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I’ve been reading John Ortberg’s book “The Life You’ve Always Wanted”. Many things in this book have resonated with me. Most recently the chapter, A Life of Endurance, as he discusses perseverance.

“Any truly meaningful human accomplishment will require perseverance”

Isn’t this the simplest, most concise statement that conveys such a powerful message?

I started my journey in metalsmithing as a mature adult, not someone in their teens who went off to get a degree in fine arts or other related metal work curricula. Yet, my passion with this art form, to quote Steve Martin, is “To become so good they can’t ignore you”. Perseverance is one of the key elements in making that happen.

For the past month, I have had obligations requiring that I spend time away from my studio. Now it is time that I can return and I truly thirst for the positive energy I find in my creative space. I have so many new ideas, preparations for upcoming events and demands for new work at locations where I am represented. I find joy in all of that.

Here’s a sample of some of the things I’m currently doing.

Treescape earrings – progression shots

Designs for a new series…Celestial 

More Treescapes in fabrication

Flush set emerald – Treescape pendant

The driving force for me is perseverance to become better each day at this craft that I love. It requires practice, determination and desire. As I return to the bench, this is my focus.

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

 

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Every day is a new beginning, a fresh start, a chance for growth and unexpected opportunities. I want to encourage you to embrace each day with all the possibilities it holds for you. Please don’t limit yourself to the mindset that at the start of a new year, you have the chance to effect change in your life because you can take positive steps every single day!

I want to share something I recently read from Dr Wayne Dyer’s A New Way of Thinking, a New Way of Being.

Waste no opportunities. This is called following the light.

Several years ago when I was just starting my journey as a metalsmith, I attended one of the Colorado Metalsmith’s conferences. I wasn’t completely sure why I should attend the conference, but it was an opportunity for me to hear some prominent artists. One of the conference speakers was an extremely gifted metalsmith, Judith Kaufman. I was in awe of her work, her talent and her process. I still am.

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Judith shared how she got started. She was only 13 or 14, and she recalled how she used to sit at the bench and just play with putting components together. I was in awe. How could she do that and come up with such gorgeous creations? At that time, I was still dutifully sketching my designs, too afraid to try anything without a design. Hindsight is 20/20 and now I realized I was frozen by my own fear.

I listened, took some photos of her speaking and others of the slides she used in her presentation. She shared the quote by Isamu Noguchi in the picture above. It puzzled me. Again, I had self-imposed constraints on my art and was limiting my potential to create what was really in my soul. Now I get it. It takes time. Some grow faster than others. That’s ok, remember….a new day, another opportunity for growth!

So 2017 has arrived. Toward the last week of 2016, I was sitting at my bench, playing with components I had made. I was putting pieces together without designs in mind; check out the photo of my bench block at the top of this post. Initially, I wasn’t really aware of what I was doing. All of a sudden it hit me. How freeing and exhilarating. And then I remembered this is what Judith did and continues to do. Ok, that’s brilliant. Oh yes, and so much fun to play during the act of creating something beautiful….child-like in some ways.

I believe I’m following the light. It’s such a rush. Just let the creativity flow. That’s why it’s so important to just spend 5 minutes a day in your studio. Those 5 minutes can turn into something truly magical in what you are called to create.

Yes it’s a new year. Remember this, every day you wake, you are given a new opportunity to bring about positive change in your life. Please don’t limit yourself. Let go of that fear. Follow the light. Live!

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

There are so many amazing people in this world, I just had to share.

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Dear Dolly,

10040291_300x300I’ll be honest. I used to think you were a bimbo. I used to think you flaunted your big boobs, teased hair, tiny waist, and your syrupy-sweet southern accent just to sell yourself and your brand as a country singer. Granted, I was raised in the Midwest and lived as an adult for many years in the Northeast. I didn’t get you, much less the South.

For example, I’d heard about your origins as a poor girl from the hills of East Tennessee, and when I learned you’d created a theme park in your native Sevier County I rolled my eyes. “Really, a theme park?” I thought. “As if rollercoasters will really help the people of rural Appalachia. Why not create something truly useful to give back to your community, like a library.”

