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It’s that time of year. Fall approaches. Cool, crisp mornings. Birds flock together. The leaves start to turn. And the Front Range Open Studios tour weekend is here.  September 9 – 10, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day.

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Once a year, the artists on the tour open their working studios to the public. We invite you into our creative sanctuaries so you can see where we work and have an appreciation for why we do what we do.

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My studio has transformed over the years, just as I have. You can see the view of a small aspen grove just outside my windows. Wind chimes accompany the playful songs of the wild birds that visit the garden.

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Our mission with the tour is to educate, inform and have fun! Throughout the weekend I will be doing demonstrations involving:

  • The Ancient Art of Chasing and Repoussé
  • Piercing metal with a jeweler’s saw
  • Stone setting
  • Firing up and using a torch

My hope is you will see and understand why I love working with my hands as I create my art.

You can see the variety of tools that I use in my work, including the latest addition of a CNC Machine, the Nomad 883 Pro by Carbide 3D. As my business has grown, I found this investment to be necessary.

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New this year, my husband and I have put together a video that covers the basic steps involved in fabricating a pair of my Treescape earrings. I will walk through the steps and we have a time lapsed video of the machine working. It takes a minimum of 16 steps to complete the most basic of my Treescape design, which surprises people.

 

Here’s the map to all of the studios on this year’s tour. If you go to the website, you can download Google maps to all of the artist’s locations. This year my studio is location #15.

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Remember, this happens once a year and it truly is magical. I hope you can join us.

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

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In the barn!

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Barb Ziek, of Wild Hair Alpacas, and I are joining creative forces again (it’s our third year to do this) for The Fashion Show in The Barn. We collaborate by carefully selecting garments Barb has made from her alpacas fiber and finding the right piece of my art jewelry that compliments the article of clothing.

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The show does take place in the alpaca barn. Rows of hay bales form the bleachers for the audience. There are some folding chairs too for the crowd overflow.

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Barb is the master of ceremony and I will contribute to discuss the various jewelry the model wears.

Barb’s husband, Peter, will bring out the alpaca that provided the fiber for the garment being worn.

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Occasionally, a baby cria will accompany its mother on the ‘runway’.

 

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In addition to all of this, the alpaca boys look on and definitely show their enthusiasm for certain alpaca girls.

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I have lots of new works to preview at this such as, earrings, rings and pendents from my Celestial series.

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Treescapes has been a part of my creative life for close to 7 years now. It continues to evolve and you can see some new Treescape variations at the Fashion in the Barn too.

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This is such a fun, educational event. Great for the entire family and it happens once a year. We hope you can join us.

Wild Hair Alpacas LLC

5815 Mountain Shadow View 
Colorado Springs, CO 80908
719-495-6693

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

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Opening Reception:  Friday, July 21, 2017 from 5:oo PM to 8:00 PM
Location: Commonwheel Artists Co-op
102 Cañon Avenue
Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Exhibit Dates: July 21 – August 14, 2017

Ever since Dan & I married, even before that, we have been a collaborative, supportive team. He is my best friend and soulmate. He is honest, caring, and one of those idea people. I love him with all my heart and soul.

He has influenced my work, new projects, and creative directions. As we journey through this life together, we have always wanted to do a joint show. Now that has become a reality for us.

On Friday, July 21, 2017, Immersion opens at Commonwheel Artists Co-op in Manitou Springs, CO. The concept for this show came from Dan. We love water’s qualities and its associated locations. Through this exhibit of our respective art works, we hope to convey the feeling of being surrounded by the beauty of the ocean, lakes, ponds, streams and waterfalls.

Dan has captured so many moments in time with his photography. Breathtaking ocean waves as they crash against the shoreline rocks, the Milky Way at Bandon, Oregon. During his local hikes, he encounters the occasional character willing to pose. I feel so blessed to have been with him when he photographed many of these scenes.

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Pacific Ocean ~ Cannon Beach, OR

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The Milky Way as seen at Bandon, OR

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Steller Jay at Lake ~ Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

As I worked on jewelry for this exhibit, I developed a completely new body of work. I incorporated stones the lent themselves to the imagery of water, waves, coral, shells and more. It’s the first time I have felt so completely free creatively that many of my works evolved in their own direction. Only a few started with designs that remained until completion; most became free form fabrication that I have never done before. Perfection and symmetry were not goals because I wanted to give my impression of the natural essence of water.

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Leland Blue set in Sterling Silver ~ Cuff

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Fossilized Coral set in Sterling with 18Kt Gold Accent

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Sterling Silver earrings with 18Kt Gold Accents

Dan & I are blessed to have found each other. We share a unique relationship based on love, friendship and mutual respect.

