire through the hole, leaving a smaller piece on one end and a longer on the other. Begin to make a briolette wrap by wrapping the short end around the longer piece of wire.

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Use your chain nose pliers to finish the briolette wrap and tuck the tail of the wire.

HolidayBulb8.jpgTo make a wrapped loop at the top, use round nose or small bailing pliers to make a loop just above the briolette wrap. Transfer pliers to your non dominant hand and use the chain nose pliers on your dominant hand to wrap the wire until it runs out. Use the chain nose pliers to crimp the end to ensure there is no pokey end.

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Mix up some ICE Resin according to directions and use the craft stick to “paint” a coat onto the light bulb. This will add strength so the light bulb won’t break. It’s also for safety because if the light bulb does happen to break it won’t shatter. Poke a hole in cardboard so you can insert the wrapped end into the hole and allow the bulb to dry without touching anything else.

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Finish it off with some chain and a jump ring. I used pearl rosary chain here because I thought it looked a little like snowballs and went with the snowman theme of the bulb. Special thanks to Carol LaValley for shooting all these step-out photos!

A few more pics from the studio…

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Guest Post on Cloth, Paper, Scissors today

DIY project wire name

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you are ready for a little wireworking tutorial today. I did a little guest blog over on the Cloth, Paper, Scissors website talking about my upcoming workshop called Clasps, Links, Components and Chain. Since I know not everyone is able to jump on a plane to an art retreat, I also did a little tutorial teaching how to “write” your name or favorite word in wire. If you don’t have time to be creative right now, not to worry. There is a handy link embedded in the article to pin the tutorial for later.

So grab your round nose pliers, chain nose pliers and some 16 gauge dead soft wire and come play with me. Here is that link again to my Name Your Necklace free tutorial.

Chicagoland Peeps: I’ll be teaching this class this coming Thursday August 14th at CREATE. There are still four spots left so if you’re interested in learning how to save money making your own clasps, chains and components please join me.

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Dallas and Seattle Peeps: I’m bringing this workshop your way too. Registration is ongoing. Learn more here.

JenSig

 

 

For the Love of Lariats

heres one of my ice resin lariet necklaces Lariat necklaces are hip and edgy. They never go out of style because they are the ultimate in cool yet casual jewelry. I can just as easily wear one with a little black dress as I can with a white t-shirt and my favorite boyfriend jeans.

Last year, I saw a gorgeous dream catcher made my über talented friend Karen Michel on her Instagram feed. The long, luscious and colorful ribbons inspired me to look at my fiber stash. That made me pull out a box of already collaged ICE Resin bezels and my bin of metal components and cold enameled odds and ends. I spent the most glorious afternoon just tying and wrapping and creating about a dozen lariat necklaces. The more I made, the more excited I became with my creations. It’s crazy how my necklaces look nothing like Karen’s dream catchers but that’s how inspiration works. The spark of an idea, or a thought, or a question leads my brain to leap to another thought and then I’m off building a bridge to a new-for-me idea.

I took some of my favorite pieces and created a workshop called For the Love of Lariats. I’m finally getting a chance to teach it at the upcoming CREATE mixed media art retreats. Chicago in the next few weeks is my first stop for this brand new class, which is is filling up with only a few spots left.

Students will spend a day learning how to add color to metal with Iced Enamels, in addition to making some beautiful ICE Resin bezels. For those who want to try their hand at metalworking, we’ll be cutting, punching, doming and dapping bronze sheet metal. For people who just want to continue adding color to metal and digging deeper into Iced Enamels, I have a lots of premade metal blanks to use as a substrate. Finally, I’ll be teaching how to tie and twist and reinforce fibers to create a strong yet elegant lariat that can be double and triple wrapped or worn long and lean. There is going to be a lot of instruction in this class, but I’ve left ample time for exploration and play. I believe students are going to be surprised with how much completed work they will walk out with at the end of the day, in addition to new ideas to try at home.

When I was teaching earlier this summer at the Charity Wings Art Center, I wore one of my lariats. Jennifer Priest, our Social Media Coordinator, spotted it and suggested we do a little video. Always game for some fun, I stood in the metalworking section of the art center and started talking. It’s a one-take, one-hit wonder. Check it out.

I’m teaching other ICE Resin classes at the CREATE events. If you have a minute, head on over to Interweave’s website to check them out. Registration is still going on now.

JenSig

Miami here I come…

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I’m off to Miami, Florida to teach a three-day ICE Resin and Iced Enamels Master’s workshop for the South Florida Jewelry Arts Guild May 16-18th . In addition to teaching, I’ll be giving a presentation to the guild the evening of the 15th on the subject of “My Artist’s Life: Art, Family and ICE Resin Juggling Act.” I’ve done a fair amount of public speaking over the years on writing, business and creativity and I always enjoy it. Sure the butterflies hit those few minutes before each talk, but once I get into the groove, the time flies by and it’s always a lot of fun being in the moment.

