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The date has been set:  Sunday, August 30, 2015 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM

The location is Wild Hair Alpacas, located at 5815 Mountain Shadow View, Colorado Springs CO 80908

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And I’m pretty sure the alpacas are ready

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Barb Ziek, co-owner of Wild Hair Alpacas, thought it would be fun to have a fashion show featuring her alpaca fiber garments and my art jewelry creations. When she asked me if I was interested, my immediate response was “Yes!”.

I have met a few of the new babies that joined the herd this summer. Now preparations are underway for this exciting event.

The models will be walking the runway in the alpaca barn. Barb’s husband, Peter, will walk the alpaca that supplied the fiber for the model’s garment as she shows off the outfit. A variety of my art jewelry pieces will be worn as a compliment to the clothing. The following are a few of the pieces that will be worn by the models. I chose some of my big, bold pendants that are true fashion statements in my mind.

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This is my first fashion show. I consider this to be extra special because of the charming alpacas that will be active participants in the show.

If you live in the area, I hope you can join us.

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

August’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank:  “How do you envision the possibilities for the future?”

My husband and I have been thinking about this with greater focus for the past couple of years. We’ve been doing a lot of research about where we would like to live, because as my husband puts it, “Retirement opens a whole new world of opportunity”. Why not consider relocating?

As I have thought about the future, my future, our future, these are some of my expectations, hopes, wishes, goals and more.

Where ever we choose to live, I want to get up every morning and enjoy some form of exercise. Whether that’s walks with the dogs, workouts in the privacy of our home or refreshing swims. It’s important to me to keep active. It clears my mind, releases those lovely little endorphins and keeps the blood circulating.

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I want to be more involved as an artist. Work in my studio every day. Get together with fellow artists. Be part of the local art community. Continue to find new venues for my work. Being creative is essential to how I want to live.

Location, location, location. Where will we live? We’ve been exploring the NW. Washington state has an appeal for all its beauty, proximity to the ocean, mountains, wildlife, hiking, photographic opportunity and artist community. We love living in Colorado. It has much of the same appeal as Washington state does, yet the winters in Colorado can be more cold with more snow. We are still undecided on this topic and fortunately, we still have plenty of time to make decisions.

It’s my opinion that you have to prepare for the future you want. That doesn’t mean that you need to become obsessed with it in terms of the “I’ll be happy when…” syndrome. It just means that there needs to be some awareness of where you want to be and what you want to do as you make decisions in the present. Those present day decisions will have an affect on your future.

I can say I am looking forward to what the future may hold and trust that it will be good.

Let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to say about their anticipated futures:

Andes Cruz
angelojones
Tosca Teran
Diana Bell

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

TextureChallengeKathleenKrucoff

I am part of a Chasing and Repousse group on Facebook. When I first joined, I did not know this technique, but I had a desire to learn. Last year, that desire was fulfilled when I took a workshop with Il Maestro Fabrizio Acquafresca. One of the things Fabrizio told me was to “keep hammering” and I am.

One of life’s serendipitous moments happened in June when I met Laurie Jane Kern (aka The Adventurous Silversmith) during the Artists Reception at Outnumbered Gallery in Littleton for the First Chasing and Repousse exhibit. Both Laurie and I had pieces in the show. And Fabrizio was back in Colorado for this event. Throughout the course of the evening I had many great conversations.

What does this have to do with The Texture Challenge? Well, Laurie is the founder of the Chasing and Repousse group on Facebook. She picks these challenges that run every 2 – 3 months. During that opening reception, she told me about this upcoming challenge and wanted me to participate. The photo at the top of this post is the result of my work.

Talk about fun. Not only did I make a couple of tools for a specific texture, I also learned so much that I want to incorporate in my future works. The best part of this for me was the continued, almost daily practice, so I could complete the sample in time. Doing this has shown me that if I want to try a new texture, grab a piece of copper and practice that texture before doing it on the actual piece I will create. This small effort can provide great insight into what needs to happen to create a particular texture.

