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The date has been set:  Sunday, August 30, 2015 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM

The location is Wild Hair Alpacas, located at 5815 Mountain Shadow View, Colorado Springs CO 80908

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And I’m pretty sure the alpacas are ready

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Barb Ziek, co-owner of Wild Hair Alpacas, thought it would be fun to have a fashion show featuring her alpaca fiber garments and my art jewelry creations. When she asked me if I was interested, my immediate response was “Yes!”.

I have met a few of the new babies that joined the herd this summer. Now preparations are underway for this exciting event.

The models will be walking the runway in the alpaca barn. Barb’s husband, Peter, will walk the alpaca that supplied the fiber for the model’s garment as she shows off the outfit. A variety of my art jewelry pieces will be worn as a compliment to the clothing. The following are a few of the pieces that will be worn by the models. I chose some of my big, bold pendants that are true fashion statements in my mind.

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AspiringToGrow

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This is my first fashion show. I consider this to be extra special because of the charming alpacas that will be active participants in the show.

If you live in the area, I hope you can join us.

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

August’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank:  “How do you envision the possibilities for the future?”

My husband and I have been thinking about this with greater focus for the past couple of years. We’ve been doing a lot of research about where we would like to live, because as my husband puts it, “Retirement opens a whole new world of opportunity”. Why not consider relocating?

As I have thought about the future, my future, our future, these are some of my expectations, hopes, wishes, goals and more.

Where ever we choose to live, I want to get up every morning and enjoy some form of exercise. Whether that’s walks with the dogs, workouts in the privacy of our home or refreshing swims. It’s important to me to keep active. It clears my mind, releases those lovely little endorphins and keeps the blood circulating.

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I want to be more involved as an artist. Work in my studio every day. Get together with fellow artists. Be part of the local art community. Continue to find new venues for my work. Being creative is essential to how I want to live.

Location, location, location. Where will we live? We’ve been exploring the NW. Washington state has an appeal for all its beauty, proximity to the ocean, mountains, wildlife, hiking, photographic opportunity and artist community. We love living in Colorado. It has much of the same appeal as Washington state does, yet the winters in Colorado can be more cold with more snow. We are still undecided on this topic and fortunately, we still have plenty of time to make decisions.

It’s my opinion that you have to prepare for the future you want. That doesn’t mean that you need to become obsessed with it in terms of the “I’ll be happy when…” syndrome. It just means that there needs to be some awareness of where you want to be and what you want to do as you make decisions in the present. Those present day decisions will have an affect on your future.

I can say I am looking forward to what the future may hold and trust that it will be good.

Let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to say about their anticipated futures:

Andes Cruz
angelojones
Tosca Teran
Diana Bell

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

TextureChallengeKathleenKrucoff

I am part of a Chasing and Repousse group on Facebook. When I first joined, I did not know this technique, but I had a desire to learn. Last year, that desire was fulfilled when I took a workshop with Il Maestro Fabrizio Acquafresca. One of the things Fabrizio told me was to “keep hammering” and I am.

One of life’s serendipitous moments happened in June when I met Laurie Jane Kern (aka The Adventurous Silversmith) during the Artists Reception at Outnumbered Gallery in Littleton for the First Chasing and Repousse exhibit. Both Laurie and I had pieces in the show. And Fabrizio was back in Colorado for this event. Throughout the course of the evening I had many great conversations.

What does this have to do with The Texture Challenge? Well, Laurie is the founder of the Chasing and Repousse group on Facebook. She picks these challenges that run every 2 – 3 months. During that opening reception, she told me about this upcoming challenge and wanted me to participate. The photo at the top of this post is the result of my work.

Talk about fun. Not only did I make a couple of tools for a specific texture, I also learned so much that I want to incorporate in my future works. The best part of this for me was the continued, almost daily practice, so I could complete the sample in time. Doing this has shown me that if I want to try a new texture, grab a piece of copper and practice that texture before doing it on the actual piece I will create. This small effort can provide great insight into what needs to happen to create a particular texture.

I thought you would enjoy seeing the texture squares next to the references I used to create them. I’m also going to share a bit about the two tools I made as part of a personal challenge. More than one of the artists at the Exhibition stated that creating your own texture tools was one way to have your work truly stand out.

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Sand

This is the one square where I created my own texture tools. I will admit that starting to make these types of tools can be a bit intimidating for me, but that feeling quickly wore off and I am ready to make more! I will discuss my experience with tool making in a future post in my Talkin’ Tools series. I found that the smaller of the two tools was best for this sand texture. When doing this type of texture, there is a lot of repeating the pattern over itself until you achieve the desired result.

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Custom made tools.

Next is one of my favorites, a leaf.

