“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn. You’ll find your place beside the Ones you love” – Phil Collins, Son of Man
There is nothing quite like teaching. It’s the one thing that always lights me up. Being in my studio is first and foremost, of course, but whenever I experiment and discover something interesting, my first inclination is to share it with others.
I started teaching in 2003 at my local paper arts store, which had a mixed-media/collage bent from the beginning. I began with teaching chunky book/mini book techniques; layering paint, ink, rubber stamps, vintage and new embellishments. As time went by, other store owners contacted me and I was traveling and teaching in Arizona and California. In 2008, I taught my first national art retreat in my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona and have been teaching mixed-media jewelry, collage and assemblage ever since. Teaching has taken me all over the United States, to France multiple times and also Bali. For eight years I was constantly on the road doing the instructor thing and loving it.
Through traveling and teaching, I’ve met amazing, talented women (and some great men too!) Explaining my artistic process has made me acutely aware of how I work, why I make the creative and technical choices I do and why absolutely everything about the making process is important. These creatives have taught me much over the years and made me a better studio artist. Of all the things I do, teaching has truly been my heart.
I made some big life changes in 2016 after my parent’s passed away and I had an “ah-ha” moment where I decided to keep what was working in my life so I could create magic for me and my family and let go of everything else. I drastically reduced my busy travel schedule and kept only a couple of favorite mixed-media retreats where I couldn’t stand the thought of not being with my art tribe. I also decided it was time to let creatives come to me and experience my beautiful and breathtaking corner of the world in my small mountain community that I adore.
Come join me in my home studio where you’ll stay in a local cabin or boutique inn, or travel to one of my favorite urban art retreats held in a beautiful hotel. Whatever we’re making and wherever we’re at, I promise we’ll make magic together and have lots of new discoveries in the process.
Art Is You – Redwood City, California (Silicon Valley)
Tinker, Tailor, Artist, Maker – May 1-6th 2019 –
Deconstructed Studio – Pine, Arizona
June 7, 8 and 9th 2019 – Jen’s Home Studio
Metalsmithing – Making Mixed Metal Elements; Metal Etching, Metal Stamping, Soft Solder Stamping, Forged Bangles, Soldered Ring, Making Bezels, Hinge Journal, Cold Connection Stacking. This workshop is for the many folks who own my book Making Metal Jewelry and have been asking me for a metals workshop to delve deeper into the techniques.
Art Unraveled – Phoenix, AZ
August 4th 2019 – Vintage Chic Recycled Tin Necklace
Do you love the look of vintage rosary chain but sometimes sigh at the price? $15.95 (and higher!) a foot??!! After hearing this story too often from my students that I decided it was time to teach a workshop on making consistent rosary beads that can easily be chained together into a gorgeous necklace.
While I was designing the workshop I decided to toss in a few other bead making techniques too – silk tornado beads, lightbulb wire bead connectors, wirewrapping vintage mother of pearl buttons and hand forming wire clasps so your finishing is as beautiful as your focal.
Just for beauty I began the design with an old tin ceiling tile plasma cut into a heart. Fun fact: the ceiling tin hearts in my kits are the very last of the tin from the Oracle Inn where Buffalo Bill Cody stayed while he was building his house in Oracle Az. Gotta love the history too. Then I sprinkled in sweet mother of pearl vintage boot buttons from a stash I bought years ago at a Paris flea market. Delish!
This is a special one of a kind piece. Everything you need to make this necklace is in the workshop kits I’ve put together using my vintage treasures. This is the only workshop I’m teaching at Art Unraveled this year. Join me! Register now
Deconstructed Studio – Pine, Arizona
October 4, 5 and 6th 2019 – Jen’s Home Studio
Mixed-Media Jewelry; Collage Beads, Resin Paper Beads, Textured Polymer Clay Pendants and Beads, Woodburning/Markmaking Components, Metal and Fiber Journal, Cold Connected Open Bezels with Collage and Resin. This is a inky, painty, sculpty, stampy, gluey get-your-hands-dirty workshop. For those of you who love mixed-media but not necessarily jewelry making, this is a great workshop for you, as every single technique taught can be incorporated into other art forms like assemblage, book making, journals, art dolls. etc.
2020 Workshops (more to come as dates are confirmed)
Craft Napa – Napa, California
January 15-19, 2020 – Embassy Suites Napa
January 18th, 2020 – Painterly Pix: A Deconstructed Collage. In this workshop, we’ll explore how to get your inspirational pictures out of your smart phone and onto collages in a way that looks like Monet himself might have took his hand to them.
January 19th, 2020 – Time After Time Assemblage necklace. With today’s busy lifestyle who doesn’t need more time? Time for creativity. Time for laughter. Time for play and self-discovery and inner reflection. Gain a little bit of these tangible qualities as you spend the day with me altering found objects to create a stunning and truly unique assemblage necklace. The key to making beautiful and structurally sound mixed-media assemblage jewelry is in the creation of solid components and strong connections.
