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As a happy coincidence would have it, this month’s Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank topic is, what are you looking forward to?

Tonight is the opening reception for my first joint artist exhibit, Botanical Expressions at Commonwheel Artists Co-op in Manitou Springs CO. I am most definitely looking forward to tonight!

I’ve shared a bit about my preparations and some of the new works. Here’s another sampling of some of the works that will be on display and available for purchase if any call to you.

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The reception runs from 5-8 PM tonight. If you are in the area, I hope you can join us. The exhibit runs through June 13th. A wonderful opportunity to see Chasing & Repoussé art jewelry with beautiful watercolors by fellow artist and friend, Jo Gaston. Great art, great people, great location. A perfect way to spend your Friday night!

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers are looking forward to:

Andes Cruz
marie bell
Diana Bell

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

Botanical Expressions

The Thoughtful Reflections of Two Artists

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It’s almost here. All the preparation. All the work of designing, creating and finishing pieces for this exhibit. It is coming to fruition. On May 20th, the Botanical Expressions Exhibit opens at Commonwheel Artists Co-op in Manitou Springs, CO. and runs through June 13th. The opening reception is this Friday, May 20th from 5-8 PM.

I am experiencing a myriad of feelings. Gratitude. Relief that all the work I wanted to create happened.  A sense of accomplishment in that I did this, it’s done and I am so happy with all the beautiful pieces of art jewelry finished specifically for this exhibit.

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If you will indulge me, I would like to share a story about an artist/friend who inspired me years ago with her journey. Tracey Clarke, a gifted oil painter. She shared her preparation for an exhibit like this through her blog posts. How she came up with her proposal for a show, the process of creating works with a given theme and ultimately, the hanging of her show. This is the link to one of her posts about the process. I got to know Tracey through an artist forum where we shared works, stories, frustrations, and successes. I was in awe of Tracey’s gifts and how she prepared for her show. I wondered if I could ever do the same with my art and now 5 years later, with my metalwork, I too have completed the process for my first exhibit. For me, this is one of those goals artists have to create a body of work, that demonstrates focus, skill and a passion for what we do. People touch our lives in ways they don’t realize, and Tracey did many things for me with her strength, courage and grace. Sadly, Tracey was taken from this world in December 2013 after a hard fought battle with brain cancer. I miss her.

The vision for Botanical Expressions is showing what two artists can do in their respective mediums. My Chasing & Repoussé art jewelry and Jo Gaston’s watercolor paintings will be displayed with our interpretations of elements in nature that we find most beautiful. In some cases we discussed having works that were of the same subject matter such as acorns and aspens. Of course there will be others that embody our love of a particular species.

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As I have said, this is the first time I have prepared and submitted a proposal with a particular theme. Both Jo & I are extremely grateful to Commonwheel Artists Co-op for providing not only the opportunity, but the venue for an exhibit of this kind. Earlier this year, Commonwheel remodeled and their Creekside Gallery room is perfect for visiting artists like Jo and myself to display our works.

As I prepared for this show, I envisioned  demonstrating the many diverse forms of art jewelry that can be created through the ancient art of Chasing & Repoussé. Continuing with that thought, I also wanted to show how I could incorporate a wide variety of metal in those works.  Although the majority of my work in this show is in sterling silver, I was able to utilize steel with fused gold and Japanese alloys like Shibuichi and Shakudo.

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As an artist, I am always looking for ways to challenge myself. Doing a show of this nature pushes one to stretch and grow. Prior to getting ready for this event, my main focus with Chasing & Repoussé has been creating cuffs like the one pictured below. The canvas for that type of jewelry is larger and gave me a lot of freedom to express my organic style.

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Creating a new body of work for this exhibit, to my surprise and delight, I discovered how completely Chasing & Repoussé lent itself to these delicate works with their minute details. The metal moved beautifully and I was thrilled to discover all I envisioned coming to life.

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My belief is anytime you step outside of your comfort zone, something wonderful will happen. In this case, fresh ideas, new work and friendships are just the start of the positive impact this event has already had on my life and my work.

I hope that you will be able to join us for this unique, insightful visual display of the thoughtful reflections of two artists.

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

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Why I Do What I do.

I love experiments and the results they produce. These are my first Chasing & Repoussé works in the Japanese alloy, Shakudo. The alloy is comprised of a copper – gold mix that produces a rich, warm look.

Every time I try something new, I grow. That’s essential and vital to who I am.

What Is “Why Do you Do What You Do?” All About?

It started  with a kid doing a school assignment: To interview someone from a community service agency. He looked in the Yellow Pages, dialed a number, and asked the person on the other end ” Why do you do what you do?”… and the receiver felt compelled to answer…. and it grew into this beautiful, interesting, amazing movement.  Read the full story here.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to share on this topic.

Aspiring to be more as an artist and a person.

