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Winter’s Stillness
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

Dendritic Opal. I have been drawn to these stones ever since my first gem show.  I brought home a few at that time and since then, they continue to call to me.  As you have seen, I have used them more and more in my latest works.  Of course, they have been the inspiration for my Treescape series.  The beauty and stark contrast of black and white has always appealed to me.

The delicate scene in this stone reminds me of an early winter morning.  The landscape has a fresh covering of snow.  A few birds are flying over this tranquil valley.  Some trees and bushes emerge as guardians for this serene setting.  Such a peaceful, calm winter morning.  I can imagine myself hiking through the snow, taking in the sights and sounds.  Everything is hushed, just the crunching of the snow underneath my boots and the melodies of a few song birds who have ventured out.  Refreshing ones’ spirit, mind and soul.

Winter’s Stillness is one of my latest Treescape works.  The colorful oxidation for the sterling silver setting is the result of a few attempts.  You know, it’s ok if you don’t like your first result, keep working with it until you get it right.  For this setting, I wanted something rich and colorful to provide a backdrop that would allow this stone to ‘pop’ when you see it.  There are some fiery rust elements with striking steal blue and purple accents.   I’ve preserved the finish with a light lacquer coating.

May you find the peace and serenity of this quiet winter morning in your life.

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


Dinosaur Bone Set in Sterling
All Photos by Daniel Krucoff

This past August, while I was doing Artfest at Santa Fe Trail Jewelry, the owner, Marylee, asked me if I would create some Treescape pieces for her, using stones she had.  I was flattered that she liked Treescapes so well to have me do the pattern with her dinosaur bones.

I had never envisioned dinosaur bones with my Treescape themes, but I thought why not?  I have already started using stones that don’t necessarily have ‘trees’ in them.   So as I worked on designs, I found Treescapes to be a nice compliment.  Several weeks later, I had designs for each stone and took them to Marylee for approval.  Initially, I wasn’t as happy with the first design I had for the piece pictured at the top.  Knowing Marylee’s artistic talents, I thought this was a case where the two of us needed to work together to achieve the look she wanted.

As a result, Marylee and I collaborated a bit on the piece pictured at the top.  She wanted the bail to be large and set as it is here so she could create a beadwork necklace for it.  As we talked about the piece, the image of one of the bails Lexi had created for one of her step by steps in Lapidary Journal came to mind.  This one is slightly different than the one Lexi made, but the underlying inspiration for the bail came from something Lexi created.  Marylee wanted three trees across the top and a shorter wire frame at the top.  These trees look like they are dancing to me.  I told her I could see part of the setting being flush against the stone, which you can see at the bottom of this finished piece.  I’m very happy with the end result and I’m happy to report Marylee was too.

This particular one has more of a sage and rust color to it.  It was an unusual shape, but keeping with my Treescape designs, it took on a nice Oriental feel.  Marylee liked this one the best of the three.  She love the oxidation I created on the metal to compliment the colors of this stone.  I used a matte lacquer to preserve the colorful patina.

Last, but certainly not least, another brilliant red dino bone in the shield shape I love.  This was the first time I had a three sided backplate.  The bottom point, where the wires crossed to form the frame caused me to hold my breath for a bit.  Happily, it all came together and I love this look.

Each one had their challenges in the fabrication process.  In part, I think, because I wanted them to be just right for Marylee.  I delivered them to her yesterday.  For me, I don’t think there is a greater joy as an artist than to see someone’s face light up with happiness and appreciation of the work.

We’ve also firmed up a date for my first trunk show at her gallery.  Save the date, Saturday, November 24th from 10 AM – 3 PM.  More details to come.  I plan on debuting some new works just in time for your holiday shopping.

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

Spring’s Blush
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

I suppose it seems a bit odd to write about one of my newest Treescape pieces with a title of Spring’s Blush, on this lovely fall afternoon in October.  Yet, the green of this stone is so fresh and delicate, it reminded me of spring.

After the Front Range Open Studios Tour, I had quite a few works in progress.  This was one of them.  Over the past number of weeks, I’ve been working to finish all of those progression pieces that I used for my demos during the tour.  I think I still have another 4 or 5 to complete.

The stone is American Variscite, cut by Ken Brittain of Rogue Gems.  I set this in Sterling Silver, which I have oxidized with Liver of Sulphur.  I find it fascinating that I can play with the oxidation process to achieve colors that compliment the stones I use.  I’ve also used a bit of Guilder’s Paste to accentuate the piercing that forms the tree.  I’ve sealed this with a matte lacquer to preserve the finish.

I decided not to frame the setting as I have in some of the Treescapes.  I just wanted to keep things very simple for this particular piece.

On this beautiful fall afternoon, as our aspens have started to turn rusty gold, I truly am enjoying one of my favorite seasons.  Yet I am reminded of the renewal that comes in the springtime.

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

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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