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Jewelry At The Gardens
October 7 – 9, 2011
Denver Botanic Gardens

Jewelry At The Gardens.  This will be my last BIG show of 2011.  Even though it’s only the second year for this event, it is my favorite.

How many shows and or events do you do?  I have yet to come up with the right number for me.  Yet this year, because of the uncertainty of knowing whether or not I would be juried into the shows I applied for, well, I ended up with a very hectic September and October.

Thankfully, I have been able to reach a conclusion about doing the outdoor fine art festivals.  At this point in my career, they are not a good fit.  I have a full time day job that supports all the habits….food, shelter, clothing and materials used in my work.  Doing the outdoor shows/events, I give up my normal weekend and more.  From a financial perspective, they are not a wise investment of my time.

I’ve just started reading “Mystery of Making It” by Jack White.  It’s a bit early to make a full assessment of Jack’s recommendations for artists, but I must admit that right now I find his insights, on Making It in the world as an artist, to be extremely helpful.  My plan is to try other approaches for marketing my work in 2012, outside of shows.  I think I would like to do one show like Jewelry at the Gardens or the Open Studios Tour, but the outside shows have been physically hard for me.

I don’t think there is any right answer about how to approach marketing ones work.  It is my belief that it just takes time and effort with a variety of trials to see what works for the individual artist.  There isn’t an overnight success, as many have told me, it comes after years of hard work.  Very true.

All of that being said, I am excited to be doing Jewelry At the Gardens again this year.  We have some familiar faces from last year and some new ones.  The venue is fantastic.  Last year’s show was such a success that the show has been extended by one day.  Friday evening’s opening will have live entertainment, a little food, wine and the works of some of the best jewelers in the country….even a few who are known internationally.  I am honored to be among them.

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments….I’d enjoy knowing your approach to marketing your work.

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


The Spirit Beckons
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

On this quiet Sunday morning, I find myself reflecting on the events of the past few weeks.  The shows, talking with supporters of the arts, discussing art with fellow artists, the solicitations to participate in future shows, preparations for Jewelry at the Gardens, quiet time with Dan & the bassets….good stuff.

This morning I finally got back to reading The Simple Abundance and this quote struck me:

Expect your every need to be met, expect the answer to every problem, expect abundance on every level, expect to grow spiritually.” ~ Eileen Caddy

Managing expectations is very important.  I find it keeps life on an even keel.  My preference to to remain calm, centered.  Managing ones expectations contributes to staying focused….at least it does for me.

I thought this new piece from Veracity is a nice compliment to my reflective mood this morning.  I call it The Spirit Beckons because of the spirit figure I see in this stone….as if a long, feathery arm is stretching out, beckoning one to come and follow.  It’s a positive sign.  I also see a shadowy mountain in the background of the landscape within this stone.  The stone, Porcelain Jasper, from Ken Brittain of Rogue Gems.   I discovered Ken’s work this year and I have become a fan.

Continuing to use copper as an accent in my work, as I find copper adds warmth and brings a certain depth to a piece.  In this pendant, I think the copper and sterling combination definitely accentuate the hues in the stone colorations.

Time for me to head back to my bench and get to work.

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

The Beginning of Something Wonderful

The photo at the top of this post are a few of the treasures I purchased last week while at the Denver Gem & Mineral Show.  Some are from Gary B Wilson.  Some are from Mark & Christa Lassater of The Clamshell.  I wish that Ken of Rogue Gems would have been there this year as I would love to meet him…I know his work will be a part of my future works too.

Last week, I spent a day at the Denver Gem & Mineral Show with Lexi.  One of those special times I share with Lexi where our respective creative juices are flowing.  Shouts across the booths to each other, come look at this, here is a stone in your color scheme, what do you think of this?, this one is you, you have to get this one…..  I think you get the idea.  We help each other.  We know what each one likes and as we search, we find things that the other may love to incorporate.  And then there are a few twists and turns, along with the surprises.  It’s a real joy to share the day with Lexi at this show.

I knew what I wanted to shop for this year, more so than ever before.  I did my best to avoid the distractions.  Overall I think I did well.  The top photo shows Porcelain Jasper, Dendritic Opals, Sonoran Sunrise, Ocean Jasper and Variscite.  I have a new series in mind thanks to one of these; I’ll start work on it after the Jewelry at the Gardens show.

I was on the hunt for hearts. I think I raided Gary B’s supply. There were some lovelies and I wanted to go for the smaller ones based on client’s requests. These are a few of the new ones and I already have designs completed for them; some petrified palm wood, picasso stone and mystery stones.  What fun!

This weekend will be spent in the studio, working on the hearts that are part of  the Veracity series, along with some new additions to Mountainesque.  I’m excited, energized to be working with new stones on current series that will be ready for Jewelry at the Gardens.

Isn’t that part of what art is all about?  The thrill of creating new things?  As artists, I think we are always looking for something new & different.  I know I am.