The topic for March’s Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is: what are some of your favorite quotes? We’ve covered this topic before, however, it’s worthy of a revisit. As a result, I have new favorites. Here they are:

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”  – Zig Ziglar

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
– Napoleon Hill

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”
– Pablo Picasso

“Follow effective actions with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
– Peter Drucker

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”
– Oscar Wilde

And one last one from Zig….love this because I heard him say it during a speaking engagement.  Talk about resonating!

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”– Zig Ziglar

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have shared on this topic

Andes Cruz
marie bell

Until next time, I aspire to be a better artist and person.

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Hibiscus – Photo by Daniel Krucoff

…….things just click!

I’m happy to report that it happened again for me while I was working on this cuff.

Hopefully, all of us have experienced that moment when things just start to come together and work right. Something akin to when you learned how to ride a bike. Balance, turning, forward momentum and braking all come together in perfect, effortless harmony. It becomes second nature and requires little conscious thought.

Years ago, my primary medium was glass. Oh how I wished I could cut glass with ease, without thinking about it. That FINALLY happened after a ton of practice. What accelerated that perfect touch was many hours of cutting strips of glass for the fused bowls I was making. The mechanics of the right pressure just clicked.

In 2009, metal became my medium. In some aspects, I was starting all over again. In other areas, I was enhancing skills I had developed as a budding artist back in my teens. You see, I know and have found that everything we do develops a skill set that we can build upon. Some are fortunate to start early and stick with it. Others, like me, tend to bounce around until we find our true passion.

Over the past several weeks, I have returned to the studio to create new works for an upcoming exhibition.  All the work will be completed using the metalsmithing technique of Chasing and Repousse. I love working in metal and this technique allows me to create in a way I never imagined. In June of 2014, I took a workshop from the Italian Master, Fabrizio Acquafresca and found my true passion ~ Chasing and Repousse.

There are MANY important aspects to this technique. For me, the hardest part has been proper use of the chasing hammer with the tools. I knew it would just take practice. Fabrizio and others confirm that practice is essential. It is. I know it. My commitments have interfered with my ability to work on this technique as much as I want and need.

Now, as I’m preparing for an exhibit, I am in the studio every day working, practicing, striving to be better. Some days my muscles are unhappy with my demands. I take breaks, I stretch and do my best to give my body the rests it needs. Remember these breaks are just as important as the practice. When I am tired, my muscles fatigued, things don’t work well and mistakes will happen.

However, that moment I sought, when perfect harmony with hammer and chisel finally happened. It took place on a recent Sunday. I had finished the details of this cuff and now it was time to work on the non-raised sections; the border area. Fabrizio has a set of special square tools (pictured below) that he uses to complete a smooth, finished surface.

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I have struggled with this aspect ever since that workshop almost 2 years ago. This time, I was determined to figure it out, make it work and succeed. As I started to hammer, I could see the surface was moving as I wanted it to.  It’s a smooth ‘texture‘ if you will.  I realize that sounds like a contradiction, but these tools create a soft finish. Here’s a close up of one of the edges, showing the details of the cuff.

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The awareness that took place as I hammered was I was finally striking the tool with a purpose. Before I was ‘hammering like a girl‘….ya that old saying of ‘you throw the ball like a girl’. Whatever. I was using my chasing hammer like I meant it. The strikes were not this random flailing of mediocre blows. The hammer strikes on the top of my tool were direct, with intent. All the aspects of how to create this movement were coming together. I was holding the square chisel correctly, positioning it correctly on the metal’s surface and striking it with the hammer with forceful purpose.  I could feel everything was working together in harmony and that’s the a-ha key moment of revelation. I got this. I’m doing this. Yay me!

The reason I want to share this story and my thoughts are to encourage you. One of the worst things we do as individuals is compare ourselves to others. That serves no purpose. There’s always going to be someone who’s better at something than you are and you are better at somethings that others aren’t. Just be the best that you can be. If you are dissatisfied with something, work on fixing it. I was never happy with my hammer skills. Yet I persisted and practiced. Am I where I want to be yet? No. Anyone who is a true master of their craft continues to practice and work at it. Ansel Adams did, Picasso did, I know Fabrizio does and I know I have to because I want to grow and become a better artist. Practice, determination and persistence are my allies. If you want to be better at anything, let them become your allies too.

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

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This says it all.

Let’s see what others have shared this month.

Andes Cruz

Marie Bell

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

February’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is “What are some of my priorities?” I took some liberties with the title, generally things for this month will center on what are some of our top thoughts, concerns, or focuses?

I must admit I do have a lot on my mind.

For whatever reason, I seem pulled to consider the options available if Dan & I choose to move to the Pacific Northwest. This type of move is not in our immediate future that I know of, yet, the pull to research the possibilities is strong. Right now I’m doing my best to focus on the present.

