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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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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.

DignityAndStrength

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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.

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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.

Promo Codes

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.

ExpressYourself3
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.


Circles Pendant
Arts & Crafts Impressions
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

A few more from my new Arts & Crafts Impressions. Dan really loved the simplicity of this pendant. I even carried the circle theme on this one through to the bail at the top. I think in its simplicity it is very elegant. The whole less is more idea.


Simply Circles
Arts & Crafts Impressions
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

While I didn’t necessarily make these earrings to match the pendant, I think they are a very nice compliment, if you are looking for a set. I actually made these first and then as I was working on some of the other circle pendants in this series, everything just started to come together.  It’s nice when that happens, isn’t it?

This was the first time, since I started metalwork, where I really didn’t do a sketch for each item in the series.  I was able to visualize what I wanted to do and just started cutting out the metal and putting the pieces together.  I felt a real sense of direction once things started to gel and lead the way.  I know that it was more feasible to work without specific designs given the clean lines of these pieces.  I found it rather freeing to just work without the use of sketches.  I know that won’t always be the case, yet it does open some nice possibilities for letting future work evolve and take its own wings.

Currently, I’m experimenting with some new ideas that will lend themselves to another series….but that discussion is for another time.

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


Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon
Mountainesque Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

As 2011 began, I embarked on a new path to self discovery thanks to my dear sister and mentor Lexi Erickson, along with my own willingness to start this personal exploration. I suppose that my sound a bit funny or odd to some. However, one of my beliefs is that we must continue to grow and develop as a person throughout our lives. The last thing I want is to become stagnant or stuck in my ways. Thanks to Lexi, I started to read Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I mentioned this in my last post of 2010.

The book Simple Abundance is comprised of a set of daily readings.  As with most of these types of books, some days really speak to me, others not so much.  The passage on February 24 really hit home.  Sarah writes:

“Set the sails.  Pull anchor.  Cast away.  Feel the wind at your back. Keep your eyes on the horizon.

Or stay on shore.

But choose.”

Well, I chose and my choice is the keep my eyes on the horizon, which is how I came up with the title for this piece in my Mountainesque Series.  It comes from what I see in the stone again.  A distant horizon.  Promise and hope await as it draws near.

The stone is a red jasper.  It actually is one that Lexi had in her collection and decided to sell.  I’m glad she did, it had been one of my favorites ever since she showed it to me.  Originally she had acquired it from one of our favorite stone cutters, Gary B Wilson.

Set in sterling silver and oxidized.  More mountain shapes surround this piece with a few tiny silver ball accents.

May you too be looking toward that horizon and making positive changes in your life.

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


Climb Every Mountain
Mountainesque Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Life has its challenges, doesn’t it? I think I’ve been fortunate because I believe I learn and grow from these challenges as they are presented.

For me, this piece symbolizes the challenges that life presents and with all the mountain shapes in this one, I just felt it echoed the challenge to “Climb Every Mountain“. Maybe a bit of the Sound of Music is resonating with me too.  Yet, I think that mountains, in all their rugged beauty, beckon us and present challenges for those adventurous to dare.  If we are honest with ourselves, isn’t that part of what life is all about?  The challenges and how we respond to them?  Can you tell I think there is A LOT of symbolism in this piece?

The stone is another beautiful Sonoran Sunrise I acquired from Gary B Wilson.  It is set in sterling silver that I’ve oxidized to create additional depth.

I wish I could report that I have achieved my February goal of completing 25 pieces in my Mountainesque Series, however, I do have 10 completed pieces.  You see, February had a few challenges in it for me and sometimes ya just gotta roll with it.

To my way of thinking, I have 10 pieces done and more in my sketch book.  I will continue to debut them here.  Stay tuned, I think there are some real beauties in this series.

Hope you enjoyed reading about the symbolism of this piece.  Do any of you have any work that symbolizes something so strongly for you?  I know some of you definitely have those pieces in your body of work.  I’d love to know your thoughts.

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

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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