I thought you would enjoy seeing the texture squares next to the references I used to create them. I’m also going to share a bit about the two tools I made as part of a personal challenge. More than one of the artists at the Exhibition stated that creating your own texture tools was one way to have your work truly stand out.

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Sand

This is the one square where I created my own texture tools. I will admit that starting to make these types of tools can be a bit intimidating for me, but that feeling quickly wore off and I am ready to make more! I will discuss my experience with tool making in a future post in my Talkin’ Tools series. I found that the smaller of the two tools was best for this sand texture. When doing this type of texture, there is a lot of repeating the pattern over itself until you achieve the desired result.

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Custom made tools.

Next is one of my favorites, a leaf.

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Leaf

Again there is a lot of repetitious patterning so the end result looks like those cells in an actual leaf.

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Fish Scales

I have fished but never truly studied the patterns in their scales until now. The amount of detail is surprising and something I find quite beautiful.

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Bark

My attraction to trees made a bark texture a perfect choice. It was far more challenging that I could have imagined.

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Sea Shell

There’s a delicate beauty in sea shells. I’ve collected a few and my interest in their patterns grew after our trip to the Oregon coast last fall. I knew I wanted to make a cuff design, incorporating lots of varieties. Now I know how challenging that cuff will be, but I think it will be a stunner.

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Rope

Somewhat in keeping with a nautical theme, I really like the big thick ropes that are tied to anchors.

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Grass Seeds

I happened to find this specimen in our back yard. We seem to have so many pretty grasses where we live. This one caught my eye and I just knew it needed to be included in my samples.

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Tree Rings

I’m fascinated by the growth rings in trees. They tell a story about any given year in the tree’s life. A few years ago we traveled to Yellowstone and one of the 100+ year old trees had to be cut down. The rangers had marked years on the various rings, accompanied with a historical reference. They are little windows into the past.

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Dog Fur

Last but certainly not least is the pattern from our Thorin’s dog fur. He wondered what I was trying to do when I snapped the close up of his fur.

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My handsome model, Thorin

A fun challenge that was a great learning opportunity. Which of these textures is your favorite?

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

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Am I living my dreams?

I saw this question on Facebook the other day with a photo of a powerful, majestic black horse. The point was one day we will no longer be on this plant and our fears will not have mattered….all that would have mattered was how we lived. As I thought about this, many things came to mind.

In reality, yes I truly am fortunate to be living my dreams.

Let’s think about it though. The romanticized version of this would be I spend my days rising at a time of my own choosing or rather when our basset hounds woke me up to be fed. I would love to take a walk every morning, weather permitting. Enjoy coffee and my breakfast. Quality time with my husband, Dan, and the dogs. Meditate. Enjoy a refreshing shower and then ready myself for a day of creativity in the studio.

Sounds great? Yes.

But, the reality of that romanticized version is I would still need to market my work because I need the income. Also, a careful eye would need to be kept on my inventories (both raw materials and finished works). Maintain those healthy relationships with the galleries that carry my work. Develop new relationships in new venues where my work could be made available.

That’s not to say any of this true reality is bad. The point is any blissful notion I may have about ‘living my dreams‘ isn’t the actual reality of the situation. There’s still plenty of work do be done; the mundane tasks (yes, be honest, we each have our personal lists of what we consider mundane) to keep everything going as it should. I could not just sit at my bench for 8 or more likely 12 hours producing work. The work has to be marketed to be sold.  Oh yes and let’s not forget the tasks to maintain our homes….groceries, cleaning, laundry, etc.

So when I read or hear the phrase, “Are you living your dreams?” I think, yes I truly am.  It’s not that fantasized notion of the dream, it is the reality of it.

I have a full time job in the corporate world. That is a job I sought out by returning to school to earn a degree in Computer Science. I enjoy the security and benefits of being employed full time, doing what I love. You see, I do love doing many things. I am a software developer and I find writing code to be an art form in itself. I can be creative during the day and I am well compensated for what I do.

