You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2011.

Next weekend, I will be joining Nancy Bonig, Richard Pankratz and Margarete Seagraves in a Holiday Market, hosted by Nancy Bonig at her studio in Monument, CO.

Ever the creative, Nancy wanted to open her studio to our customers for a little holiday shopping.  All of us will be offering special discounts, along with Holiday treats and a chance to visit with us about our work.

We think the timing is right, just after Thanksgiving….you’ve had a chance to partake of Black Friday Specials or Cyber Monday online shopping….now you can relax a little and look for a unique gift that can’t be found anywhere else.

My featured items will be the Ginko earrings, an example shown below, from my Arts & Crafts Impressions.

If you are in the area next weekend, we hope you will stop by and visit us.  I think you will find lots of unique items for your Holiday gift giving.

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


Grumbacher Plastic Paint Mixing Tray

A long time ago, in a gallaxy far far away…..wait a minute, wrong tale!

Take two.  A long time ago, I tried my hand at painting. One of the items I hung onto from that artistic adventure was this paint mixing tray by Grumbacher.  As I was decluttering my studio a while ago, I found this and considered donating it so that someone else might be able to put this to use.  However, I did not and it sat in a little box….sort of looking at me.  Then I moved it to the top of my soldering bench, next to my pickle pot.  I still wasn’t sure why I felt the need to keep this aside from some emotional attachment, but I did.

So why am I posting about a Grumbacher paint mixing tray in my Talkin’ Tools segment?  Well, it turns out that it has become a very handy way for me to organize the components for my Ginkgo leaf earrings.  Sure, I could have gone out and bought something else, but this works and puts this tray back into use in my studio.  Saved a little money too!

Ginkgo parts

You see, when I make my Ginkgo leaf earrings, there are a variety of bits and pieces that go into their assembly. I need to keep them organized by earring style so as I start to put the sections together, I have the right part for the right design.  I work on one earring set at a time as I build them.  The dividers keep the sets together and I don’t run the risk of getting them mixed up.

Prior to utilizing this tray, I would have the earring sets scattered around in little piles on a table.  Speaking from the voice of experience, there were times when my sleeve would brush them and they would fall on the floor or get mixed together.  That was FUN, not!  These incidents left me with this time consuming and needless task of putting an interesting jig saw puzzle back together.  Talk about frustrating!

One day, as I was in this frustrated state, here’s this little tray, sort of smiling and winking at me now and I think, ok, I get it.  Put you to use.  I did.

Viola!  Once I started using the tray, the process was simplified. I can keep track of how many are ready by a glance. I’m assured that the right parts for the earring set are together. Once I fire up my torch, I can work on 8 pairs or more if use the small circles in the tray.  Even though I build them one pair at a time, I don’t like to start work on the assembly process until I have a batch.  I find it to be more efficient.

There are several key things I’d like to convey with this post:

  • Organization in the studio (and other areas of life) is very important. It helps simplify what you are doing, alleviates stress and frustration, along with speeding up what you are doing.
  • Be innovative. Look for items you may already have and see if they can be used for another purpose.  It may be a good fit and save you a bit of money.
  • Consider options.  Being open to alternatives that can help you with an immediate solution…it’s good to have options.

Have you found something that you use in your work that is an alternative use from its original purpose?

I hope you find this tip helpful and are motivated to start looking for things that may help you in your work.

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

November’s topic for my pals in the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is “What are you thankful for?

I find this topic timely and one I feel I could write volumes about.  I’ll try to condense it to a Reader’s Digest version that will hopefully be succinct.

Dan & me at The Tetons

One thing I am most thankful for in my life is my husband, Dan.  He helps me in more ways that he may even realize.  His love, encouragement and support, along with being my BFF, well, it just doesn’t get any better than that!  I love you Dan; thank you for being the calming, centering force in my life.

The bassets and me

Our bassets are another aspect of my life for which I am very grateful to have.  They are great companions and their antics are constant sources of humor, every day.  It’s hard to stay glum when one is greeted with happy tail wags and kisses.

I feel I have received more blessings than I can count.  My intellect.  The ability to be creative.  Supportive friends.  My dear sister, Lexi.  My health.  Along with a good sense of humor; I definitely believe in being able to laugh at myself!

This past year as Lexi and I worked our way through a couple of books, The Simple Abundance and The Artist’s Way, I think that helped to provide an even greater awareness of all of the people and things I am truly grateful for.  My heartfelt thanks to all.

Now let’s see what the rest of these Blog-o-Sphere Think Tankers shared!