Oh.

You have created a library, actually, and possibly in a bigger and more…

View original post 709 more words

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I have been spending time reflecting. I took a break from working at my bench for some much needed rest, relaxation and recharging of my artistic batteries. The break lasted longer than I expected, yet I believe that is exactly what I needed to become a better artist. My husband and I vacationed out on the Oregon coast. We enjoyed some fall hikes, walking along the shores of the Pacific Ocean and soaking in the beauty of nature. New inspirations were just a few of the benefits.

After that kind of hiatus from the bench, it felt both good and a little strange. Working with my hands is extremely satisfying and initially I did feel a bit rusty. I think it’s safe to say I am back and fully operational now.

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Sometimes I find inspiration from movies. Here is an example. Any thoughts on which movie inspired this piece?

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Quoting the infamous episodes from Friends with my own spin, “I was on a break…. a much needed break”. Given this experience, I broke some of my own rules of spending at least 5 minutes a day in the studio. That does give me some pause and contradiction, yet I know me and this break was something I truly needed to recharge my creative batteries.

All that being said, I would encourage my fellow artists to do the same. Don’t fight the need for breaks from the work cycle or even worse, feel guilty about it. There are times when the best thing we can do for our creative process is rest and relax.

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

 

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September signals fall. Accompanying that is the Front Range Open Studios tour of which I have been one of the participating artists since its inception just 6 short years ago.

The tour has grown, just as the artists have. My work has changed dramatically since I first joined the tour thanks to the encouragement I have received from others and my personal commitment to being a better artist. I have created new works especially for this coming weekend.

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This weekend, people who live in the Tri-Lakes area of Colorado, have a wonderful opportunity to visit working artists studios like mine. All of the artists on this tour enjoy discussing their creative process. Here is the map to all of our studios.

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One of the unique things about this tour is our desire to educate the public about how we create our art. Sure we have work available for purchase if it calls to you. However, our focus is showing people our process, our love of the craft and our inspirations.

In my case, I have a fairly extensive arsenal of tools. They help me fabricate my art jewelry. The photo below shows just a sample of the tools I use in my work.

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This year, people who visit my studio will see the process that transforms a flat piece of metal into a tiny Treescape earring. Those steps, a minimum of 22 for each work, demonstrate how committed I am as an artist to bring my interpretation of beauty into the world. I once had a gentlemen tell me that I “had too much time on my hands” because of what I did to make these. Sadly, he missed the point. As an artist, I am driven (just like my colleagues) to do what it takes to make art. It is our passion. As essential to our life as eating, breathing and sleeping.

If you live in the area, I invite and encourage you to visit our studios this weekend, 9/10-11 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day. I believe you will find the only real thing that differentiates us from each other is our respective mediums.

I work in metal. I am a Chasing & Repoussé artist. I create art.

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We hope to inspire young and old alike. Embrace your inner artist and join us.

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

 

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Ginkgo Cuff in Shakudo.

I imagine most of you remember or are familiar with the Jerry Seinfeld show. There are many memorable episodes for me. The one when George struggles to come up with a decent comeback to a co-worker during a meeting has stuck with me. He thinks he finally has the perfect response and here’s his ‘moment‘. Never worked out as well as he envisioned, did it?

Ever since that episode, I classify some of my “That’s what I should have said!” moments of enlightenment as my personal George Constanza percolations. They generally occur about 24 – 72 hours after something has happened where I didn’t feel I had the best response. Some I could never say, some I tuck away for future reference and chalk it up to a good learning experience.

My most recent George Constanza moment happened as I woke up this morning. It was the result of an interaction during this past Thursday’s Art Hop. I’m sharing this not only because I find it a bit amusing, but also because I think and hope it will be helpful to my fellow artists and to those who purchase our work.