I also love being an artist. Working with my hands, creating things of beauty that other people enjoy enough to purchase. That is truly awesome. Would I love to do that work on a full time basis? Absolutely! Yet as many artists know, living that dream is a bit of a slippery slope. How much discretionary income are people willing to part with in order to buy art? There’s no real answer. It can depend on the economy, their financial situation, the position of the sun, their mood on a given day….well, let’s face it, the response can be as arbitrary as the way the wind blows. I get that because there are times when I can purchase art from someone who’s work I have admired and other times I just cannot.

Yes, I still believe I am living my dreams. Why? Because it is my choice to live my life as I do. I have a wonderful husband, who is my best friend. We share our lives with three adorable basset hounds. We live in a home that we designed and it fits who we are. We live in a beautiful state, Colorado, surrounded by mountains, lush trees and wildlife. My day job provides the financial benefits to allow me to create my artwork, on my terms and my time table, along with living a great life. Bonus! When it is time to retire from the corporate world, I will continue to work on my art and grow my business. That’s the reality. And that is my idea of living the dream.

What I hope you can take away from this is to know that you too may and more than likely are living your dreams. You just may not realize it. Keep things in the proper perspective and have reasonable expectations. It’s easy to be drawn into that fantasy of “living the dream” and maybe feel bad because you don’t think you are. The reality is you may not be that far from living your personal dream life and you probably are. Be grateful for how things are now and work towards how you would like things to be.

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

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Last summer, a good friend suggested that I purchase a band saw. He said it would help my efficiency in the studio because I wouldn’t be using my jeweler’s saw to do some of the more tedious tasks associated with jewelry making. It made a lot of sense to me so I started to do some research. After a lot of comparison shopping through Harbor Freight, Lowes, Home Depot, Sears and more, I decided on this Mini-Band Saw from Micro Mark.

Once it arrived and I started using it, I found many applications where it saved me a tremendous amount of time and effort over sawing by hand. If you visit Micro Mark’s product page, you can see all its options plus watch a video of it in use. As an added bonus, it is currently on sale for $275.55.  No I don’t get any type of a rebate for referring you to this; it’s just a happy circumstance that I chose to write about this today.

If you opt for adding a band saw to your tool arsenal, whatever make/model you choose, you will need to secure it to a bench for safety and stability. I have mine screwed down to the top of my Black & Decker Workmate. This is a powerful machine. Respect that there is a blade moving that can easily cut through your fingers like it does steel. Eliminate all distractions while you are operating equipment like this as your focus needs to be on what you are doing. Always wear ear & eye protection when operating. It has a vent where you can hook up a shop vac to collect any of the dust from cutting. I use a 5 gallon shop vac with it, which allows me to avoid wearing dust masks. However, I’m sure some would argue that I should wear the dust mask while using it too. I agree you can never be too safe when it comes to your personal protection when operating electronic equipment.

I would also add as a caution that if you have visitors in your workspace or children, always disable the power source to this machine when it is not in use. My philosophy is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and heart break. If there is a way to avoid injury, find it and use it.

As I lubricant for the blade, I use Brownpolymer that I purchased through Enjen Joes Products out of Fulton, NY. This stuff is great and you only need a very small amount.  I tend to use it on the blade before I start and also apply it along the line on the metal where I will be cutting. A little goes a long way. Really any blade lubricant you have will work. I had read some positive comments about this Brownpolymer product, so I wanted to try it and I’m glad I did.

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Here are some examples of metals I have cut with this. Steel, brass, copper, silver, square steel rod for tools. The specs on Micro Marks site tell you its cutting capacities for a specific material.

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You can purchase additional accessories. The rip fence is very useful for maintaining straight cuts. I also got extra blades with different teeth per inch (TPI) for use with a variety of materials.

