You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2010.

I must confess, my life has been very busy since the beginning of 2010 and I consider that a good thing. I was selected to be one of two artists that will be featured at Boulder Arts & Crafts, in Boulder Colorado during the month of August. This will be a great opportunity to show my latest glass works. It has been a challenging experience and I have created several new series as I worked on completing the pieces for this exhibit.  You can read more about those on my other blog, Refelections of a Glass Artist.

Recently I have been approached to do some graphic design work. This weekend, I completed several designs for postcards and even a poster! I am very pleased to have the chance to do this type of work and I hope as people see these, they will consider me for their design needs.

I was also hired to design a new website for a vacation rental home in La Paz, Mexico. And recently updated a website for an existing client.

All of this has been great and as you can imagine, I’ve been super busy. But I have missed sitting at my bench and working with metal. I did manage to do some metalwork during this busy period, but I couldn’t really focus on it as much as I wanted. Well, today I wrapped up a number of things (I still have a few more on my schedule) and I was able to get back to my bench. Yay!

In October, the Colorado Metalsmithing Association will have their first ever show, Jewelry at the Gardens (the Botanic Gardens in Denver). I will be one of the 28 artists represented that weekend at the show and sale. It’s been important to continue to work on designs, which I have, so I thought it would be fun to share a couple of things in their design and early construction phase.

I think this one will be called Harmony. At the end of May I was working on glass in the studio and needed a break. I looked at some of the new stones I had purchased from Gary B Wilson at the end of April and started to place stones together. This was one of the groupings and they seemed to combine in perfect harmony for me. I’ve started work on the components that will make up this piece and hopefully I’ll have one of Dan’s photos of the finished pendant to share in the near future.

This was a design I came up with last night as I was trying to relax. I want to incorporate some of the reticulated silver into my pieces after the Harold O’Connor workshop. I like the way these look together. The stone is Petrified Palm Wood, another Gary B Wilson purchase. My plan is to cut a circle from the section of the reticulated silver and I may dome it a bit and then place it on a sterling back. I’m not completely sure about this one yet, but I like the initial concept.

So I am back at my bench and looking forward to the results. Hope you enjoyed a couple of the previews.

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


Broom Casting Result

No, broom casting isn’t some witching technique. It actually relates to metal work and recycling our scraps. This top photo is just one of the results from my lesson with Lexi on how to broom cast. This one sort of reminds me of a person draped in a robe and they are waving or raising their hand because they have something important to say.  Who knows, maybe it’s even a ghost.  There goes my imagination again!

I’ve wanted to learn this technique ever since I saw the first piece of it in one of Lexi’s art jewelry works. The day finally arrived this past week and it was time to melt silver scraps!!!  Whoo whooo, what fun to turn scraps into something new to use in our jewelry designs.

The process involves cutting up a straw broom (no synthetic broom bristles here). As you can see from this photo of the broom, it’s a little worse for the wear. I’ll continue to cut up the remaining section for future castings.

The broom after the harvest

The straw section used for the casting.

These are the bristles cut from the broom. They have to soak in water for about an hour or so in order to prevent them from catching on fire when you pour the molten silver over them. These had some particularly nice waves & ripples to them which created some really cool shapes during the casting process.

You have to weigh your sterling silver & silver scraps so you don’t have too much in the pour. It also helps you to determine if you’ve retrieved all of the pieces from the straw after the cast. There’s a little loss, but not much.

Heat ‘er up!

Now we get to ‘play with fire’. Understand I take this very seriously, we are using the torch to heat silver up to its melting point. That’s HOT, really HOT and you have to respect it. The silver scrap is placed in the crucible where it is melted for the pour. The crucible is treated with borax to prevent the metal from sticking to it. I relate it to treating my glass molds with kiln wash so the glass doesn’t stick to it when slumping.  I took these photos while Lexi was showing me how to heat up the crucible, the silver scraps, and do the pour.

The Pour

The molten metal is ready to be poured into the wet straw. The straw is being held in place inside of one tin can, that is inside of another tin can filled with water. There is a fire extinguisher nearby …. just in case. The pour happens very fast and the results are these delightful little silver pieces that I can use in new jewelry designs. Recycling!!!

Mini Rock Formations?

These sort of remind me of some of the rock formations I’ve seen here in Colorado and also over in Utah.

More formations

The pictures don’t do these justice. I just wanted to photograph a few of these to show everyone. The great photos of them will come when Dan takes pictures of some of my finished jewelry pieces where I have used them. They have a good deal of depth, ridges, just really interesting shapes.

I’m sure by now you all know what a great fan I am of Lexi as a teacher. She offers workshops and even private lessons in her home studio. If you ever get a chance, take one of Lexi’s classes. She has a list of just a few of the things she teaches on her website. I hope you will check it out and get in touch with her. I promise you, you will learn more than you could ever hope for and have a great time too. Plus you will meet one of the nicest people I know. I am happy to call her my friend.

Hope you enjoyed this mini view into the world of broom casting. I plan on doing more.

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

Spirit Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Picasso Stones have moved to the top of my favorite list for drop dead, gorgeous stones. There is something classy & elegant about black/brown/white hues for me. Picasso Stones remind me of trees. And my Dad was a landscaper by trade and he taught me about the beauty trees have; respect them, nurture them. They have an innate strength.

I fell in love with these stones the minute I saw them at Gary B. Wilson’s booth this April when he and his wife, Kathy, and one of their daughters returned to Denver. I have a number of Picasso Stone beauties, but these, well, they would be mine.

Lately I have been thinking about my line of Art Jewelry. It is important to me that my jewelry convey an inner strength for its wearer. I don’t make dainty pieces. I like to think they reflect that bold, strong spirit of a woman who knows herself, what she wants from life, and she isn’t afraid to do what it takes to achieve her goals. Perhaps I’m revealing a bit of my inner self here.

These earrings symbolize Strength to me.  The courage to be an individual.  And you know what is great?  My husband loves and appreciates the qualities strong women possess.  How awesome is that?  Because I am one of those strong women.  And my closest friends are women who know themselves.  Fear is something to be conquered and pushed aside.  There’s no place in life for fear because it is the most destructive of emotions.  At least that is what I think and believe.

So I have taken these beautiful stones and done my best to showcase their beauty, their strength.  They are set in Sterling Silver.  I have added a bit of texture to let their tree like lines extend into the surface of the setting.  For the top, I’ve added a touch of 14kt Keum Boo as a compliment to the markings in the stone.  They have become part of my personal collection.

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

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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