The ginkgo cuff at the top of this post is one of my recent works. I created for the Botanical Expressions Exhibit this past May.  I brought it to Art Hop with a number of my Chasing & Repoussé works. Around 7:30 PM, several women entered the shop and were looking over my work. One stopped at this cuff, picked it up and turned it over to check the price…..$650. She raised her eyebrows and said, “Well, that’s pricey!“. I expected that response given her behavior. I suspect she had been enjoying the wine provided by the other merchants as is customary during Art Hop. No matter, I replied, “Yes it is considering it is a very labor intensive work.” She acknowledged my response with “I’m sure it is“, put the cuff back and moved on.

Fortunately, I had read some recent articles about how to respond to these types of comments, but I still felt I fell short of explaining the basis for the price.

This morning it came to me. My George Constanza moment. What I should have said was:

“Actually the piece is quite reasonably priced considering the investment I have made in workshops to learn this technique, the tools I have purchase to execute it and the hours I have practiced. It is made from a Japanese alloy called Shakudo which is comprised of gold and copper. So in fact, this cuff reflects my personal investment and is very reasonably priced.”

Note to self this is the right response.

It’s up to us, as artists, to explain the ‘why’ in how our works are priced if people ask or complain. We should never feel ashamed or contrite for how our work is priced. My forms of personal adornment are labors of love and have a part of my heart and soul in each piece. It is hand crafted, not produced in a factory.

One of the principles for the Front Range Open Studios tour is to educate the public so they understand why art costs what it does. I am one of the tour artists and each of us opens our private workspaces to the public once a year to help them understand our investment in our art. It gives us the opportunity to explain and demonstrate what happens when we are in the studio creating. Every time we interact with a possible collector, we have the chance to educate them about our process. Yes, sometimes that is difficult with the atmosphere that can occur during certain events such as Art Hop, but it is not impossible. We have a responsibility to ourselves and the public to enlighten them about what goes into our art.

I am so grateful for all those who have purchased my works and become collectors. They understand. They get it. As artists, we need to develop future collectors of our works by helping them to get a better feel for the process.

Yes, this reasonable priced cuff is still available. If it calls you to and you wish to become a collector, contact me at info@kathleenkrucoff.com

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

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June’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think tank is:  “If you could learn anything, what would it be?

It just so happens that I finished my second workshop with Il Maestro Fabrizio Acquafresca this past week.  I wanted to refine my skills in Chasing & Repoussé.

The week has been filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows as I struggled to grasp the concepts to create movement in metal. Even though I have diligently been practicing, I just was not seeing any improvement. I desperately want to become one of the best and master Chasing & Repoussé.

I know this will be a life long journey and I am willing to commit to it. Even though I began to learn the technique two years ago this month, deep down I knew I was stuck in my development. With this piece, I now know my work will begin to grow again. It just takes time and LOTS of practice, coupled with the guidance and instruction of a master of the craft. It has been said that Fabrizio is the best instructor of this technique in the world. I would agree that he is. It is my honor to call him friend and I am indebted to him for sharing his gift with the world.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to say about this topic.

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

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I keep returning to this cuff; the metal is a Japanese alloy called Shakudo. The design, sweet little flowers meant to encircle one’s wrist.

This piece was finished a little over a month ago; it calls to me. Currently it is on display and available at the Botanical Expressions exhibit at Commonwheel Artists Co-op in Manitou Springs CO. Has it called to anyone else and found its home yet? I don’t know.

One thing I do know, in answer to the question “Why I do what I do?” is being creative is a necessity. It is essential to who I am. This cuff was one of those works that resonated with me and still does. Who knows, maybe it belongs with me. We shall see once the exhibit closes next week.

What Is “Why Do you Do What You Do?” All About?

It started  with a kid doing a school assignment: To interview someone from a community service agency. He looked in the Yellow Pages, dialed a number, and asked the person on the other end ” Why do you do what you do?”… and the receiver felt compelled to answer…. and it grew into this beautiful, interesting, amazing movement.  Read the full story here.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to share on this topic.

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

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As a happy coincidence would have it, this month’s Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank topic is, what are you looking forward to?

