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The topic for May’s Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is “Share with us a little window in to your space/life/home.”  Right now, I am in the process of clearing and de-cluttering. When this topic came up for May, I thought how in the world can a share a glimpse into my life as it is in a state of upheaval?  Rather than show any of the ‘before’ photos, I thought I could share the very special bond and relationship I share with our basset hounds. Always there. Always providing a tail wag and more. They truly are the clowns of the dog world and I love our pack.  Their companionship is a constant in my life.  I’m going to let the pictures do the talking for me, with a few subtitles.


Me with our first basset, Bueller.


Puppy Thorin with a sister in the background.


Full grown Thorin.


Me with puppy Bueller.


Snow bassets.


Bueller around 1 year.


Matriarch Nocturne with Newton and Quorra


Younger days, me with Bueller and Nocturne


Play time


Newton’s portrait


A great pack


Today’s pack


Newton and Quorra


Newton and Thorin


The one and only Thorin! 

My love for these wonderful dogs is only surpassed by my love for Dan and for our God.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers shared:

Tosca Teran aka nanopod: :

marie bell ::

Andes Cruz

Pallavi Gandhi

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.

Treescapes – Porcelain Jasper
Photo – Daniel Krucoff

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.

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.


Yes, that’s me. My attire for both days represented what I normally wear in the studio, i.e. clothes that more than likely will have holes because of my pickle solution. The apron was something new, it has my logo and name.  I thought that was a nice touch for marketing my brand.  I will save the apron for special occasions like the Open Studio Tour.  Generally I wear a lab coat or a black apron to help protect my clothing.  Dan asked me to ‘strike the greeting pose’ and as you can see I was ready for the day.  Looking forward to seeing people come visit my studio and see where I work, along with offering some of my finished products.

This year’s tour was even better than last. Thanks to the tour founder, Nancy Bonig, I believe the word spread that the artists participating in the tour really wanted to show people what goes into our process. Metalsmithing requires forethought and attention to detail. If I do something in the fabrication of a piece that is done out of order, well, the piece may be lost.

This year I changed the configuration for my staging area.  I set things up in a “L” shape to allow people to sign up for my mailing list, view a couple of my sketch books along with some inspirational books and magazines I read.  One table had some of my finished product for those who would like to become collectors of my work.

I debuted Treescape earrings during the Open Studio weekend.  I found them to be very popular and by the end of the weekend, a number of these were sold.  Thank you to all who liked them enough to buy a pair.  I am working on more and will share some photos in the near future.

I learned a number of things from last year’s tour.  One thing I found to be important was to let people know, as they walked into our home, that my studio was just down the hallway.

Another thing that I did this year was to have more works in progress.  People really enjoyed seeing everything in stages.  It made things so much easier for me to explain how I fabricate pieces.

Some of the metalsmithing techniques I demonstrated were forging, sawing, hand finishing, piercing, and setting a bezel.  This display showed a few of the materials I use in my work, from sheet metal to some of the cabochon varieties to some of the finishing products like liver of sulphur gel.  I also had another sketch book that showed how a finished piece may not look exactly like the original sketch.  This provided a number of talking points and gave a nice overview of start to finish for a given design.

I met so many interesting people this year.  Their interest in metalsmithing generated some fun and fascinating conversations.  It was a great success for me on many levels.  So many commented about how wonderful it was for the tour artists to open their studios for viewing.  I, for one, hope to be a part of the tour again next year.

A number of people wanted to meet my studio mascots and they happily obliged.  The meeting area for the mascots was our back yard.  With people coming and going, that was a much simpler approach for the dog lovers who came to visit.

My studio mascots, Nocturne, Newton & Quorra.

My soul mate Dan was my main assistant, helper & greeter for the weekend.  On Sunday, another friend and fellow metalsmith, Ginny Maiolo, helped.  My thanks to both of you!

Again, I want to thank everyone who stopped to visit.  An extra special thanks to Nancy Bonig for her tireless efforts to promote the artists, their works and  the tour too.

I just wanted to share a few glimpes of what things where like at my studio.  Let’s see what next year holds in store.

