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As August draws to a close, I am preparing my studio for all the visitors I hope will come to see me demonstrate metalworking on the weekend of the Front Range Open Studios Tour.

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My studio has undergone a transformation over the past few months; some rearranging and redecorating.  Out with the old, in with the new.  I have made a lot of changes to my studio space to give me more room, better organization and a nice open feeling.  I can finally see the top of my bench, which is inspiring in and of itself!  On the peg board above my bench, you can see an assortment of Fretz Hammers and even the new jeweler’s saw by Sobaone.

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I have new tools and new projects.  Meet my new rolling mill, a Durston….I keep referring to it as a rolling mill on steroids!  Of course there is my trusty Cliff Carroll anvil, along with my Shark Bite hydraulic press.  Plus an assortment of hammers from N C Black & Co.  Yes, I do like my tools.

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Several additions to my tool repertoire are my bench shear by Accucutter and a Craftsman drill press.

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Certainly, no metalsmithing studio is complete without the solder station area.  Safety is a must here.

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For this year’s tour, I am doing something  that I hope will be fun for the visitors, get them involved and wake up their inner creative spirit!  I am providing an opportunity for people to create their own earring designs from an assortment of components I’ve made.  Shown below is just a sampling of a few of the earring components people can choose from.  Prices for the completed earrings will vary depending on what is selected.

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And yes, there is a basset hound in the background, because nothing is done in my studio without basset supervision.  Or as Dan likes to put it, everything is easier with a basset around!

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These are a few examples of the type of earrings someone can design.  I thought this would be a great way for people to awaken their inner artist.  What do you think?

This is my third year on the tour.  It continues to grow and change like a vital, energized living being.  There are so many talented artists on this year’s tour.  I am just delighted and humbled to be be a part of this group again.  Like me, a number of this year’s artists have surprises in store for those visitors to our studios.

Of course, I will be demonstrating various metalsmithing techniques throughout the weekend.  Metal piercings, like I use to create the trees in my Treescape series, texturing, stone setting, soldering and more.  My goal is to walk people through the fabrication process via a pictorial overview, accompanied by a variety demos I will perform.

All of us are very excited about this year’s tour and the potential for people to learn more about our work and our process.

Just in case more enticement was needed to visit my studio, I will be introducing my newest studio mascot, Thorin.

Thor11WeeksCallaway’s Thorin Oakenshield (aka Thor)

Now if a cute, not so little, basset hound puppy won’t get you in the car to come over to my studio, I’m not sure what will!

Click here for the map, with directions, for all the artist studios on the tour…including mine.  And look for the bright yellow directional signs with the tour logo to help you find an artist’s location.

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I welcome you to join me and my fellow artists for these 2 days in September when we open our studios to the public.

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

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Commissioned Pendant for Jerry McClure
Mammouth Bone set in Sterling Silver
with a Dash of Treescapes!
Photo ~ Daniel Krucoff

Friendship. It’s a two way street. Some friends are real friends, others are just acquaintances. This pendant is one of the few commissions I will do, in part, because a true friend, Jerry McClure asked me if I would.

Jerry and I have known each other for a number of years.  He likes to call me ‘kid‘ and that just makes me smile because it is said with affection.  He has been married to his wife, Sandy, for over 40 years and they embody a marriage of trust, friendship and love.  He likes to tell people his just a “Dumb ole Oakie” (he’s from Oklahoma), but I can tell you nothing is further from the truth.  He’s as sharp as they come, has great business savvy, and what’s most important is Jerry LOVES to help other people succeed.  He has helped me and countless others.  I maintain his website, Jerry McClure Knives.  He is one of the most generous people I have had the pleasure to meet and call my friend.

In addition to all of that, Jerry is a very talented knifemaker. He would tell you that his work is “just alright“. I get that. But let me show you a few examples of Jerry’s work which speak for themselves.  Jerry will have these knives with him at the Professional Knifemakers Show in Denver next weekend.

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Clearly, the proof his talent is in the work. Jerry strives to get better with every piece he makes. I so admire that quality in him. And I am blown away when he tells me that he likes my work, because, you see, I strive to reach Jerry’s level of craftsmanship. If I ever do, well, let me tell you, Jerry will still be light years ahead of me.

It’s not a race, it’s not a competition, it’s just two friends who respect each other and admire their respective works. What Jerry does is motivate and give me incentive to be better. So while I don’t do many commissions, due to the constraints on my time, when Jerry asks, I do my best to say “Yes!”. I don’t want to let Jerry down.

Now, here’s some great news if you live in Colorado. Next weekend Jerry will be at the Professional Knifemakers Association Custom Knife Show. Friday through Sunday, August 16 – 18. The show’s location is Crowne Plaza – DIA 15500 E. 40th Ave, Denver Colorado (I-70 at Chambers Rd. Exit 283). Jerry and fellow knife makers/vendors will be in the John Q Hammons Center.  If you click the link above, you can find out more details about the show.   As an added incentive, here is a free admission pass to the show:

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Last year was the first year Dan & I went to this event.  We really enjoyed it and I loved finding new materials to use in my work.  We plan on going again this year.  I’m really looking forward to it.