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The desire to be in my studio and practice my craft is a constant. Most days I get in there and do something. The pull to work with my hands, coupled with developing new designs is formidable.

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There is an awareness that I need to spend quality type with Dan and the bassets. We do out best to have date night on the weekends. Dinner out, a late lunch or movie, discussions about the events during the week and plans for the future. With the dogs, I try to avail my lap for snuggle moments with the pups every day. I know they need to spend time with me as every morning, as I attempt to eat breakfast, I am buried under a pile-o-bassets.

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Paring down on the unused and unnecessary articles of clothing, decorations, etc. One of the good things I saw on Facebook in the past week was related to Lent. Completely different from the normal 40 days of ritual, use this time as a benefit to myself and someone else by going through my closet and selecting an article of clothing that I do not wear. One item, each of the 40 days, to donate to a worthy organization that will help others in need. I like that, so I’m doing it. It helps with removing the superfluous things, plus someone else benefits. Bonus.

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Disclaimer….this is NOT my closet….yet!

Preparing for upcoming exhibits is a must. Added to that, I am considering what avenues will work best for finding my target audience. I have yet to find a satisfactory answer.

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My journey in faith, while I mention it last, it is my number one priority.

Those are just a few of the things that continually bubble up to the top of my priority list. I know I can’t do it all at once, so I do my best to carve out bits of time to focus on just one thing.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to say on this topic:

Andes Cruz:
marie bell
Robyn Hawk
Beth Cyr
Diana Bell

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

 

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Love, romance, that special someone. There’s still time to find that perfect hand crafted gift! All of these latest works will be available at my Valentine’s Day Trunk show, this Saturday, February 13, 2016 at the wonderfully enchanted Santa Fe Trail Jewelry in Historic downtown Monument, CO.

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Willow Creek Jasper set in Sterling Silver with various faceted gems

I have been preparing for this upcoming trunk show. One of the things I like to do for these special events is have an offering of what I am currently developing. Not only does this give my clients and Santa Fe Trail Jewelry aficionados the opportunity to have first choice, but it also gives me immediate feedback of people’s responses to the new directions I take with my work.

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Asymmetrical earrings are one way I feel people can really express their individuality with distinctive, one of a kind art jewelry.

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Treescapes are certainly a favorite. This series continues to evolve as I look for new inspiration and ways to make them even more unique. These earrings are inspired by a little Bonsai tree that sits on my bench. I’m having great fun adding gemstones, like the faceted peridots, as the base of the tree.

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This style of Treescape pendant is growing in popularity too. Here we have a richly colored Variscite stone as the focal point with my Bonsai tree accent.

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There are many more that will be available this Saturday. If you don’t live in the area and see something that calls to you, send me an email for details.

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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January’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere think tank is, “What has had an impact on me lately?” It was this quote from Steve Martin, shared by a Facebook friend and social media guru, John Paul Aguilar.  It just hit me like a ton of bricks. I have this quote in a number of places so I can see it every day.

Why did this resonate with me? Well, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all experienced being snubbed. In the art world, where I think I can feel a bit more vulnerable, it has happened. Generally, I find this type of behavior, to make someone else feel less than adequate, tends to come from shallow, insecure individuals. I just do my best to brush off the negative feelings I experience, as they serve no purpose.

When I saw this quote, it made me smile in its wisdom and simplicity. “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” Yes! That’s it.

Thank you Steve for saying this. Thank you John for sharing. May this have the same positive influence on you that it has had on me.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have to share on this month’s topic.

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person….oh yes, I am going to be so good, I cannot be ignored.

Failures

January’s Why I do what I do is: I have a strong need to grow and learn.

“Fear of failure becomes fear
of success for those who never
try anything new.”

Excerpt From: Wayne W. Dyer. “Everyday Wisdom for Success.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/tASfx.l

Pictured are a few of my metalsmithing failures. Designs gone awry, melted bezels, solder globs, poor execution. Not everything I try works. Yet, I LEARN from those failures and improve, because I am willing to try new things. Someone once told me that if you didn’t make any mistakes, it just means you weren’t trying hard enough. These mishaps make me a better artist. When you fall down, brush off the dirt, get up and move on.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have shared:

Andes Cruz

marie bell

I continue to aspire to me more as an artist and a person.

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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about.me

Kathleen Krucoff

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist, Metalsmith & Basset Hound Fan

I've never been one to color inside the lines, so why should my work be constrained by any boundaries?

Being creative is a way of life for me. Metalworking satisfies my love of working with my hands. I consider my art jewelry to be unique forms of personal adornment.

I am blessed to share my life with my best friend, soul mate and husband, Dan. We share our home with three adorable basset hounds.

Aspiring to be more as an artist and a person.

Kathleen Krucoff Art Jewelry

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