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

Basset Hound Extraordinaire!
All basset photos taken by Daniel Krucoff

I would like to introduce the newest member of our pack and junior studio mascot, Quorra! She is a very special girl and entered our lives on May 24, 2012, thanks to our friend Marilee Epperson.

Let the Games Begin!
Quorra & Newton (left to right)

We met Quorra at the Timberline Basset Specialty the day after our Bueller had passed. I thought it would help ease the pain of his loss to see all those wonderful basset hounds and visit with our friends on Friday, April 13, 2012 (Friday the 13th has always been a lucky day for me).  That day, Marilee said she had two girls who might be a good fit for us. We thought it was too early consider another dog, but we met her briefly that day. There was something about her.

The early part of May, we went over to Marilee’s to have a real visit with Quorra. She warmed up to Dan & I within about 5 minutes. We could tell she was a very sweet and loving girl. We discussed bringing her into our home and made the decision a couple of days later. We knew we would have a long vacation the end of May and that would be the right time to bring her home.

We changed her name from Delilah to Quorra. Why Quorra? Well, Quorra was the name of the last Iso in the movie, Tron Legacy. Since Dan & I are HUGE geeks, it seemed fitting.

Quorra, The last Iso in Tron Legacy

The deciding factor for the name ‘Quorra’ is that it is also Italian for ‘heart’. A bit of a tribute to our Bueller boy.

The Studio Crew
From left to right, Nocturne, Newton & Quorra

I’ve been reading a lot about how when something is right for you, it all comes together quickly and easily. I can tell you Quorra is right for us and everything easily fell into place once we made the decision to bring Quorra into our family. She is intelligent and very inquisitive. She has learned so much so fast in the past 3 plus weeks.  She was accepted by Nocturne & Newton immediately.  The pack has bonded with a new member.   She’s about 1 1/2 years old, so still a bit of an adolescent, which is perfect.

Both Dan & I see glimpses of Bueller’s personality in her, which make us think she has his seal of approval. A delightful girl and one of the most loving dogs we have had. We will forever be in Marilee’s debt for bringing this Basset Hound Extraordinaire into our lives.

Since today is one of those family days, with it being Father’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to share the news of Quorra with all of you. I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting her and I can assure you there will be more stories about our studio mascots in future blog posts.

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

Bueller (Showme’s Crown Imperial ~ “Big Al”)
June 10, 2000 — April 12, 2012

All photographs ~ Daniel Krucoff

What can I tell you about a wonderful basset hound we named Bueller?  He graced our lives with love, gentleness and antics that brought us such joy and laughter.  A constant companion.  He was my shadow and my head studio mascot.  He had his spot where he would sleep in the studio while I worked.  I had to share his story with you because he was as integral to my art work, my life as anyone who influences me.

Long before he was ever conceived, we knew his name.   Dan & I were watching the movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, when Ben Stein uttered the monotone calling of the name….”Bueller, Bueller”.  Dan looked at me and said that’s the name of our first basset hound.

And so, on a summer day in August 2000, we met our basset puppy Bueller.  He was 9 weeks old and the most confident puppy Dan & I have ever known.  He walked on a leash, tail held high and wobbled a bit with a beautiful round puppy belly.  His official AKC name was Showme’s Crown Imperial.  All the puppies in that litter were named after motor homes.  They shortened Bueller’s name to Big Al, until he became our Bueller.

Puppy Bueller and me ~ 2000

His father was Champion Switchstand’s The Meteor and his mom was Showme’s Lucky Lady Diane.  We first saw his mom in the ring as we began the quest for a puppy.  At the time we had no idea we were watching the mother of our future pup.  On the day he was born, we met his dad, Meteor, at a show.  We were informed that the “meteorites” had landed; a sigh of relief from the breeders that the puppies had safely made it into this world.

While Bueller never earned any show titles, he became what Dan & I considered a goodwill ambassador for the breed.  He did have the heart of a champion.

Hiking Puppy Bueller

He grew, sort of went through a bit of a gangly stage, and then he blossomed.  We took him hiking in Garden of the Gods and other places around Colorado Springs.  He was so sure footed.  Always greeted strangers with tail wags while he waited for their attention.  You see, Bueller had this attitude that everyone should love him.  Dan & I believe that everyone who did meet him, did fall in love with him.  We sure did.