I do love my tools. The purchase of a Mini-Bandsaw has been a great investment for my studio. I can avoid some of the mundane sawing I use to do and spend more time doing some of the hand crafting of a piece where that effort pays off in the way a finished item looks and feels. Well worth the money in my mind.

If you are considering a bandsaw, I recommend doing your homework and finding a model that will work for your needs. I am more than satisfied with this powerful and mighty mini bandsaw.

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

RawMaterials

Several weeks ago I attended the opening reception for the first Chasing and Repousse Exhibition at Outnumbered Gallery in Littleton, CO. One of my cuffs, The Mighty Oak, is a part of this exhibit that will run through July 18th.  I had a chance to meet with artists I have never met before, along with some I know.

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The Might Oak – Botanical Series

One of the great things about events like this is the chance to discuss the work. Artist to artist. Their work and mine. Fascinating. Several artists gave me some advice and I am discovering it is some of the best advice I have ever received. As a result, I wanted to share because it is my belief that I have a responsibility to play it forward for all the help I continue to receive as I work to advance my career as an artist.

Tip number 1. Spend five minutes a day at your bench. This nugget of advice came from Henry Spencer. The recommendation, in its simplicity, is profound. He asked me to think about it. It may sound easy, he said, but it is hard. What can come from those five minutes can be an hour and a half of new work or nothing more than staring at the top of the bench. The point is, something wonderful may happen if you commit to spending that time every day. The insight for me is that need to be in my creative sanctuary every day. Something will happen. I can tell you that I have started to do this and it is very productive.

This was the first time I had met Henry. He is very open and engaging. He has being doing chasing and repousse for 40 years and refers to himself as a hippie metalsmith from the 70’s. All of this is said with quite the twinkle in his eye. I can tell you there is nothing understated about his work. Take a few moments to visit his website. I think you will understand why I have taken his advice to heart. He is smart as a fox and then some.

Tip number 2. Make your own tools. Nancy Meli Walker told me this is a must as I continue with chasing and repousse. She showed me a few of her tools that she created for textures.  She pointed out that one of the ways to make your work stand out is to have your own specialized textures. I saw that in Henry’s work and hers, along with others who were in the exhibit. It made perfect sense and there are textures I have envisioned for my own work, but didn’t have the tools to create them. Fortunately, I took a couple of workshops last year and each teacher showed us how to make our own tools. Now it does pain me to admit I was not all that enamored with the idea of making tools. However, inspired by Nancy’s revelation to me, I am thrilled that I know how. Now I am ready to embrace it!

Nancy’s work is so graceful and refined. She has a wonderful sense of humor. Another engaging spirit who is so very endearing. I am very appreciative of her advice.

Hopefully this helps to explain my photo at the top of this post. I have steel rods for making my own texture tools, along with some copper and steel sheets that will be part of my evolution as I work to improve my skills. The copper sheet will become a reference for textures. I’m taking part in a challenge to create sample textures. I will be creating some tools for the new textures I plan to use in my work. The steel will become new works, fused gold to steel, that will be formed into cuffs, pendants, rings, and earrings….all will have the new textures.

I am very grateful to Henry and Nancy for being so open and giving. Maybe they saw something in my work and felt they wanted to help me to grow? Whatever the case, I am thankful.

My husband, Dan, will help document what I am working on and I will post his videos of me working. I am very excited about the possibilities.

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

 

HappySpace
One of my happy places

June’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is post ONE picture of your happy place.

This is in my studio space. My bench looks like an explosion hit because I have been in a serious creative mode. Now I could have tidied it up for this post, but that wouldn’t give you the ‘realistic’ picture, so I thought “What the heck? I’m happy in this space so I will share.”

There’s lots of natural light with a great view of our back yard. I can watch the bassets play when they aren’t keeping me company in the studio. I can pause and watch the weather. When I enter this space, I feel a calm, soothing effect; Zen moments where I can relax and be at peace. Priceless.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have posted on this fun topic.

