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Pathways

Pathways

I enjoy the simplicity of these earrings.  They are Sterling Silver that has been textured, using a platen that has the design you see.

Initially, these were round discs, about 5/8″ in diameter.  I placed them on the textured platen and then rolled them through my trusty Pepe Rolling Mill.  The compression that takes place as the metal discs are rolled through the two rollers of the mill, with that texture plate, creates the effect that you see here.  And that compression/imprinting process on the metal by the rolling mill, actually elongates the discs and they became more oval in shape.

As part of my finishing work, I filed the edges so they are nice and smooth.  A patina was added to darken and enhance the depths of the texture.  The ear wires are also made of sterling silver.  I had such fun with these that I know I will be making more and trying different patinas to see what colors I can create.  Who knows, I may even make a pair without any patina to let the sterling silver shine.

I call these “Pathways” as they remind me of little flagstone paths.

Here’s wishing all of you a wonderful week of creativity.  Remember, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

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I have some great news to share…. Dan is a Featured Artist at Whopple.com. You can read the interview here and see some of his latest photographs from our trip to Estes too. I think it provides some interesting insights into his approach to photography, along with his inspirations. Hope you enjoy.

I’m so proud of him!!!!

I am a woman who appreciates the value of tools. I’m fairly certain that my father helped to instill that appreciation. And I feel like Tim the Tool Man Taylor…it’s Tool Time for Kathleen. Here’s my new baby, the SR Series from Foredom. This one even has a reversible speed! Whooo Whooo….or maybe I should try that famous grunt from the TV show? Any way you look at it, I am the proud owner of a beautiful new power tool that will give me years of service.

The Foredom is a Flex Shaft Power Tool that has a variety of attachments. This one is on special through the month of October from our local supplier, Naja Tools. It has a nice tool kit of attachments included too. Bonus! Lexi just happened to be in their shop and saw this gem, called me, and the next thing you know, this bad boy is in my arsenal of prized tools! I had a dremel and that does the job, but when you need more power (insert grunt here), well, the Foredom delivers.
I will use this for polishing, buffing, bringing pieces up to a high polish, drilling, and I’m sure to discover more uses too. I’m terribly excited about this new addition.
For all the dog lovers out there, as I was assembling this at my bench tonight, all three bassets were present and supervising. Newton was directly underfoot and made it quite challenging at times. What would I do without basset supervision? 🙂
Continuing to aspire to be more as an artist and a person!
Soul Searching Series

River to Ones Soul

This is my first piece since my “Chocolate Gelatos and Mountain Sunsets” post. It is part of my new series, Soul Searching, that was inspired by my heart to heart with Lexi. I call this River to Ones’ Soul.  The stone is a Cobra Jasper that I purchased from Gary B. Wilson. I find this stone very striking in its markings and the color patterns.  And I see a river running through this, so that is how I arrived at the title.

The stone is set in Sterling Silver with copper accents.  There are a few firsts with this piece too.

I hope you can tell how inspired I’ve become by that heart to heart Lexi and I shared on September 28th….that was my mother’s birthday too.  Hmmm, there were a lot of things working to help me that evening and now.  I’m certain of it.

Photo credit goes to my dear husband, Dan.  Doesn’t he do an awesome job? 🙂

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.  I would love to know what you think about this first piece in my Soul Searching series.

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


I’m posting this on my glass and metalworking blogs because I feel strongly about sharing this with all of you creative spirits.

The Creative Block. It happens to all of us, right? The dreaded, proverbial block to our creativity process and energy. I call it “Hitting the WALL”. When it happens, we go through whatever we hope will unblock us and release that creative energy that we all have.

Sometimes it doesn’t last very long, other times it lasts longer than we would care to admit. What causes it? How do we work through it? Many folks smarter than I have written about it, discussed it, theorized about it, and proposed solutions.