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Leaf

Again there is a lot of repetitious patterning so the end result looks like those cells in an actual leaf.

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Fish Scales

I have fished but never truly studied the patterns in their scales until now. The amount of detail is surprising and something I find quite beautiful.

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Bark

My attraction to trees made a bark texture a perfect choice. It was far more challenging that I could have imagined.

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Sea Shell

There’s a delicate beauty in sea shells. I’ve collected a few and my interest in their patterns grew after our trip to the Oregon coast last fall. I knew I wanted to make a cuff design, incorporating lots of varieties. Now I know how challenging that cuff will be, but I think it will be a stunner.

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Rope

Somewhat in keeping with a nautical theme, I really like the big thick ropes that are tied to anchors.

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Grass Seeds

I happened to find this specimen in our back yard. We seem to have so many pretty grasses where we live. This one caught my eye and I just knew it needed to be included in my samples.

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Tree Rings

I’m fascinated by the growth rings in trees. They tell a story about any given year in the tree’s life. A few years ago we traveled to Yellowstone and one of the 100+ year old trees had to be cut down. The rangers had marked years on the various rings, accompanied with a historical reference. They are little windows into the past.

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Dog Fur

Last but certainly not least is the pattern from our Thorin’s dog fur. He wondered what I was trying to do when I snapped the close up of his fur.

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My handsome model, Thorin

A fun challenge that was a great learning opportunity. Which of these textures is your favorite?

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

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Am I living my dreams?

I saw this question on Facebook the other day with a photo of a powerful, majestic black horse. The point was one day we will no longer be on this plant and our fears will not have mattered….all that would have mattered was how we lived. As I thought about this, many things came to mind.

In reality, yes I truly am fortunate to be living my dreams.

Let’s think about it though. The romanticized version of this would be I spend my days rising at a time of my own choosing or rather when our basset hounds woke me up to be fed. I would love to take a walk every morning, weather permitting. Enjoy coffee and my breakfast. Quality time with my husband, Dan, and the dogs. Meditate. Enjoy a refreshing shower and then ready myself for a day of creativity in the studio.

Sounds great? Yes.

But, the reality of that romanticized version is I would still need to market my work because I need the income. Also, a careful eye would need to be kept on my inventories (both raw materials and finished works). Maintain those healthy relationships with the galleries that carry my work. Develop new relationships in new venues where my work could be made available.

That’s not to say any of this true reality is bad. The point is any blissful notion I may have about ‘living my dreams‘ isn’t the actual reality of the situation. There’s still plenty of work do be done; the mundane tasks (yes, be honest, we each have our personal lists of what we consider mundane) to keep everything going as it should. I could not just sit at my bench for 8 or more likely 12 hours producing work. The work has to be marketed to be sold.  Oh yes and let’s not forget the tasks to maintain our homes….groceries, cleaning, laundry, etc.

So when I read or hear the phrase, “Are you living your dreams?” I think, yes I truly am.  It’s not that fantasized notion of the dream, it is the reality of it.

I have a full time job in the corporate world. That is a job I sought out by returning to school to earn a degree in Computer Science. I enjoy the security and benefits of being employed full time, doing what I love. You see, I do love doing many things. I am a software developer and I find writing code to be an art form in itself. I can be creative during the day and I am well compensated for what I do.

I also love being an artist. Working with my hands, creating things of beauty that other people enjoy enough to purchase. That is truly awesome. Would I love to do that work on a full time basis? Absolutely! Yet as many artists know, living that dream is a bit of a slippery slope. How much discretionary income are people willing to part with in order to buy art? There’s no real answer. It can depend on the economy, their financial situation, the position of the sun, their mood on a given day….well, let’s face it, the response can be as arbitrary as the way the wind blows. I get that because there are times when I can purchase art from someone who’s work I have admired and other times I just cannot.

Yes, I still believe I am living my dreams. Why? Because it is my choice to live my life as I do. I have a wonderful husband, who is my best friend. We share our lives with three adorable basset hounds. We live in a home that we designed and it fits who we are. We live in a beautiful state, Colorado, surrounded by mountains, lush trees and wildlife. My day job provides the financial benefits to allow me to create my artwork, on my terms and my time table, along with living a great life. Bonus! When it is time to retire from the corporate world, I will continue to work on my art and grow my business. That’s the reality. And that is my idea of living the dream.

What I hope you can take away from this is to know that you too may and more than likely are living your dreams. You just may not realize it. Keep things in the proper perspective and have reasonable expectations. It’s easy to be drawn into that fantasy of “living the dream” and maybe feel bad because you don’t think you are. The reality is you may not be that far from living your personal dream life and you probably are. Be grateful for how things are now and work towards how you would like things to be.

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

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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