I hope you can go to the show, if you do, please stop by and say Hi to Jerry…….  oh yes….be sure and tell him Kathleen sent you!

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

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Treescapes – Dendritic Opal
Photo – Daniel Krucoff

It’s been quite a summer so far.  I feel like I have been noticeably absence from writing about my metalwork and I have lots to share.


Day 1 – Black Forest Fire, the view to the south from our back yard.

As some of you know, we were evacuated for 5 days during the Black Forest Fire in June.   I wrote a bit about the experience in my other blog, if you would like to read more about that experience, click here.  Thankfully, we returned to our home which was undamaged.


Our beautiful girl Nocturne, with the red velvet ears.

Shortly after that, our oldest Basset Hound, Nocturne, passed away.  I wrote a tribute to her, with some of the pictures that told a bit of her life story.  You can read the tribute by clicking here.

Those two events felt like a double whammy.  To be quite honest, I had no real desire to return to my studio and work.  It took a while.  Longer than I would have thought.  Yet friends who went through the Waldo Canyon Fire a year ago said what I was feeling was quiet normal.  So, I waited until things settled.  Waiting for the new normal to begin.  Our lives had been turned upside down.  Healing of the spirit needed to occur.  Thankfully, I can tell you that it has.

I didn’t return to my studio until this month.  My first creative stirrings began when I started to clear and declutter my bench.  Prior to the evacuation, I had enjoyed a burst of creativity and the top of my bench was covered with the evidence of that flurry of activity.  Clearing things felt good.

The fire became a motivator to eliminate things that are not used anymore.  I am in the process of selling equipment and supplies related to my fused glass work as I’m no longer working in that medium.  I feel like I need a fresh start; a complete rework and reordering of what is necessary.

Once I returned to the studio, I started to work on completing a number of projects I had started.  Those include items in my current Treescapes and Express Yourself series.  I thought I would share a few of the completed pieces, along with other news.

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Treescapes – Porcelain Jasper
Photo – Daniel Krucoff

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Express Yourself with a Little Touch of Colorado
Photo – Daniel Krucoff

This summer I’ve been participating in Monument’s Art Hop at Santa Fe Trail Jewelry in Monument, CO.  Art Hop in Monument takes place on the third Thursday of the month.  Those have been wonderful experiences for me.  I get to spend time with my friends Marylee Reisig (who owns Santa Fe Trail Jewelry) and Nancy Bonig (Glass Artist extraordinaire!).  These art events have given me a chance to talk with so many people about my work.  I’m very grateful for all of the new connections.

In September, I will be part of the Front Range Open Studios tour again.  It’s the third year for the tour and each year just gets better.  My friend Nancy Bonig does such a terrific job promoting the artists and the tour.  It continues to grow thanks to her efforts.  More details to come….. in the meantime, if you go to the tour facebook page and ‘Like’ them, you will get details on surprises the artists have in store for this year.  This year I plan to do something a bit different on the tour.  In addition to demonstrating some of my metalsmithing techniques, I thought it would be fun to let people pick and choose components for making their own earrings.  I will help them put things together and they get to leave with a pair of earrings of their very own design.  How many of you would find that fun to do?  I often post updates about my progress, new works and ideas on my Facebook fan page, so if you haven’t ‘Liked’ my page, I would encourage you do do so.

And now, I am happy to share the best news I have had throughout this very eventful summer….this beautiful basset puppy with be joining our family after Labor Day.

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Callaway’s Thorin Oakenshield
Thorin, aka Thor

This is Thorin, named after one of our favorite dwarfs in The Hobbit.  We have been told that he has quite the personality.  He’s a character, is the only boy in the litter so he believes he is very special (and I can tell you we already think he is extremely special).  Some fun facts, coincidences about him…..he was born on June 10, the same date that our beloved Bueller was born 13 years ago.  And he has a beautiful red dot on the top of his head, just like our sweet Little Miss Nocturne.  Synchrodestiny (the ebb and flow of the universe coming together)?  I think so.  Dan & I also think he has Bueller and Nocturne’s blessing.  Nothing warms my heart as much as a basset hound…except for Dan of course…… and Thor will soon take up the role as junior studio mascot with my crew of Newton and Quorra.  I can hardly wait to hold this guy and welcome him into our lives.


Quorra (left) and Newton in one of their many playful moments. Wait til they meet Thor!

So it has been quite a summer.  Life’s ups and downs.  The unexpected.  Lessons learned.  Joys and sorrows.  That is what life is all about and I can tell you that Dan & I feel so blessed.  We are grateful and looking forward to what the future holds.

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

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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