I’m fairly certain the workshops are full. However, you can always check out the SFJAG website and see if there is a spot left. Last time I spoke to the organizer the two-day resin was full, but there were two spots left in Iced Enamels on Sunday. I really enjoy teaching at guilds because the classes are usually more intimate and folks are really looking to go a little deeper into their work.

I’ve been doing my best to get some studio time to make some new pieces of jewelry to sell at the event. I made 20 new necklace and the same number of earrings. However, I won’t be able to bring that many with me, as it looks like some of the pieces are going out the door to editors before I can get them to my upcoming retreats. I did manage to grab this pic of a bunch of them layered on my vintage dress form. I like the abundance of this photo! I just wish I could keep up that kind of production. (grin).

I’ll be taking a little break from my blog while I’m away. Do be sure to check in this coming weekend as ICE Resin is participating in a blog hop with Faber Castell. Keep an eye on the ICE Queen eZine for more deets. My day to go live is May 16th.

Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day!

 

Hopping down the trail necklace

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Happy Easter weekend everyone! Since Spring is in the air, I thought it would be fun to make a brightly colored hopping bunny necklace using pieces and parts I have lying around my studio along with Iced Enamels.

Like everyone who makes jewelry, I have odds and ends of things I’ve picked up at bead shows throughout the years. When I was rummaging around in my charms, my fingers found this sweet little rabbit. I had originally planned to drill though him so I could make a pendant dangle, but I just never got around to it. A quick hunt in my brass box yielded this red brass medallion.

I knew I wanted cover the brass with Raspberry and Ivory Iced Enamels and then add some fun “grass” of our new Art Mechanique German Glass Glitter colors (coming next month) under his paws. I Cold Enameled the medallion and let the metal cool. Then I mixed up some ICE Resin and took out my trusty disposable paintbrush and brushed on a thin sealer coat to seal the Iced Enamels. ICE also provided the perfect amount of “glue” to hold the glitter I sprinkled on the bottom. I painted a dab of resin to the back of the charm and placed the bunny right on to the medallion. Resin as an attachment creates a strong, long-lasting bond.

After the piece was dry I took one of my fab crystal drops from Connie Crystal and wired it up organic briolette style and attached to the bottom of the charm with a jump ring. Lovely pink and bronze ribbons added more color and completed the necklace.

My daughter has a brand new Easter dress to wear. Me? I’m trilled with my new festive Cold Enameled necklace.

Just a little side note: Iced Enamels are amazing! They work on every type of substrate. How many tired old charms do you have in your studio? Think about giving them a Spring makeover with some quick Cold Enameling.

Jen Cushman Bunny Necklace Full

My Talisman Word for 2014

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New Year’s resolutions are just too hard to keep. Like most people, my good intentions the first week of January quickly go out the window long before Valentine’s Day. So when I saw a group of scrapbookers start word of the year projects a while back I, too, decided to skip the whole resolution idea and instead focus on a power word for myself for the year. Being a wordsmith, I responded well to this idea and have incorporated it into my life for past five years now.

Picking my power word is a process of reflection that usually happens the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I tend to go over the big events of the past year in my mind’s eye. I think about all the things I’m truly grateful for and send this love and gratitude into the Universe. I also think about what I’d like to accomplish in the next year and write down a list of goals in one of my art journals. Then I pick a word that helps me set my intention for the year. A word that sums up what I hope to accomplish on an individual level and also in my career. For 2013 my word was “Focus.” As you know, there’s a lot going on right now with ICE Resin. My word was appropriate because last year was another huge building block year for our company.

Jen Cushman Talisman necklace

I thought really long and hard about my word for 2014. I thought about the things I love in my life, the challenges I’d like to address and what I want to draw more to me. I’ve been working so much that I really miss spending time with friends and family. My girlfriends have been patient the past couple of years as I’ve been running too hard and fast to get together. I want to make more time for personal connections and real intimacy with the people. On a business level, I’d like to start working a bit more with other likeminded companies and other artists. Being asked to participate in Seth Apter’s book last year was really enjoyable because it made me feel part of a community rather than always working along in my studio/home office. What I want to draw to me in 2014 is to once again feel this strong sense of community the mixed-media art world offers. My word for 2014 is “Collaborate“.

To that end, I made a necklace using ICE Resin, Iced Enamels, our fab Art Mechanique Hobnail Oval. Since hearts are still a huge symbol in my life, I hand-formed a Paperclay heart and painted it with acrylic paints. That gorgeous texture you see was made by adding delicious Relique German Silver on the surface and then a coat of ICE Resin for permanent color.

I hope you read more about our Talisman project over on the ICE Queen blog. There you will learn about the project, who is participating and how you can get involved if you wish. I’m truly hoping this will resonate with you as an artist and that you take the time to make your own power necklace this year. After all, it would be an awesome thing for us to collaborate on!

Here's a selfie of me wearing my new power necklace. Yep, lovin' the red. When it comes to your chakras in the body, red is your base chakra and it represents you family and tribe.

Here’s a selfie of me wearing my new power necklace. Yep, lovin’ the red. When it comes to the body’s  chakras, red is the base chakra and it represents your family and tribe. A great power color and also goes well with my 2014 Talisman word of “Collaborate”.