ImmersionForBlog

Opening Reception:  Friday, July 21, 2017 from 5:oo PM to 8:00 PM
Location: Commonwheel Artists Co-op
102 Cañon Avenue
Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Exhibit Dates: July 21 – August 14, 2017

Ever since Dan & I married, even before that, we have been a collaborative, supportive team. He is my best friend and soulmate. He is honest, caring, and one of those idea people. I love him with all my heart and soul.

He has influenced my work, new projects, and creative directions. As we journey through this life together, we have always wanted to do a joint show. Now that has become a reality for us.

On Friday, July 21, 2017, Immersion opens at Commonwheel Artists Co-op in Manitou Springs, CO. The concept for this show came from Dan. We love water’s qualities and its associated locations. Through this exhibit of our respective art works, we hope to convey the feeling of being surrounded by the beauty of the ocean, lakes, ponds, streams and waterfalls.

Dan has captured so many moments in time with his photography. Breathtaking ocean waves as they crash against the shoreline rocks, the Milky Way at Bandon, Oregon. During his local hikes, he encounters the occasional character willing to pose. I feel so blessed to have been with him when he photographed many of these scenes.

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Pacific Ocean ~ Cannon Beach, OR

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The Milky Way as seen at Bandon, OR

The Loch

Steller Jay at Lake ~ Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

As I worked on jewelry for this exhibit, I developed a completely new body of work. I incorporated stones the lent themselves to the imagery of water, waves, coral, shells and more. It’s the first time I have felt so completely free creatively that many of my works evolved in their own direction. Only a few started with designs that remained until completion; most became free form fabrication that I have never done before. Perfection and symmetry were not goals because I wanted to give my impression of the natural essence of water.

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Leland Blue set in Sterling Silver ~ Cuff

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Fossilized Coral set in Sterling with 18Kt Gold Accent

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Sterling Silver earrings with 18Kt Gold Accents

Dan & I are blessed to have found each other. We share a unique relationship based on love, friendship and mutual respect.

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Dan & I at Shore Acres State Park ~ Oregon

Immersion will give the audience a glimpse of our life together and our artistic souls. If you live in the Colorado Springs area, I hope you will be able to join us. The exhibition runs from 7/21 – 8/14/2017.

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

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Over the past few months, I have at a lot of failures, I mean A LOT as demonstrated by the top left photo of ‘the melts’. I told my husband that if I had failed this much when I first started metalsmithing, I probably would have quit. However, due to my German ancestry, I have a healthy amount of stubbornness, determination and persistence in my personality.

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The good news, actually the GREAT news is that I have experienced a HUGE amount of growth as an artist from all of these failures. I want to encourage you that no matter how bad things get when you are creating (and in all aspects of life for that matter), persist.

During this recent growth period, I have had a lot of encouragement from my friends and of course, my husband, Dan. Being able to draw from that kind of support is invaluable.

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Every artists runs into the dreaded block. That really wasn’t what happened as I had tons of ideas. My difficulty came in the execution.

The root cause for all of this turmoil was a bit of a perfect storm that happened in my life. Time demands were such that I could not spend my normal daily time in the studio. The pressure of preparing for an exhibition was an added factor. On top of that, I suffered an injury….tripping because I moved a dog cot….which resulted in a fractured nose and mild concussion. Said dog cot has since been returned to its best location.

When I was able to return to my studio, the effects of the head trauma were evident. Things I could almost do in my sleep took extreme focus. The torch was no longer a valued asset; it was something I approached with wariness.

This cycle was repeated for longer than I can say. I thought I felt fine. I’d return to the studio with what I thought was my normal confidence. Every day, yes, every day something went wrong. It got so bad that when the failures started, I would stop, because when I would press on, the situation just got worse. Frustration mounted. Finally that last straw happened and I needed the emotional release of crying. My mom always said, “Better out than in”. That release of all the anger, frustration, fear through tears was the best thing I did for myself. Rather that continuing the internalization route; my attempts to be stoic, I had the emotional release I must have needed. I LET IT ALL GO.

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The next day, my ‘abilities’ in the studio returned. My normal work flows and ability to produce finished works was back! I’m still shaking my head over the entire situation.