I don’t know that I have a solution per se, but I do know that I hit “the WALL” a little over a week ago. The trip to Estes was beneficial, but even when I got home I was stymied. I couldn’t believe it. Here I had all those beautiful stones that I had just purchased at the Denver Gem & Mineral Show and every design I tried looked blah. They all started to look the same. Here’s the stone, here’s the stone shape…maybe a texture, an overlay, or nothing. BORING! At least it was boring to me. I wanted to showcase these stones and do justice to them, not detract from them.

Most of you know that Lexi Erickson is my friend, teacher, and mentor. Lexi has a wonderful ability to tune into others and get a sense of what may be happening with them. I am convinced she has an extra sense. After I got back from Estes, she asked me to come to her home for another lesson. I quickly agreed and told her I was having trouble with designs all of a sudden. She assured me we would work through it.

On Monday evening, off to Denver I went to spend some quality time with Lexi. My design journal and recently purchased stones in tow. As is our custom, we sit and catch up for a bit. She asked to see my designs and could tell my frustration. She commented that she knew I had been frustrated for a while even though I hadn’t vocalized it until that evening. As we looked at my designs, she shared my thoughts about how some of them were just plain boring. She kindly pointed out that there was nothing wrong with them, but I was growing as an artist and what was a perfectly good design was just too plain and boring for where I wanted to go next. She picked one design that centered on my favorite stone; a heart shaped Chinese Writing Stone. Effortlessly, she drew several beautiful designs for this stone to show me examples of how to create Emphasis in a design. Those were signature Lexi designs, just as individual as her handwriting. The key is they were the beginning of what would help me to break out of the constraints of “the WALL”.

I’m a very visual learner and just to see some examples of where designs could go was exhilarating. I didn’t understand why I hadn’t come up with that on my own, but I know that’s just part of the learning process too.

The mentor and her padawan learner; we went over the basics of design.

Principles:

  • Line
  • Color
  • Shape
  • Value
  • Texture

Elements:

  • Pattern
  • Repetition
  • Emphasis

Lexi was kind enough to write these in my journal and I am referring to them! She said it’s not uncommon to experience being blocked after getting the sensory overload from the Gem and Mineral Show. I’m certain that had a lot to do with it. All these beautiful stones and I am so committed to doing justice to each and every one of them.

And then she turned to me and said, “How about going out for a gelato?”. It kind of took me aback, because to me, it was “what does that have to do with jewelry design?“… oh little did I know what was happening to break through my artist’s block. Well, I had never had a gelato and wasn’t really certain what they were, but no matter, we got in her truck and headed out after a little more discussion and review of the stones I had purchased and the stones she had purchased at the Gem and Mineral Show.

On the way, she said that she didn’t think I needed a lesson so much as an evening to relax, talk about goals, art, and life, enjoy a gelato and watch the sunset on the mountains.

I thank those of you who have hung in there to this point, because I finally got to the part about gelato and mountain sunsets!

We enjoyed our respective variations on chocolate gelatos and conversed. A true heart to heart. Sharing our thoughts about our own unique life experiences. Let me tell you, those moments in life are precious and meant to be cherished. I do.

When we finished our gelatos, we headed to one of her favorite mountain viewing areas to watch the sun set. She pointed out that as the sun sets, the light on the mountains shows the variations that you don’t see during normal daylight. It reminded her of metalwork with all the depths and contours. She was right. I never looked at the mountains that way before. We took in all those wonderful colors in the sky as the sun sets too. Inspirational!

She asked why I was ‘blocked’ and the answer that came to me was fear. I was afraid of making a mistake. Gee, that’s how we learn! And believe me, I recognize fear is the worst emotion that can attempt to govern our lives and our decision making process. I KNOW THIS and yet it was holding me back. Calmly, Lexi said, “It’s only metal”. Yes, that’s true and I don’t work in anything expensive like gold or platinum yet. I’m still concerned about the cost of Sterling Silver, but on an individual item basis, it’s only metal and can be recycled into something else when you do make those inevitable mistakes as you are learning or working. It’s ok….you are going to make mistakes. Geez, duh, I know this…time to confront my fear and eliminate it.