Andes Cruz
angelojones
Beth Cyr
Allegra Sleep

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

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The Mighty Oak
Botanical SeriesKathleen Krucoff
All photography by Daniel Krucoff

This is my accepted entry in the first International Chasing & Repousse Exhibition to be held at Outnumbered Gallery in Littleton, Colorado.

The opening reception will be Friday, June 5th from 5:00 – 9:00 PM during Littleton’s First Friday.  The exhibit runs from June 5 – July 18th.

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Detail view of The Mighty Oak

I am truly honored and humbled that this piece was one of the selected works.  There were over 140 artists who applied and I am one of 29 that were selected for the exhibit.

For this cuff, it is the first time I elected to use the Japanese metal alloy, Shibuichi. This material is a blend of copper and silver. Working this metal created a warm undertone that I felt accentuated my design and the details. It has been my most challenging piece to create to date. I like to stretch and grow as an artist, which is why I believe it is so important to try new things and keep striving to become better.

Il Maestro Fabrizio Acquafresca and another remarkable artist, Nancy Melie Walker, will be in attendance on the evening of the opening reception, demonstrating the ancient art of Chasing & Repousse. Talk about magical.

All of the displayed work will be available for purchase. As an added bonus, Fabrizio will have cuffs from his Butterfly Collection that can be purchased. If you have admired his work or are just discovering it, this is a wonderful opportunity to become a collector of some of his finest creations.
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If you live in Denver or the surrounding area, I do hope that you can join me with my husband, Dan, at the opening reception. There will be many talented artists happy to discuss their work with you.  Remember that the exhibit runs through July 18th, if you are unable to attend the opening. I would say this is one of those must see events of the summer.

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

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The topic for May’s Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is “Share with us a little window in to your space/life/home.”  Right now, I am in the process of clearing and de-cluttering. When this topic came up for May, I thought how in the world can a share a glimpse into my life as it is in a state of upheaval?  Rather than show any of the ‘before’ photos, I thought I could share the very special bond and relationship I share with our basset hounds. Always there. Always providing a tail wag and more. They truly are the clowns of the dog world and I love our pack.  Their companionship is a constant in my life.  I’m going to let the pictures do the talking for me, with a few subtitles.

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Me with our first basset, Bueller.

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Puppy Thorin with a sister in the background.

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Full grown Thorin.

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Me with puppy Bueller.

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Snow bassets.

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Bueller around 1 year.

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Matriarch Nocturne with Newton and Quorra

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Younger days, me with Bueller and Nocturne

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Play time

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Newton’s portrait

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A great pack

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Today’s pack

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Newton and Quorra

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Newton and Thorin

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The one and only Thorin! 

My love for these wonderful dogs is only surpassed by my love for Dan and for our God.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers shared:

Tosca Teran aka nanopod: : http://nanopod.me/2015/05/20/window-space/

marie bell :: http://www.pencilfox.com/2015/05/may-blog-o-sphere-think-tank-sharing.html

Andes Cruzhttps://andescruz.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/spaces/

Pallavi Gandhihttps://studioat605.wordpress.com/

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Where:  Santa Fe Trail Jewelry

215 Chapala Plaza, Monument CO 80132
719.481.0250

When:  Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Marylee Reisig, owner of Santa Fe Trail Jewelry, will be hosting my Mother’s Day Trunk Show.  This is one of my favorite venues.

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This beautiful stone became the inspiration for one of my cuffs.  Hopefully I have peaked your curiosity because the cuff will debut at the show tomorrow.

Recently I discovered a New Zealand glass artist, Lesley McIver.  I just fell in love with her take on sea glass with traces of silver.  I’ve incorporated her work in mine to make these simple, yet elegant earrings.  I will have a nice variety in different colors and shapes.

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There will be plenty of Treescapes.

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Enjoy the freedom to Express Yourself with some of these.

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Lots of possibilities for that special person in your life and maybe even for you!  I hope you can attend.  If you are unable to make the show and see something here that interests you, please inquire via email.

Thank you for your continued interest in my work.

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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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