Through all of this, a new series emerged. Celestial. It’s the first time where I have started with something in mind and as the work progressed, I see something different and follow that course. It certainly is much more freeing to create this way.

Why am I sharing this? Because I hope it will help others. Whether you are an artist or not, we all have certain types of traumatic events in our lives. They may be emotional, they may be physical. I’m not good at “walking that stuff off”. I am persistent. As hard as it was to get back to the studio, I did it every day.

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When I finally hit that steam relief valve to let go of all that pent up emotion, the release was what I needed. I don’t know what will work for others, but hang in there, find what you need to just let go of and do it. Your mind and body will respond. You’ll know it when it happens.

Yes, out of failure, growth comes. Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and person.


I’ve been reading John Ortberg’s book “The Life You’ve Always Wanted”. Many things in this book have resonated with me. Most recently the chapter, A Life of Endurance, as he discusses perseverance.

“Any truly meaningful human accomplishment will require perseverance”

Isn’t this the simplest, most concise statement that conveys such a powerful message?

I started my journey in metalsmithing as a mature adult, not someone in their teens who went off to get a degree in fine arts or other related metal work curricula. Yet, my passion with this art form, to quote Steve Martin, is “To become so good they can’t ignore you”. Perseverance is one of the key elements in making that happen.

For the past month, I have had obligations requiring that I spend time away from my studio. Now it is time that I can return and I truly thirst for the positive energy I find in my creative space. I have so many new ideas, preparations for upcoming events and demands for new work at locations where I am represented. I find joy in all of that.

Here’s a sample of some of the things I’m currently doing.

Treescape earrings – progression shots

Designs for a new series…Celestial 

More Treescapes in fabrication

Flush set emerald – Treescape pendant

The driving force for me is perseverance to become better each day at this craft that I love. It requires practice, determination and desire. As I return to the bench, this is my focus.

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

 

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Every day is a new beginning, a fresh start, a chance for growth and unexpected opportunities. I want to encourage you to embrace each day with all the possibilities it holds for you. Please don’t limit yourself to the mindset that at the start of a new year, you have the chance to effect change in your life because you can take positive steps every single day!

I want to share something I recently read from Dr Wayne Dyer’s A New Way of Thinking, a New Way of Being.

Waste no opportunities. This is called following the light.

Several years ago when I was just starting my journey as a metalsmith, I attended one of the Colorado Metalsmith’s conferences. I wasn’t completely sure why I should attend the conference, but it was an opportunity for me to hear some prominent artists. One of the conference speakers was an extremely gifted metalsmith, Judith Kaufman. I was in awe of her work, her talent and her process. I still am.

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Judith shared how she got started. She was only 13 or 14, and she recalled how she used to sit at the bench and just play with putting components together. I was in awe. How could she do that and come up with such gorgeous creations? At that time, I was still dutifully sketching my designs, too afraid to try anything without a design. Hindsight is 20/20 and now I realized I was frozen by my own fear.

I listened, took some photos of her speaking and others of the slides she used in her presentation. She shared the quote by Isamu Noguchi in the picture above. It puzzled me. Again, I had self-imposed constraints on my art and was limiting my potential to create what was really in my soul. Now I get it. It takes time. Some grow faster than others. That’s ok, remember….a new day, another opportunity for growth!

So 2017 has arrived. Toward the last week of 2016, I was sitting at my bench, playing with components I had made. I was putting pieces together without designs in mind; check out the photo of my bench block at the top of this post. Initially, I wasn’t really aware of what I was doing. All of a sudden it hit me. How freeing and exhilarating. And then I remembered this is what Judith did and continues to do. Ok, that’s brilliant. Oh yes, and so much fun to play during the act of creating something beautiful….child-like in some ways.

I believe I’m following the light. It’s such a rush. Just let the creativity flow. That’s why it’s so important to just spend 5 minutes a day in your studio. Those 5 minutes can turn into something truly magical in what you are called to create.

Yes it’s a new year. Remember this, every day you wake, you are given a new opportunity to bring about positive change in your life. Please don’t limit yourself. Let go of that fear. Follow the light. Live!

