Jen Cushman
Sunday May 5 and Monday May 6, 2019

In the spirit of Tinker, Tailor, Artist, Maker, Jen has designed a brand new two-day workshop filled with hand building techniques that will elevate your mixed-media jewelry making skills to a new level.  If you’re an artist who participates in your local art shows or has your work in galleries, at the end of this workshop you’ll be able to incorporate many of these new techniques to create the kind of unique art jewelry people love to buy and wear.  These handmade beads are also fab embellishments for journals, handmade books and small assemblages.


The first day of our time together, we’ll be busy artists using our all our senses to create or transform all of the beads in our necklace. During this explorative time:

  • We’ll be making highly-textured hand formed beads from polymer clay and then adding various paint patinas to give them subtle color variations that mimic the look of old frescos and ancient clay beads. Using reductive painting techniques our beads will achieve a timeworn look. 
  • Wood burning and mark making on bamboo beads and wood rings and then adding a subtle color wash technique. For those who wish to, we’ll even rub a few drops of essential oils into our new wood beads so they smell as good as they look and are imbued with healing properties.
  • Transform plain stone beads to spectacular collaged artisan beads.
  • Cutting, drilling and sanding repurposed wood into earthy beads. The long wood bead connector comes from the century plants growing on my land. I’ll be bringing some to share.
  • My necklace was inspired by an Arizona sunrise, but we’ll have plenty of paints and patinas to create in your favorite color palette.


  • Also during the first day of our time together we will be working with recycled silk sari ribbon to create hand stamped fibers
  • Make unique  fiber and bead (“tornado”) wire links  
  • How to securely attach fibers to bead links with wire wrapping to add color and texture to your jewelry
  • Tassel making with recycled silk sari ribbons and wax linen thread

We’ll have plenty of plain wood and stone bead substrates and white polymer clay to build with, which means lots of explorative time and plenty of finished beads so you can choose the best of the best to incorporate into your finished Boho Tribal necklace. This also means extras of handmade beads for your art stash.

Artist and Maker:

  • During our extended time together, we will dig into design principals for building good mixed-media jewelry.
  • We’ll discuss color, composition, asymmetry and artistic voice
  • We’ll do a design exercise to allow us to better “see” with our mind’s eye, or as I call it our “third eye” or our “artist’s eye”.
  • We’ll chat about the intuitive process and how to “feel” into your work. Jewelry has a bad rap about having to be perfect. Perfect wire wraps, perfect symmetry, perfect lines. Like any art form, jewelry takes time to develop skill and craftsmanship, but there’s another way to work that simply feels good – free! I’ll do my best to help students loosen up and breathe for two adventurous art-making days.
  • We will do a grounding/breathing exercise that I use each time I go into my studio to quickly move from my left brain busyness into right brain creative flow.
  • On the business side, I’m available for any and all questions. When we’re in the flow of creation and hand building, students can ask questions about living an artist’s career. This can include things like marketing, social media, brand building, publishing, etc.

Kit fee $40 and includes polymer clay, set of 15 stone beads for each student, sticks, wood rings, beads, waxed linen thread, recycled silk sari, bone beads, bamboo beads, wire, paint, woodburning tools – essentially everything  you need for the two days.

Supplies to bring:

  • Round nose jewelry pliers
  • Chain Nose jewelry pliers
  • One pair of junk needle nose pliers
  • Ball peen hammer – can be jeweler’s hammer or standard ball peen hammer from hardware store
  • Scissors
  • Steel bench block if you’re local and own one – instructor will have a couple but bringing your own will reduce wait time
  • Rotary drill or Dremel if you’re local or driving and have one to bring – instructor will have a couple but bringing your own will reduce wait time – plus 1/16th drill bits

Optional: Any beads or charms or anything from your art stash