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.

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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.

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New Year’s Day. The beginning of a new year. It’s a time when many embrace resolutions and positive changes in their lives. Those who know me understand that I am not one for making resolutions at the start of any new year, because I believe that every day is an opportunity for positive change in my life, not just the beginning of a new year.   However, if you are inclined to make New Year Resolutions, then I encourage all who do and would add this to help keep on track. Remember that each day you wake, it is another opportunity. If you miss a step, that’s ok. Just keep going. Studies have shown that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. How accurate that is, I don’t really know. What I do know from personal experience is that when I make the decision to do something, that’s my trigger for making it happen.

My wish for you on this first day of 2016 is “The Gift of Time“. We tend to treasure it, but it is fleeting. I am learning to focus on the present moment for that is all we truly have. We tend to focus more on the concept of time at the start of a New Year. Yet if we realize that each new day is another gift of time, I think so much more can be accomplished.

Last year at an art event, I was given some advice about using my time, that I shared in an earlier blog post. That advice was to go into my studio every day for 5 minutes. In my case, I start at my jeweler’s bench. Generally I see multiple things in the works. I examine works in progress, contemplate what I am being called to create, if anything, and see what happens. Sometimes the desire to create takes over. Other times I have felt the need to tidy up. Then there are times when I just stare at everything and feel a bit overwhelmed. More often than not, each time I spend those first five minutes in my studio, I find that they do evolve into an hour or more. That is pure joy for me.

I would encourage you to give yourself the Gift of Time this year. I know how hard it is. While I don’t have children, I do have a career (the day job).  I create my art at night and on weekends. I have a loving husband, a home, and three wonderful basset hounds. I have friends who I get to spend time with. Pure gold for me is extended periods of time, 4 or more hours to be creative in my studio. While that doesn’t happen very often, when it does, it is pure magic. Finding or making the time to do something just for ourselves is difficult. I have read some suggestions to schedule 5 – 30 minutes a day for yourself. I don’t do that, but I do make a point to have those precious 5 minutes. If they turn into something more, all the better.

Each day is packed with 24 hour segments of opportunities. Do I waste time? Yes. We all do. Be aware of those things that allow us to procrastinate; I call them the “time-eaters”.  For me, I can get sucked into wasting time on the internet, in particular, Facebook. As much as Facebook is a great way to connect and build a business following, it is also a huge time drain for me if I let that happen. Set time limits. Be willing to say no. Control what you can. Just start with the gift of 5 minutes for yourself, to use however you please. Build on that.

All of us have things we have to do and that consumes a chunk of our time too. Recently I have found that if I just get those things done, it never takes as long as I thought it would. With that, I find I have ‘extra time’ to do what I want.

We tend to think on this first day of the New Year that the year in front of us holds such promise. I would suggest that we change this mind set to recognize that each day we wake, we have a day in front of us that holds such promise. For me, that is the true Gift of Time.

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

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May your Holiday Season be bright.

May the New Year find your life enriched and filled with unexpected joys.

Thank you for following my blog.

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

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December’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is: What I am Looking forward to?

Where do I begin?

The holidays for sure. I get to spend some quality time with Dan, our bassets and my studio! We are going to enjoy a break from our day jobs and have a stay-cation. I just love being home. Projects to finish and begin. Snuggle time with the bassets. Date days/nights with Dan. Perfection.

In 2016, many things are coming to light. I’m looking forward to my first exhibition with fellow artist, Jo Gaston, who is a very talented oil painter. We are collaborating on a joint show that will start in May at Commonwheel Artists Coop in Manitou Springs. The theme will be botanical. My focus will be with my Chasing and Repousse works.

I look forward to what life has in store. The possibilities. Sometimes it just boggles my imagination to think about what the future may hold. It’s exciting. It has also taught me to keep myself as firmly rooted as I can in the present, for the present moment is truly all we really have. Enjoy life at this very moment in time.

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

Andes Cruz

marie bell

Beth Cyr

Diana 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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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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