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

There are so many amazing people in this world, I just had to share.

Rawe-struck

Dear Dolly,

10040291_300x300I’ll be honest. I used to think you were a bimbo. I used to think you flaunted your big boobs, teased hair, tiny waist, and your syrupy-sweet southern accent just to sell yourself and your brand as a country singer. Granted, I was raised in the Midwest and lived as an adult for many years in the Northeast. I didn’t get you, much less the South.

For example, I’d heard about your origins as a poor girl from the hills of East Tennessee, and when I learned you’d created a theme park in your native Sevier County I rolled my eyes. “Really, a theme park?” I thought. “As if rollercoasters will really help the people of rural Appalachia. Why not create something truly useful to give back to your community, like a library.”

Oh.

You have created a library, actually, and possibly in a bigger and more…

View original post 709 more words

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I have been spending time reflecting. I took a break from working at my bench for some much needed rest, relaxation and recharging of my artistic batteries. The break lasted longer than I expected, yet I believe that is exactly what I needed to become a better artist. My husband and I vacationed out on the Oregon coast. We enjoyed some fall hikes, walking along the shores of the Pacific Ocean and soaking in the beauty of nature. New inspirations were just a few of the benefits.

After that kind of hiatus from the bench, it felt both good and a little strange. Working with my hands is extremely satisfying and initially I did feel a bit rusty. I think it’s safe to say I am back and fully operational now.

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Sometimes I find inspiration from movies. Here is an example. Any thoughts on which movie inspired this piece?

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Quoting the infamous episodes from Friends with my own spin, “I was on a break…. a much needed break”. Given this experience, I broke some of my own rules of spending at least 5 minutes a day in the studio. That does give me some pause and contradiction, yet I know me and this break was something I truly needed to recharge my creative batteries.

All that being said, I would encourage my fellow artists to do the same. Don’t fight the need for breaks from the work cycle or even worse, feel guilty about it. There are times when the best thing we can do for our creative process is rest and relax.

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

 

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September’s Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank’s subject is “Share an image you really love right now”.

There are so many, but I love this one. Dan captured me during one of my early Chasing & Repoussé moments. Not everything is technically correct, yet I love looking at my hands working. I’m practicing. I’m learning. My goal is to continue to do so for as long as I live in this world. I can say my technique and skill has improved since this was taken two years ago.

It’s all part of my motivation to become a better artist.

Let’s see what my fellow bloggers shared on this topic.

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

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September signals fall. Accompanying that is the Front Range Open Studios tour of which I have been one of the participating artists since its inception just 6 short years ago.

The tour has grown, just as the artists have. My work has changed dramatically since I first joined the tour thanks to the encouragement I have received from others and my personal commitment to being a better artist. I have created new works especially for this coming weekend.

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This weekend, people who live in the Tri-Lakes area of Colorado, have a wonderful opportunity to visit working artists studios like mine. All of the artists on this tour enjoy discussing their creative process. Here is the map to all of our studios.

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One of the unique things about this tour is our desire to educate the public about how we create our art. Sure we have work available for purchase if it calls to you. However, our focus is showing people our process, our love of the craft and our inspirations.

In my case, I have a fairly extensive arsenal of tools. They help me fabricate my art jewelry. The photo below shows just a sample of the tools I use in my work.

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This year, people who visit my studio will see the process that transforms a flat piece of metal into a tiny Treescape earring. Those steps, a minimum of 22 for each work, demonstrate how committed I am as an artist to bring my interpretation of beauty into the world. I once had a gentlemen tell me that I “had too much time on my hands” because of what I did to make these. Sadly, he missed the point. As an artist, I am driven (just like my colleagues) to do what it takes to make art. It is our passion. As essential to our life as eating, breathing and sleeping.

If you live in the area, I invite and encourage you to visit our studios this weekend, 9/10-11 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day. I believe you will find the only real thing that differentiates us from each other is our respective mediums.

I work in metal. I am a Chasing & Repoussé artist. I create art.

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We hope to inspire young and old alike. Embrace your inner artist and join us.

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

 

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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.

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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