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

My Studio

This past weekend was our inaugural Open Studio Tour. I was very happy to be a part of this first year and I am looking forward to next year, as more artists will join us for the tour.

I thought it would be fun to share some of what the visitors to my studio saw.

The top photo shows my main work areas, along with some of the artwork displayed above my bench.  I have posters from the Jewelry at the Garden shows (past and upcoming), along with a signed poster from this year’s Colorado Metalsmith Conference presenters.  As you can see my bench is just a short distance from my soldering station.  Good lighting is a must for me.

Displays with Completed Works

As people entered our home, I had displays set up with some of my completed pieces. I had an email sign up sheet, along with some metalsmithing books and one of my sketch books. This allowed people to get a feel for some of my work and if they were so inclined, they could purchase a piece and become a collector!  I could tell people really enjoyed leafing through the sketch book and I had one completed piece next to the original sketch.

My Bench

The real heart of the studio is my bench. I had several works in progress and was able to demonstrate how I would cut out designs with my saw.  Oh yes, and look at those wonderful hammers on my peg board.  Nice!  Even if I do say so myself.

My Soldering Station

I was more than willing to demonstrate soldering, but it seemed like everyone one had a fairly healthy respect for the torch. I hope that next year I will be able to fire up my torch and show everyone what it does.  I am the only one in the world with this purple soldering station and lazy susan that holds my fire brick.  If you want a soldering station (offered in neutral tan), contact Lexi through her website….safety in a metalsmith’s studio is worth it and a definite must!

More tools

The rolling mill,  in the lower left hand corner of this photo, drew lots of attention. I had a few things set up to show how I texture with both the rolling mill and the use of my anvil with hammers.  The dapping blocks garnered a few oohs and aahs too. There are so many aspects to metalsmithing that I couldn’t demonstrate everything, yet I feel like a was able to provide some insights about what goes into creating my works.  A few more sketch books to view, along with some of the recently acquired stones from the Denver Gem & Mineral Show.

Inspiration Wall

My collection from some of my favorite artists. Every time I’m in the studio I look at these works. I find it both comforting and inspirational. Here you can see the works of Don Michael Jr, Tracey Clarke, Karen Phipps, Deborah Younglao, my very own Daniel Krucoff, Shiela Tajima-Shadle, and Linda Steider….friends and fellow artists.

Considering where we live, I feel like we had good attendance for both days of the tour.  I cannot say enough good things about Nancy Bonig, who is not only a gifted and talented glass artist, but one of the hardest working, driving forces I have ever met.  Without Nancy’s efforts, this tour would never have gotten off the ground.  I am so thankful to call Nancy a very dear friend.  I can only imagine where the tour goes from here.

Dan was, as Nancy likes to say, my handsome assistant for both days.  I am so very appreciative of his help this past weekend; could not have done this without him.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my studio and maybe next year, those of you who live close to us will have a chance to visit me and the other artists participating in the tour.  Bring your friends and family as it’s a great opportunity to discuss art with the artists.

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

Pikes Peak ~ Photo by Daniel Krucoff

For this month, our Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank question is:

 “What is the favorite thing about where you are located?”

Easy.  My answer is the mountains!  I can see Pikes Peak almost every day, depending on the weather.  Just this past week, it received its first coating of snow as fall starts and I always find it breathtaking.  It is a constantly changing landscape, depending on the lighting.  Ever since I caught my first glimpse of a mountain, I knew I needed to live close to them.  I am very thankful that I do.

Another view of Pikes Peak ~ Photo by Kathleen Krucoff

Please visit my fellow bloggers in the think tank to see their responses to the question:

Andes Cruz:
Mary Watson / WATTO
Wendy Kelly
Thomasin Durgin
Andrea Bell:
Stephanie Nocito Clark
Barbara Donovan

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

If you live close to Monument and the surrounding areas, this is the weekend for the Front Range Open Studios. It is our inaugural year and Nancy Bonig has worked so very hard for all of the participating artists.

You can find a map online showing where all of the studios are on the tour.  We have such talent in this tour.  I know each of us is looking forward to sharing our process with people to help develop a better understanding of what it takes to create our respective works.

Here is a complete listing of all of the participating artists in this year’s tour.

I wish I could visit the studios of my fellow artists as I think we have an incredible group.  However, I will be busy demonstrating how I work with metal and sharing insights about my creative process.  This is one of those great opportunities to learn about art, talk with the actual artists, see our works in progress and those that are completed.  I hope you will join us!

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

Saturday Morning In Castle Rock

It was right before the show opened and Lexi took this picture of me with her iPhone.  Not bad!  Thanks Lex.

The weather was perfect.  This was my first BIG fine art show, outside, where the elements could be anything from freezing cold to furnace hot.  This weekend, the Colorado weather was on its best behavior.