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Dan & I at Shore Acres State Park ~ Oregon

Immersion will give the audience a glimpse of our life together and our artistic souls. If you live in the Colorado Springs area, I hope you will be able to join us. The exhibition runs from 7/21 – 8/14/2017.

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


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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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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Love, romance, that special someone. There’s still time to find that perfect hand crafted gift! All of these latest works will be available at my Valentine’s Day Trunk show, this Saturday, February 13, 2016 at the wonderfully enchanted Santa Fe Trail Jewelry in Historic downtown Monument, CO.

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Willow Creek Jasper set in Sterling Silver with various faceted gems

I have been preparing for this upcoming trunk show. One of the things I like to do for these special events is have an offering of what I am currently developing. Not only does this give my clients and Santa Fe Trail Jewelry aficionados the opportunity to have first choice, but it also gives me immediate feedback of people’s responses to the new directions I take with my work.

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Asymmetrical earrings are one way I feel people can really express their individuality with distinctive, one of a kind art jewelry.

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Treescapes are certainly a favorite. This series continues to evolve as I look for new inspiration and ways to make them even more unique. These earrings are inspired by a little Bonsai tree that sits on my bench. I’m having great fun adding gemstones, like the faceted peridots, as the base of the tree.

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This style of Treescape pendant is growing in popularity too. Here we have a richly colored Variscite stone as the focal point with my Bonsai tree accent.

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There are many more that will be available this Saturday. If you don’t live in the area and see something that calls to you, send me an email for details.

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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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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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.

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I am happy to announce that my online store is open!  I have a variety of items from several of my series, including this bracelet from Sensory Delights.

As an added bonus, I am offering a progressive discount starting today, December 12 through Sunday, December 14, 2014.

Heres’ how it works.

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This is my way of celebrating the opening of my web store and thanking you for following my blog.  Hopefully you will find something perfect for your last minute Holiday shopping.  Click this link to my store to view the works available.  Please check back from time to time as I will be adding more items.

I would like to wish all of you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous 2015!

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

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Express Yourself
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

Petrified Palm Wood, Copper, Bronze and Sterling Sivler

Being able to express my individuality has been very important to me ever since I came of age in high school.  For some it was the best time of their lives, for others it was a trying time and for people like me it was the start of a very personal journey of self-discovery.  I started to learn the importance of  being an individual.  Being a lemming and following the crowd wasn’t something I sought.  What I learned to embrace was being the person I was meant to be.

At that time, I expressed myself with the clothes I made.  Unique.  No one else had anything like something I had made.

Today, the same holds true for people who express themselves with their sense of style.  A favorite pair of shoes.  That eclectic blouse or dress that says I have the confidence to wear something this classic.  So it holds true for those who wear art jewelry.  It makes a statement, sometimes bold, sometimes subtle, about the individual who wears it.

It is my hope that my new series of Express Yourself, with a little touch of Colorado, will provide the wearer that statement of individual style, grace and poise.  The series is currently available at Santa Fe Trail Jewelry in Monument CO.

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

Still Standing ~ Treespcapes
Photography: Daniel Krucoff

There is a lot of symbolism in this piece for me.  Last week, the Waldo Canyon fire demanded the attention of most of us in the Colorado Springs area.  The worst fire in the history of the state of Colorado; 346 homes were completely destroyed, 3 lives extinguished.  Yet there were symbols of faith, courage, bravery and endurance by the fire fighters, the residents, the city, our employers, our children and many more.

Thankfully, Dan and I, along with our bassets are safe.  We live out on the plains of the Black Forest, north east of the city and a good 20+ miles from where the fire was.  It is 95% contained as I write this.  Dan & I know some that lost their homes, others who were displaced for a period of time.  Life interrupted and for some …. forever changed.  Some things survived like a special plaque that was part of a couple’s home.  They will use this plaque as the cornerstone for their next home when they rebuild.  All of us were affected by the fire in some form or fashion.


HEARTS KEEP
Through any storm
in any season
I will shelter you.

Last week, my heart wasn’t in the right place to write a blog post and talk about another piece in my Treescape series.   This week, it is important that I share this piece with you and I call it Still Standing.  A symbol of how people endure devastation and a tribute to the brave firefighters who did so much and continue to work tirelessly to fight and fully contain the fire.   From the beautiful sentiment, conveyed in the plaque pictured above, I am envisioning another piece.

Still Standing.  The stone is amethyst sage with dendrites forming that tree that is still standing amidst the ruin.  In the upper left hand corner, the yellow portion of this stone symbolizes the light that shines on that survivor.

While I made this piece over a month ago, it was this week that it called to me with its theme, what it represents.

A photographer captured the fire’s assault on the city over the first 5 days of its existence.  You can watch it here and when you see minutes 7 – 8, that’s when 65 mph winds drove it at a frenzied pace destroying so many homes.

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

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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