To register click https://craftingalifellc.com/craft-napa/registration/
Deconstructed Studio – Pine, Arizona
April 23, 24th and 25th, 2020 – Jen’s Home Studio
Mixed-Media Jewelry; Collage Beads, Resin Paper Beads, Textured Polymer Clay Pendants and Beads, Woodburning/Markmaking Components, Metal and Fiber Journal, Cold Connected Open Bezels with Collage and Resin. This is a inky, painty, sculpty, stampy, gluey get-your-hands-dirty workshop. Much more “everything but the kitchen sink” magic making. For those of you who love mixed-media but not necessarily jewelry making, this is a great workshop for you, as every single technique taught can translate to assemblage, art dolls, bookmaking, journals etc. Many of these techniques are part of a new book in the works.
Mener La Belle Vie at La Cascade – Art Retreat in the South of France
May 28th to June 4th, 2020 – SOLD OUT
June 17th- 24th 2020 – Reserve Now
Eight students and myself will be living the good life for a delightful week in the South of France. A full immersion art & senses retreat where we’ll treasure hunt for vintage materials, beautiful ephemera and unique objects at the plentiful brocantes (antique shops), mache aux puces and vide greniers (flea markets and community sales) that we’ll re-purpose and transform into stunning art work.
When not in the studio, we’ll be exploring the beauty of picturesque French villages where old stone buildings, faded painted facades, colorful shutters and doors, along with fields lavender and sunflowers can be seen for miles. Our home for the week is nestled in quiet village of Durfort which has been an artisan village producing copper vessels since medieval times. La Cascade, number 27 Rue des Martineurs (Street of the Copper Beaters), was built in the mid 1600’s of local stone, mud and wattle (straw) in the same way houses in the area have been built from the medieval times up until the 20th century. The house has been beautifully restored honoring its history but adding modern facilities.
Deconstructed Studio – Pine, Arizona
September 24th, 25th and 26th 2020 – Jen’s Home Studio – Details to come Fall 2019
Painting with Resin; A to Z. In this special workshop we’ll be playing and experimenting with paint and resin in a multitude of ways. We’ll begin in our comfort zones, creating smaller acrylic abstract paintings on canvas. As we loosen up and get comfortable we’ll move into painting on handmade hard board substrates with resin that we’ve custom colored and tinted ourselves. As part of our experimentation and artistic discovery time, we’ll work with additives such a alcohol inks, mica powders, Isopropyl alcohol and various techniques to move and deliberately distribute air to create interesting patterns and textures. Workshop is intimate with lots of one on one time with me and limited to eight people. All materials will be supplied and available on site. We’ll be working on my patio and in my studio with lots of adequate fresh air flow, but any potential students with lung or breathing sensitivities is encouraged to call me before registering so we can talk through your specific issues. The epoxy resin has the same amount of VOC (volatile organic chemicals) as acrylic paint and we’ll be using isopropyl alcohol sparingly. To register please send a $200 non-refundable deposit via Venmo or Paypal or Zelle to email@example.com. Workshop cost $595 and includes healthy breakfasts and lunches all days, supplies and materials (paint, resin, substrates, additives, consumables), Saturday afternoon exploration/excursion time in Pine and Saturday evening Oktober Fest fun at That Brewery, my friend’s craft brewery and pub. Does not include transportation to Pine, AZ or overnight accommodations. Reserve now.
What students say about Jen’s teaching style…
“My first mixed media workshop with Jen was life-changing. We explored new techniques and mediums and stretched our creative muscles, all within a safe and fun environment. Just when I thought my project was turning into a disaster, Jen was there to encourage and show me the possibilities. She nurtures and inspires students creatively and rounds out the whole experience with practical business advice for those wanting to pursue careers in art. Jen’s workshops are like art therapy. I laughed, I cried–I re-discovered my creative self. Jen is Artist, Teacher, Mentor, Friend…all wrapped up in one amazing, inspiring and talented bundle!” — Shannon H.
“I evaluate teachers for a living and Jen is one of the best I’ve ever seen.” – Jana M.
“I love Jen’s classes! She brings such a playful, joyful attitude to the classroom. I love how she helps students see “mistakes” as opportunities to try something new. It enables the student to forge ahead without fear of failure. I never feel stressed out and always learn something new that can be expanded upon and incorporated into my work with my own style. Her cheerful, laid back approach creates a creative classroom environment. Pure fun!” – Stephanie B.
“It’s always a pleasure to take an art class from someone who is an excellent artist AND an excellent teacher. Jen Cushman is one of those who has mastered both “expertises” when teaching her highly-sought-after art. It’s clear that she has a plan in mind, and a well-designed path to take her students to a successful outcome. When I recently took a metal etching class from her, she showed technical skill with the medium, even one that can be unpredictable. She had a warm and humorous teaching style that set a comfortable, nurturing tone for the day. Finally, even with a full class, she gave each of us individual attention and support that led each student to walk out with pieces we loved. I look forward to taking more classes from Jen, an outstanding artist and wonderful teacher.” – Lorie G.
“Jen Cushman goes beyond consummate professional to skill-builder extraordinaire. She has an unending desire to build not only her own knowledge base, but also those who flock to her looking for inspiration. Jen adeptly balances kindness and professionalism in a way that makes you want to work with her again and again.” – Jenn M.