Andes Cruz:
Stephanie Clark:
Beth Cyr:
Diana Fazio:

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

One of the positive things that came out of me being one of the artists at the Castle Rock Fine Art Festival this September was two members of Commonwheel Artists Co-op stopped at our booth. They liked my mixed metal Ginkgo leaf earrings, bought a pair, and invited me to participate in their Holiday Market that starts today, November 18th and runs through December 31st!

Commonwheel Artists Co-op is located in Manitou Springs, CO and is a group of wonderful, talented artists….some of whom I actually know!  I am very happy to be part of their Holiday Market this year.

I thought it would be fun to share some of my latest Ginkgo leaf earring variations that will be available at Commonwheel for Holiday gifts.  They are part of my Arts & Crafts Impressions series, which originally debuted at the Boettcher Mansion’s Gathering of the Guilds this past May.

As I started to work on these, each one sort of evolved or morphed into another variation….all of which started with one simple little three leaf design.  I am finding it fascinating how an idea will take root and grow during the creative process.

I’ll let Dan’s photos do the rest of the talking in this post.

The Original Ginkgo Earrings ~ My Starting Point

The evolutions begin…..

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

Photography ~ Daniel Krucoff

Several weeks ago, I was approached to create a piece as a gift for someone who had purchased some of my art jewelry. The people who approached me, knew that this person loved what I did and they wanted to give her a special gift for Bosses Day. I was given free reign to create whatever I liked, because they said I knew what she liked. I was delighted and it was so refreshing to just approach a commission with no restrictions.

I knew that my new Tree-Scapes series would be the right direction. The sweet little stone in this pendant is a Chrysoprase that I had purchased from Gary B. Wilson. It seemed to call to me the loudest of any I had for this piece, so I started sketching as you can see from the photo.  I find I keep returning to variations on this shape as I did in Evening Moon….only with Evening Moon, that backdrop was long and slender.

As I am prone to do, I asked Dan his opinion and he was drawn to the more Oriental shape in the upper right of the sketches pictured.  Me too, BUT I was a little concerned with how I would fabricate this piece.  Well, as I proceeded, it just came together.  Again, I see imagery in the stone.  There is a solitary tree with a mountain as a backdrop.  I was going to carry the mountain into the setting too, but as I worked on it that did not seem right.  So a few tree trunks, some leaves and the frame.  All in sterling silver that has been oxidized to emphasize the details in the metalwork and showcase the stone.

I was so happy with this piece that I knew its recipient would be too.  I can report she loves it and has since told me it is one of her favorites.  As an added affirmation, the people who gave this to her have told me that she wears it almost every day.  Wow.

You just never know when creativity will strike!  Trying to force it to happen, really doesn’t work.  Having the freedom to explore definitely helps.  I am so grateful I can solicit a second opinion from Dan when I’m not completely sure where I want to go.  Relax and it will come.

I have more to do with Tree-Scapes and I am looking forward to where the stones will lead me.

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

Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

I have read numerous opinions about artists donating their work. I have done so in the past. As a result, I have formed my own opinion about when I will donate a piece of my work.

When I was approached to donate a piece for an art benefit being held for my friend Tracey Clarke, there was no hesitation. It had been my hope that her friends on the east coast would put something like this together for her and they had. I was happy to contribute in my own way, because I could not be their in person to show my support.

You see, Tracey & I met through an online group, Art Scuttlebutt, a number of years ago. We admired each others work and a friendship developed, which continues to grow.

Earlier this year, I approached Tracey to do a portrait of our Newt. She agreed and that lovely portrait hangs in my studio today.

In August, something happened…Tracey was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a very aggressive form of brain cancer. She had three cluster tumors removed and is undergoing treatment. You can read about her journey here.  Her courage, grace, faith and poise through this battle have added to the many things I admire about her.

This Saturday, November 5th, will be the artist fund raiser to help raise money for her to offset the medical expenses she and her husband are incurring.  My donation of Believer is just one small way I can offer help to a gifted friend.

Believer is one of my acid etched sterling silver pieces.  I love Celtic crosses and felt this one would hold lots of meaning for the person who will eventually wear it.  The liver of sulpher patina came out very colorful and to protect it, I applied a light coating of Renaissance Wax.  Dan said that this piece had a nice look of being from ancient times because of the patina I applied.  I wanted that, something reminiscent of the Crusades.  A symbol of faith.

I must tell you I am very careful when I donate a piece, but this is one where I leapt at the chance to help.  If you live in the Fredericksburg VA area, I hope you can attend this benefit.

There is something very special about the artist community.  I am meeting more wonderful people, willing to help and contribute in so many ways.

Yes, there are times when donating a piece of your work carries a very special, heartfelt meaning.  May Believer bring funds that are needed and joy to its wearer.

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

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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