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Yesterday I had the great honor and privilege of taking a Workshop from one of the living legends and superstars of the Art Jewelry world, Harold O’Connor.  I am still blown away.  I suspect that what I experienced yesterday will have a powerful influence on me and my work for years to come.  It’s not very often that one has the good fortune of being able to take a workshop from someone with the incredible artistic talents like Harold, who is known internationally and classically trained as an art jeweler.  Remember the importance of investing in yourself!  This was an incredibly valuable learning experience for me.  I don’t really think I could put a price tag on it.

The top photograph shows two of the pieces I did yesterday.  I’ll share a few more of my pieces in this post.  In this workshop, Harold showed us his technique for reticulating silver.  It involves a process of bringing the fine silver up to the metal’s surface and in the final stage, you apply heat to create these patterns.  The metal starts to fold on itself.  Sometimes you get peaks, other times valleys and sometimes a real surprise!  What I found captivating was the metal starts to take a shape and then you can coax it with the flame to try and guide it in the pattern and shapes you want to generate outward from the initial formation.  If you’d like a more technical explanation of what reticulation is, follow this link to Ganoksin’s site.  Of course, as with all things, practice …  practice …. practice.

Harold is a master at this.  Of course, he is a master jeweler and craftsman.  He makes guiding metal with heat to take form and shape look easy.  My first attempts were not so good, but the later pieces really turned out nice.  As Lexi would say the true mark of a master teacher is to make the process look effortless.  Harold did that.  Now he’s inspired me and created a hunger to do this technique well. The class was able to witness his talents in motion.  He would take a piece of metal, begin heating it and shapes would begin to form.  One of his started to look like a moon crater to me.  Once the shape started, he just worked it to create the direction he saw the metal was going to move.  It was like watching Michelangelo create the Sistine Chapel only with metal!  I was blown away.

The workshop took place at Coyote Creek Studio Arts in Fairplay, Colorado.  My good friend and mentor, Lexi Erickson, was able to put this together.  Thank you Lexi!!!!  Harold is her dear friend and mentor.  It was a true joy to watch the two of them interact.

A few more of mine.  In this picture, the one on the left really started to form a great peak.

This started out as a flat piece and then I used some tools to create even more of a 3-D effect.  I find this soooooo cool.

Right now I have no idea what I will make with these.  I do know they will be going into my new works.  Some I may just frame in some fashion and let them speak for themselves.  Others I may use sections of and incorporate as an accent in a piece.  It’s exciting.  I’m looking forward to adding more reticulation into my work.

For all you metalsmiths, if you ever have a chance to take a Harold O’Connor workshop, seize that opportunity!  Trust me, you will never regret it.  He is a giving teacher.  Very willing to share what he knows.  As an added bonus, he shared a bit about granulation….oh yes, I plan on adding that technique to my skill set too.  Harold uses granulation quite a bit in his work, I would encourage you to visit his website to see excellent examples of this in his gallery.

I’m still riding on that learning high.  Anxious to get to work, practice what I learned.  Phenomenal stuff!  Again, thank you Harold and thank you Lexi.

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


Neytiri’s Bow
Tribute to Pandora Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Ok, most of you know I love the movie Avatar. Now I have my personal copy and I can visit Pandora anytime I want. Works for me.

These earrings are in my Tribute to Pandora Series and they represent the delicate curve of Neytiri’s Bow, hence the name.

I used reticulated silver for the tear shaped elements and sterling silver for the representation of the bow.  A couple of beads were added, including a little iridized bead in a purple shade, for accents. These are in my personal collection and I enjoy the movement when I wear them. They are very light weight and I find them to be quiet graceful.

Here’s wishing everyone safe travels this coming weekend….for those of you in the states, enjoy your holiday weekend.

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

The Journey Begins
Soul Searching Series
Photo credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

At one point, I thought my Soul Searching Series was drawing to an end….yet as I continue to develop new art jewelry designs, I find that there will always be pieces that belong in that series. These earrings definitely belong. Another beautiful Jasper set from Gary B Wilson. I’m convinced that Jasper stones will remain at the top of my favorite stones list. As with so many jaspers, I can see a scene…as if it is somewhere I’ve been or would like to visit. This one reminds me of embarking on a new path, a new direction if you will. So I give you The Journey Begins.

These are the largest earrings I have made to date.  The nice thing is that they are not that heavy, although I did use sterling silver posts, rather than french hooks, to provide additional support when these are worn.  The stones are set in sterling silver and I have textured the settings.  24kt Keum Boo accents were added to the top portion as complimentary accents to the images in the stones.

Why call these The Journey Begins?  Don’t you look forward to the excitement of a new adventure? What awaits as we travel the path? Change is a natural part of life, as is growth I believe. Without those elements, doesn’t life become a bit boring? I embrace change. I look forward to it.  Currently I feel like I am embarking on a new life journey, artistically that is, and so The Journey Begins for me.  What wonders will happen along the way? May they be joyous.

Care to share your thoughts and experiences about your life journeys?  Please feel free to do so, I’d enjoy hearing what you have encountered.

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

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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