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Solitary Companion
Treescapes
Photo by: Daniel Krucoff

Interesting title? I like the contradiction of the words. Once again, I see this little isolated tree in a sea of white. Lonely? Perhaps. Yet I have this sense that the little tree can be a companion for the wearer of the piece. Hence, Solitary Companion; another from my Treescapes series.

This beautiful Dendritic Opal came from my shopping finds with Mark Lasater of The Clamshell. Set in sterling silver, with more of the colorful oxidation that has a light coat of Renaissance Wax to help preserve the color.  The piercing in the upper right corner of the piece is my replication of the solitary tree I see in this stone.  I added some texture to represent the ‘leaves’ that those little dendrites form around the tree in the stone too.

I’m having great fun with these new pieces.  While Treescapes was originally inspired by the Dendritic Opals, other stones will be finding their way into this collection.  More to follow…..

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

February’s  topic from our Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is Who has had the greatest influence in your life?

Profound.  I’m pretty sure I have a top 10, probably a top 5 that are the superstars for me.  All are important and I am grateful for their influence.  The ones I mention in the post are in no particular order; each one has touched my life in their own unique way.

Definitely my parents were a huge influence in my life.  How could they not?  My mom raised me to be a strong, independent woman.  Instilling the belief that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do if I put my mind to it and worked hard.  My dad, for never limiting me because I was a girl.  If I wanted to learn about a car engine, he happily described the parts and mechanics.  Both of them ingrained in my personality the importance of a strong work ethic, by their actions and their words.

I have to give kudos to the many teachers who challenged & encouraged me.  One who had the greatest impact was Mr Martin, my 9th grade Algebra teacher.  I still remember the first day of his class.  He told us everyone could be good at math and he expected all of us to raise our hands to answer questions.  It became one of the most exhilarating classes I had that year and led to my love of math.  That was the first year I got straight As.  I think the overachiever in me grew and thrived on the rewards of studying.

There’s been a variety of personalities, that I have never met, but admired.  Kate Hepburn.  Her fierce independence and wonderful sense of style.  I’ve started to read one of her autobiographies and have been fascinated by the public persona she developed and groomed vs. the private soul only intimates knew.  Another is Steve Jobs.  His brilliance and creative spirit have given the world such intelligent devices that make my life so much easier.

Then there is my sister, Lexi Erickson.  She too falls into the category of those great teachers in my life, but there’s more than that, it’s that bond we share.

I couldn’t leave this topic without including my soul mate, Dan.  His influence is great.  A kind gentle spirit with wisdom beyond his years.  He is my rock and keeps me centered.

There you have it.  I couldn’t name just one as the greatest influence in my life.  I guess that just confirms that we are the sum of the parts.  I am a composite of all I have seen, heard and done.  I think that’s wonderful.   I know that I will continue to grow and be influenced by many individuals….awesome.

Let’s see what my fellow blog-o-sphere think tank friends have said on this topic:

pencilfox: http://www.astorynonetheless.blogspot.com
Andes Cruz http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com
Stephanie Nocito Clark http://thethinkingsofacoldweathergirl.blogspot.com/
Renée Dolling http://www.floatinglightsphotography.com/blog
WATTO http://www.wattoonline.com/news

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


Snowy Butte
Treescapes
Photo by: Daniel Krucoff

Another from my Treescapes series, inspired by the imagery in the Dendritic Opal stone. There are a number of interesting butte formations close to us. I actually found one called Chalk Butte that looks a great deal like the formation in this stone.  Yet with all the white, this one just reminded me of how things look after a fresh snow fall, so I call this Snowy Butte.

This stone is another I bought from Mark Lasater of The Clamshell.  The oxidation provided an even more colorful backdrop for the sterling silver setting.  I love the bluish tint in the upper left hand corner; a bit of an extension of the ‘sky’.  I carried the shrubs into the top of the setting with some piercings for the branches and texture.  Continuing to experiment with the look and feel of these, I added a small silver ball to the frame too.

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


The Inspiration
Treescapes
Photo by: Daniel Krucoff

In September 2011, I attended The Gem & Mineral Show in Denver, CO. Lexi & I spend a day together at the show and visit our favorite lapidary artists. I purchased this Dendritic Opal from Mark Lasater of The Clamshell. The minute I saw this stone, I could envision what I would make.  It became The Inspiration for my Treescapes series.

Mark and his wife, Christa, always greet us with warm smiles and enthusiasm. They know Lexi’s favorite stones and mine. This year Mark said, let me show you these little Dendritic Opals. Smaller sizes and each one had these very interesting tree shapes in them. They were gorgeous. I bought a number of them. My first selection was the stone in this setting, because, it had the most prominent and striking tree.

The first in my Treescapes series was Evening Moon, which is an Amethyst Sage that Mark gave me at the end of that shopping spree. Now the series has ‘come to life‘ and I have completed several more with the Dendritic Opals that were the impetus for the series. I will write a brief post on each of them in the coming weeks.

Each piece has an Oriental theme; most are framed with square wire and have piercings of the tree shapes replicated as part of the background in the setting. Each has been set in Sterling silver and oxidized.  Some of my recent Treescapes have a bit more color from the oxidation process. I’ve used a light coating of Renaissance Wax to help preserve the brighter colors created by this oxidation.

I am curious to know your experiences when you have seen something and it immediately generates an idea for your art work?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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


Forest Canyons
Photo Credit: Daniel Krucoff

Now if you had asked me in high school what I thought of science experiments, I would have told you that I didn’t care for them at all.  It just seemed like I had way too many failures in the lab.  Sulphuric acid ate holes in my clothes, dissecting frogs was just unpleasant and I just didn’t enjoy it. Scientific experiments…well, that just wasn’t my thing….then.  However, since then,  I have learned that there is great value in being willing to experiment.  The rewards from experimentation vary, yet I am finding the frustrations I encounter when experimenting with my metalwork can ultimately yield some wonderful results.  As my sister Lex likes to say, “Creativity begets creativity”.

Continuing with the theme of my last post, these earrings represent another experiment of mine with how I attach components. Instead of the typical use of jump rings to join components in a piece, I decided to try twisted wire and a patterned wire to join the top metal component to the stones.  Dan really likes the result with this pair of earrings.  The stones are Cherry Creek Jasper.  Ever since I completed my first setting of a tongue type stone shape in Namaste, I have been fascinated with the ways to create something unique when combining two or more sections of jewelry.  These earrings have sterling silver posts.  I tried a different approach with the oxidation, working on more color.  Another experiment on my part.

One of the prinicples that Lexi has taught me about making jewelry is the importance of movement in a piece.  These have a nice ‘dangle’/movement quality and they are just plain fun to wear.  Light weight, nice movement, along with the interesting ‘shapes’ I see in the stones.  As is my pattern, those shapes reminded me of Forest Canyons, so that is how the name for them was derived.

The process of experimentation can actually be very freeing.  At least that is my experience with it.  I find that I am embracing the process of experimenting.  Sure there are failures, I have come to understand that is expected in this process.  Yet the rewards…aaaaahhhhh, the rewards are so worth the risk of experimenting.  And as Lex likes to remind me, it’s only metal.

So jump in, the waters of experimentation are just fine.  You will enjoy it.  Trust me.  It’s true.

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

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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