“Big Handsome”

Before you knew it, Bueller had developed into one of the most handsome basset boys I have had the pleasure to know.  He always had a regal look to him and as this pictures shows, he was one stoic hound.

Peak a Poo

In typical basset fashion, Bueller had ways to do things to make you laugh and smile.  Peaking out the doggy door.  Coming at full lumbering Bueller speed when “treat” was used to entice him inside from the far reaches of our back yard.  Bueller never ran, he lumbered.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”

He endured my need to dress him as Santa for Christmas card photo shoots.  It’s something every Krucoff basset takes in their stride.  I could sense his embarrassment with these costumes and never asked him or our others to look like this for too long.

Puppy buddies, Bueller & Nocturne

About 7 months after Bueller became a member of our family, Nocturne joined us.  They were only 2 weeks apart in age.  They quickly became buds and were great companions for us and each other.

He always knew the right thing to do for me.

I have always had a special connection with dogs.  The non-verbal communication.  There was a deep connection between the two of  us.  With a look, I just knew what he needed.  I’m fortunate to have that connection with Nocturne and Newton too.

Couch time

He was one big snuggler on the couch.  I don’t know what it was about Bueller, but he could have me asleep within minutes after climbing into my lap!

When Bueller was almost 5, he started to develop a number of medical problems.  First he had a form of cancer that shortened life expectancy to maybe another year or two.  Surgery removed both growths and there was only one reoccurrence.  We thought he beat the odds.  In March of 2006, he was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease.  That disease meant his adrenalin gland no longer functioned, which required steroid shots every 6 weeks and daily doses of Prednisone.  President John F Kennedy had that same disease.  In spite of all of this, Bueller continued to stay strong and beat the odds.  We were blest with a great vet, Dr Kendra Healy, who did so much to maintain Bueller’s quality of life.  She worked so very hard and did so much to help us with Bueller.  She has also become a dear friend of mine too.  Yes, Bueller prevailed over all of these things with that heart of a champion.

We didn’t know how long Bueller would remain with us.  Dan & I felt it would be good to bring another puppy into our home.  Puppy Newton arrived in August of 2006.

Minor tug of war between Newton and Bueller

Bueller was so good around puppies.  He had a lot of patience with Newton.  One time one of my friends, Marilee Epperson, who breeds bassets and helped Bueller become a part of our life, invited us over to see one of her litters.  One of Bueller’s brothers was there because of a dog show.  I brought him over and I could tell the breeders were a little nervous with a big male like Bueller around puppies (6 weeks old).  Bueller was just as kind and gentle with them as he could be.  I was so proud of him.

My Studio Crew! Newton, Bueller & Nocturne (Left to right)

As this year began, more things were happening with Bueller, medically.  Even though the signs were there, we’re never ready when they leave us.  I can tell you Bueller wasn’t in any pain.  He was happy, even playful this week.  He greeted Dan & I with big tail wags every night we came home from work.  Enjoyed his food, those scratches under a perpetually wet basset chin, asking Dan for a bite of cheese, and following me around the house.  All systems normal.

Wednesday night, we had big thunderstorms.  One of Bueller’s favorite things was to come into the house, soaking wet, and expecting us to pet him.  He did that Wednesday night.  He was sort of our weather dog.  If it was snowing, he would come in coated with snow, big tail wags and so very proud of himself, showing us what was happening outside.

When we got up Thursday morning, Bueller was at the foot of our bed, one of his favorite spots to sleep.  I bent down to touch him in order to wake him for his breakfast.  It was then I knew he was gone.  A blessing really that he passed so quietly in his sleep.  The heart of my champion had stopped.  He had beaten all the odds with his various medial problems, but it was his time and he left us quietly in the night.  He was a great friend and companion.  He made our lives so much richer and showed us so much about a very special breed, the Basset Hound.

Bueller and Me ~ August 2006

Bueller, The Basset with a Heart of a Champion

My dear sweet Bueller.  You were a great dog.  I will always love you and when it is my time, I will look for you and those big tails wags to greet me as I cross that rainbow bridge.  Sleep well my Big Handsome.  Until we meet again.

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

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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