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Ginkgo Cuff in Shakudo.

I imagine most of you remember or are familiar with the Jerry Seinfeld show. There are many memorable episodes for me. The one when George struggles to come up with a decent comeback to a co-worker during a meeting has stuck with me. He thinks he finally has the perfect response and here’s his ‘moment‘. Never worked out as well as he envisioned, did it?

Ever since that episode, I classify some of my “That’s what I should have said!” moments of enlightenment as my personal George Constanza percolations. They generally occur about 24 – 72 hours after something has happened where I didn’t feel I had the best response. Some I could never say, some I tuck away for future reference and chalk it up to a good learning experience.

My most recent George Constanza moment happened as I woke up this morning. It was the result of an interaction during this past Thursday’s Art Hop. I’m sharing this not only because I find it a bit amusing, but also because I think and hope it will be helpful to my fellow artists and to those who purchase our work.

The ginkgo cuff at the top of this post is one of my recent works. I created for the Botanical Expressions Exhibit this past May.  I brought it to Art Hop with a number of my Chasing & Repoussé works. Around 7:30 PM, several women entered the shop and were looking over my work. One stopped at this cuff, picked it up and turned it over to check the price…..$650. She raised her eyebrows and said, “Well, that’s pricey!“. I expected that response given her behavior. I suspect she had been enjoying the wine provided by the other merchants as is customary during Art Hop. No matter, I replied, “Yes it is considering it is a very labor intensive work.” She acknowledged my response with “I’m sure it is“, put the cuff back and moved on.

Fortunately, I had read some recent articles about how to respond to these types of comments, but I still felt I fell short of explaining the basis for the price.

This morning it came to me. My George Constanza moment. What I should have said was:

“Actually the piece is quite reasonably priced considering the investment I have made in workshops to learn this technique, the tools I have purchase to execute it and the hours I have practiced. It is made from a Japanese alloy called Shakudo which is comprised of gold and copper. So in fact, this cuff reflects my personal investment and is very reasonably priced.”

Note to self this is the right response.

It’s up to us, as artists, to explain the ‘why’ in how our works are priced if people ask or complain. We should never feel ashamed or contrite for how our work is priced. My forms of personal adornment are labors of love and have a part of my heart and soul in each piece. It is hand crafted, not produced in a factory.

One of the principles for the Front Range Open Studios tour is to educate the public so they understand why art costs what it does. I am one of the tour artists and each of us opens our private workspaces to the public once a year to help them understand our investment in our art. It gives us the opportunity to explain and demonstrate what happens when we are in the studio creating. Every time we interact with a possible collector, we have the chance to educate them about our process. Yes, sometimes that is difficult with the atmosphere that can occur during certain events such as Art Hop, but it is not impossible. We have a responsibility to ourselves and the public to enlighten them about what goes into our art.

I am so grateful for all those who have purchased my works and become collectors. They understand. They get it. As artists, we need to develop future collectors of our works by helping them to get a better feel for the process.

Yes, this reasonable priced cuff is still available. If it calls you to and you wish to become a collector, contact me at info@kathleenkrucoff.com

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

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The take away here is “make“. I make art! This is so profound. No matter your age, where you currently are in this life journey, you too can make what you choose. It is a choice. Just “make“.

My friend, Will Weyer, is one of the creative forces behind “Where Design Comes From” (WDCF). He published this about a week ago and my immediate response was “YES”! Will is a designer with incredible talent. Follow him through any of the links I provided at the beginning of this paragraph. Stay motivated by his posts and maybe a few of mine too.

Here’s an interesting side note. Three years ago, five basset hound puppies were born. I was guided and blessed to be entrusted with one of those precious pups. All of them have brought remarkable people into my circle of friends. Another puppy from this litter brought Betsy and Will into my life. I am so grateful. You never know how some choices will have such a profound affect on your life. Look for the connections; they are there.

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.

If you enjoyed this, please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers shared on this topic and be inspired!

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

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June’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think tank is:  “If you could learn anything, what would it be?

It just so happens that I finished my second workshop with Il Maestro Fabrizio Acquafresca this past week.  I wanted to refine my skills in Chasing & Repoussé.

The week has been filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows as I struggled to grasp the concepts to create movement in metal. Even though I have diligently been practicing, I just was not seeing any improvement. I desperately want to become one of the best and master Chasing & Repoussé.

I know this will be a life long journey and I am willing to commit to it. Even though I began to learn the technique two years ago this month, deep down I knew I was stuck in my development. With this piece, I now know my work will begin to grow again. It just takes time and LOTS of practice, coupled with the guidance and instruction of a master of the craft. It has been said that Fabrizio is the best instructor of this technique in the world. I would agree that he is. It is my honor to call him friend and I am indebted to him for sharing his gift with the world.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to say about this topic.

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

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I keep returning to this cuff; the metal is a Japanese alloy called Shakudo. The design, sweet little flowers meant to encircle one’s wrist.

This piece was finished a little over a month ago; it calls to me. Currently it is on display and available at the Botanical Expressions exhibit at Commonwheel Artists Co-op in Manitou Springs CO. Has it called to anyone else and found its home yet? I don’t know.

One thing I do know, in answer to the question “Why I do what I do?” is being creative is a necessity. It is essential to who I am. This cuff was one of those works that resonated with me and still does. Who knows, maybe it belongs with me. We shall see once the exhibit closes next week.

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.

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

ginkgoPairing

 

 

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.

StepOutInFaith

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.

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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