The first day, the crowds were relatively light.  There was an Air Force Academy game that may have played a factor in the attendance.  Sunday, the crowds were better and the people were more engaged in looking at the artists work, talking with us, and enjoying the Art Festival.  Ribbons were awarded to artists in various categories.  Two of our friends won best in their divisions, Julie Jerman-Melka for Jewelry and an oil painter, Stephen Koury.  Lexi and I could not be happier for them….well deserved.  I hope you will take a moment to visit their respective websites to see their works….you will see why they won in their categories.

This was not the best selling show I have had, yet regardless of that, I came away from the show with so much more than monetary rewards.  I was invited to participate in the Holiday Market run by Commonwheel Artists Co-op in Manitou Springs!  It is a 6 week event that runs from November 18 – December 31, 2011.  I was flattered and accepted the invitation.  My Arts & Crafts Impressions series caught their eye so there will be more of those wonderful gingko inspired jewelry pieces in the works.

The experience of doing this type of show was invaluable for me.  More importantly was the sisterhood that I shared with three very special artists during the show.  My sister, Lexi Erickson, of course!  Lexi will forever be my mentor; when I need someone to lean on (besides my soul mate Dan) Lexi is there.  I am so blessed to have her in my life.  Then there is Mary Sharp-Davis, a woman that has so much wisdom and gentleness….everyone should meet and learn from a gentle soul like Mary.  And then Julie Jerman-Melka….another woman who mentors, guides and nurtures.   Through Lex, I have met and gotten to know Mary & Julie.  A wonderful circle of creatives.  One cannot ask for anything more, nor feel more blest.

I am thankful and grateful for the experience and the wisdom imparted by this gifted women of the sisterhood.

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

Etched Sterling Cuff Bracelet
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Well, it’s almost here. Castle Rock Artfest. This Saturday and Sunday. Our weather is supposed to be nice and I’m ready. The car is packed with my displays. We set up today and bring our works on Saturday morning to complete our booth.

I worked on several new series for this show.  Over the past few months as I’ve been preparing for my fall schedule of events, I have had lots of thoughts on art.  I’ve had a chance to interact with many of my metalsmithing friends and colleagues.  I have this feeling that I’ve just started to scratch the surface of what I want to do and who I want to be as an artist.  It’s exciting and I’m looking forward to the roller coaster ride that is coming.

Why do we create?  What drives us?  I have loved working with my hands all my life.  I’ve mentioned that I was never one to color inside the lines and to a certain degree, I’m still that way.  I’ve read many blog posts about why artist make their art.  I’m left with the impression that those who truly love to create, love to make art in their medium, well….it is a passion.  A zest for life, creating something that is an expression of who they are, what they feel, and an extension of themselves.  I feel that passion in creating.  I get that passion as I work.  I need that passion in my life because it makes me feel alive, complete, whole.

I thought I would share a few of those new pieces that will debut at Castle Rock this weekend.  I hope they speak to their new collectors and will find their homes.  I hope they convey the passion that I feel about metalworking.

The Storm
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

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

Can you believe it’s September?  Next weekend is the Castle Rock Art Festival in downtown Castle Rock, Colorado. This will be my first big fine art festival. Lexi generously offered to share her booth with me if we both got juried into the show. Well, Lexi has done the show for the past two years and I had no doubt she would be juried back into the show this year.  She was. Lexi’s first year in the show she won Best Fine Crafts. I was less than confident about being accepted into the Artfest, but I submitted photos of my latest works, the Mouontainesque Series, and ponied up…holding my breath….  To my delight and surprise, I received the acceptance notice back in May. There was that feeling of euphoria knowing that my work made it into this show and to be able to do this show with Lexi will be a real joy.

There are lots of wonderful artists doing this show.  To see the complete list, check the Artfest site here.  Lexi & I will be in booth number 152.  I will finally meet one of Lexi’s dear friends, Mary Sharp-Davis, whose booth will be next to ours.  I have seen Mary’s work and it is just stunning.  Her work encompasses ceramics and jewelry.  I can’t wait.

Then there’s our friend Julie Jerman-Melka, another gifted and talented metalsmith, with her beautiful river stone and raw diamond pieces.  You can find Julie at booth #98.

Lexi will have more of her delightful Shamans inspired by her work as an archeologist.  I gotta tell you, these guys truly define art jewelry in my mind.

I have two more new series that I will be debuting at this show.  Veracity and another that I have called Elements.  The show runs from 9 AM – 6 PM on Saturday the 10th, and on Sunday the 11th, the hours are from 9 AM – 5 PM.

One of the many things I enjoy about this show, having been an attendee in previous years, is how well-organized it is.  There’s plenty of parking at the Douglas County Fairgrounds and the city runs complimentary bus shuttles to the event location on a fairly regular basis.  Admission is only $5.  There’s something for everyone.

One of the biggest ‘hazards‘ that I find at a show of this caliber is I’m going to be so tempted to buy from a number of the talented artists that will be there.  🙂

Let’s hope that our Colorado weather will be wonderful rather than filled with surprises.  If you live in the area, I hope you will stop by.

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

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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