Tonight is the opening reception for my first joint artist exhibit, Botanical Expressions at Commonwheel Artists Co-op in Manitou Springs CO. I am most definitely looking forward to tonight!

I’ve shared a bit about my preparations and some of the new works. Here’s another sampling of some of the works that will be on display and available for purchase if any call to you.

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The reception runs from 5-8 PM tonight. If you are in the area, I hope you can join us. The exhibit runs through June 13th. A wonderful opportunity to see Chasing & Repoussé art jewelry with beautiful watercolors by fellow artist and friend, Jo Gaston. Great art, great people, great location. A perfect way to spend your Friday night!

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers are looking forward to:

Andes Cruz
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Diana Bell

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

Botanical Expressions

The Thoughtful Reflections of Two Artists

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It’s almost here. All the preparation. All the work of designing, creating and finishing pieces for this exhibit. It is coming to fruition. On May 20th, the Botanical Expressions Exhibit opens at Commonwheel Artists Co-op in Manitou Springs, CO. and runs through June 13th. The opening reception is this Friday, May 20th from 5-8 PM.

I am experiencing a myriad of feelings. Gratitude. Relief that all the work I wanted to create happened.  A sense of accomplishment in that I did this, it’s done and I am so happy with all the beautiful pieces of art jewelry finished specifically for this exhibit.

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If you will indulge me, I would like to share a story about an artist/friend who inspired me years ago with her journey. Tracey Clarke, a gifted oil painter. She shared her preparation for an exhibit like this through her blog posts. How she came up with her proposal for a show, the process of creating works with a given theme and ultimately, the hanging of her show. This is the link to one of her posts about the process. I got to know Tracey through an artist forum where we shared works, stories, frustrations, and successes. I was in awe of Tracey’s gifts and how she prepared for her show. I wondered if I could ever do the same with my art and now 5 years later, with my metalwork, I too have completed the process for my first exhibit. For me, this is one of those goals artists have to create a body of work, that demonstrates focus, skill and a passion for what we do. People touch our lives in ways they don’t realize, and Tracey did many things for me with her strength, courage and grace. Sadly, Tracey was taken from this world in December 2013 after a hard fought battle with brain cancer. I miss her.

The vision for Botanical Expressions is showing what two artists can do in their respective mediums. My Chasing & Repoussé art jewelry and Jo Gaston’s watercolor paintings will be displayed with our interpretations of elements in nature that we find most beautiful. In some cases we discussed having works that were of the same subject matter such as acorns and aspens. Of course there will be others that embody our love of a particular species.

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As I have said, this is the first time I have prepared and submitted a proposal with a particular theme. Both Jo & I are extremely grateful to Commonwheel Artists Co-op for providing not only the opportunity, but the venue for an exhibit of this kind. Earlier this year, Commonwheel remodeled and their Creekside Gallery room is perfect for visiting artists like Jo and myself to display our works.

As I prepared for this show, I envisioned  demonstrating the many diverse forms of art jewelry that can be created through the ancient art of Chasing & Repoussé. Continuing with that thought, I also wanted to show how I could incorporate a wide variety of metal in those works.  Although the majority of my work in this show is in sterling silver, I was able to utilize steel with fused gold and Japanese alloys like Shibuichi and Shakudo.

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As an artist, I am always looking for ways to challenge myself. Doing a show of this nature pushes one to stretch and grow. Prior to getting ready for this event, my main focus with Chasing & Repoussé has been creating cuffs like the one pictured below. The canvas for that type of jewelry is larger and gave me a lot of freedom to express my organic style.

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Creating a new body of work for this exhibit, to my surprise and delight, I discovered how completely Chasing & Repoussé lent itself to these delicate works with their minute details. The metal moved beautifully and I was thrilled to discover all I envisioned coming to life.

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My belief is anytime you step outside of your comfort zone, something wonderful will happen. In this case, fresh ideas, new work and friendships are just the start of the positive impact this event has already had on my life and my work.

I hope that you will be able to join us for this unique, insightful visual display of the thoughtful reflections of two artists.

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

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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