Lexi reminded me that her series “Conversations with Harold” came out of a very similar situation; she was enjoying an evening of discussing life, art, and more with her friend and mentor Harold O’Connor. Wow. My response was maybe I’ll have a “Conversations with Lexi” series!!!

So much came out of that evening. We watched the sunset create new lines and outlines of those beautiful Rocky Mountains. I realized, as odd as it was, I needed her permission to venture forth and go beyond what I knew how to do metal work wise. She gave me her permission even though I shouldn’t need it. We’re both over achievers. We both got straight A’s. Neither of us can just do something simple and easy the first time, we have to try to do something more complicated and advanced. We laughed. We discussed our goals. What did success mean? Philosophical topics, dreams, hopes, aspirations, how fortunate both of us are with the wonderful husbands we have. Quite refreshing.

In order to grow in one area, sometimes you need to let go of other areas. I’ve been conflicted with my love of glass and this newfound love of working with metal. I’ve started to come to terms with this. I can’t stop creating things with glass; I enjoy the process too much. Yet, I’m just beginning to understand that art jewelry work is where I am even stronger as an artist….or maybe I should say, where I have my greatest potential. I truly have become consumed with the process. You will still see me posting my glass art as I cannot completely give that up.

She expressed concern that maybe this discussion wasn’t helping me, but I explained that I generally need time to process things like this. She understood because she does the same thing, that is, she needs time to process information about important subjects. I told her that knowing me, my subconscious was taking all of this in and I would probably have my break through in the middle of the night. Typical to wake up at 2 AM with an idea, solution for a problem I’ve been working on, well you get the picture.

We enjoyed the sunset and I headed home. I was drained.

At 4 AM, the flood gate opened and design ideas emerged. I had my break through AND it was faster than I even expected! I think three designs came to me while I was trying to go back to sleep until the alarm went off at 5 AM. The good news is I was able to capture all of those designs on paper. And I’ve been on a roll ever since. Oh what a feeling!

As I reflect on that evening, I think it was more about Soul Searching. You guessed it, my new art jewelry line will be called “Soul Searching”. I have at least 6 designs in that series and I’m running with it.

The next time you hit “the WALL”, remember chocolate gelatos and mountain sunsets. Gelatos are delicious and well, mountains are breathtaking. Find that friend and mentor who will listen and encourage you, while you take in the beauty that surrounds in nature. The point is take in something that is beautiful to you, enjoy something delicious, and just relax. Your internal creative energy will come to life! Trust me, it really will.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I am sharing this in the hopes it will help you to unblock your creativity. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences too.

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

Thank you Lexi.

Revelation
Revelation

This is the first pendant I have completed since the Denver Gem and Mineral Show.  The stone is an Amethyst Agate that was cut by Gary B. Wilson. The image that I see in this beautiful stone is a powerful ray of light descending to the ground as a “Revelation”.  It truly captivated me as I was working on the design.

I carried the ray of light up into the back plate of this setting, using a section of half round sterling silver wire.  I worked with the wire forming it to match the shape coming from the stone.  I added some points of texture to replicate some of the specks within what I viewed as the ‘sky’.  The horizon line was carried to both sides of the setting and I used another texture to extend the ground into the background plate.  One of my goals with this piece was to extend the elements in the stone out to the exterior frame of the metal.

The stone is set in Sterling Silver.  I added a patina to compliment the purple hues in this stone.

RevelationDesign

The Original Design

I thought it would be fun to share how the original design looked on paper.  I knew where I wanted to go with this piece and the design came easily to me.  As I worked on building this piece, I was pleased with how well things took shape and I wanted to compliment the beauty of the stone with my metalwork.

Earlier this week I had an opportunity to show Lexi this new piece.  I was humbled by her kind words.  It’s wonderful to receive the positive reinforcement from your teacher, friend, and mentor.

Gary’s website has been redesigned and I hope you will take a moment to visit.

My compliments to my husband, Dan, for the great photograph he took of this completed piece.  I’m so happy he was able to capture the details.

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

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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