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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.

Mountainesque Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Another in my Mountainesque Series. The stone is a pyramid shape, Sonoran Sunrise, that I purchased from Gary B Wilson last year at the Denver Gem & Mineral Show. I really loved the ‘scene’ in this one. It reminds me of a lava flow, right after the volcano has erupted. The churning, the flares of the lava as it flows over everything in its path.  Powerful.

This presented a photographic challenge for Dan because of the depth of the stone and its shape. I hope you can see the scene that I replicated in the overlay of this setting to compliment and emphasize the drama I see in the stone.

Why call this one Vulcan? Well, no matter what direction my thoughts went, I kept coming back to the name and its relationship to volcanoes. I actually found an interesting commentary on University Today that discussed the mythology about the Mediterranian Island, Volcano.  After reading that, I thought it fit for me and decided on Vulcan for the title of this piece.

I used Sterling Silver for the back plate and shaped overlay component in this setting.  The piece was oxidized with liver of sulphur; my design called for the removal of the oxidation from the overlay to further emphasize the shape and depth.

Time to get back to my bench and work on more in this series…I have 5 more designs in this series waiting for me to get busy!

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

Mountainesque Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

There are times when all of us experience that feeling of “stuck”.  The block to our creative channel.  It’s frustrating.  When I have it, I refuse to move forward.  I know the right thing will come to me.  With this piece, I had the top figured out pretty much from the get go.  But that bottom portion of this one, taunted me for longer than I care to admit.  The design for Beginnings happened in that flurry of the creative spurt when Mountainesque became a series.  I knew I was on to something.  And I must give credit to the stone too as I FINALLY saw a mountain range in the lower stone that became the inverse of it in the metal.

That is why I call this one Beginnings.  It helped me along the way to the beginning of my Mountainesque Series.  The stones are copper with chrysocolla.  I purchased the lower stone a little over a year ago from Gary B Wilson.  In September of 2010, I bought some more of this from him and I suspect I will add more to my working inventory as I love the subtle colors and markings that copper with chrysocolla produces.  The stones are set in Sterling Silver that I oxidized, along with adding some silver balls as accents.  I still enjoy making these two piece pendants.  Part of me is fascinated by the construction process and I thoroughly enjoy the finished piece that has movement.  I’m also caught up in this new direction with mountains as my sirens.

I hope you enjoy yet another piece in my Mountainesque Series.

It’s still quite frigid here in Colorado, with snow, ice, and blustery winds.  If you live in the northern hemisphere, I hope you have found ways to stay safe and warm.  I am thankful for the comforts our home affords us in these severe weather conditions.

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

Mountain Valley
Mountainesque Series
Photo credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Another piece from my Mountainesque Series.  It’s similar to the two piece styles you have seen in my Soul Searching and Timeless Series, however, when you click on the photo to see the larger view, you will be able to see the mountain outline at the top of the lower piece.

Sonoran Sunrise stones where used for both components.  This is one of Dan’s favorites out of this current series.

The reason I have called this one Mountain Valley is because of the imagery I see in the lower stone.  A rich red sky at sunset, with the outline of two mountain peaks and the green, lush valley below.

As you could probably tell from my previous post about Mountainesque, I’m having so much fun coming up with designs for this new series.  My goal was to have 25 – 30 pieces completed by the end of this month, however, I fell short of that target.  Rest assured, there are more in the works and I’m confident I’ll have 25 – 30 piece finished by the end of February.

Thanks for your time and interest in my work.  I always enjoy your feedback.

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

Uncharted Territory
Mountainesque Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

With this piece, I’m debuting one of my new series for 2011, Mountainesque.  Why Mountainesque?  I hope to explain some of that here in this post.  I love mountains.  They are picturesque and for the name of this series, I blended the words Mountains and Picturesque.

In one of my last posts of 2010, I indicated that this year my Quest is to embrace the challenge of self-discovery and personal growth.  Lexi is joining me in that Quest and I believe we are helping each other on this path to discovery.  My personal word for this year is to be Fully Engaged and I believe this new series is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being fully engaged in creating my Art Jewelry.

During the week between Christmas and New Years, I felt as though I was in a ‘waiting state’.  I was reading books, listening to music, watching movies and just trying to relax my mind and actually tap into that creative channel.  Lexi and I had a day where we just discussed the things we cherished, making art, our own directions. I knew the groundwork was being laid, but I just didn’t know where or when the spark was going to occur for me.  And then it happened and it all made sense.  It had been right in front of me and I just didn’t see it until a scene in a movie clicked with me.

I was half watching the movie Wolverine while I was doing things in the studio.  There’s a scene where snow covered mountains are part of the backdrop.  Those mountains reminded me of the Tetons.  I’m surrounded by photographs Dan has taken of them during our vacations.

The Grand Tetons At Snake River

I love the Tetons. I love mountains! Growing up in Illinois, surrounded by corn fields….well, mountains were/are my sirens.  As a footnote, I will add that I have come to appreciate the beauty associated with corn fields, but for me they fall short of the rugged majesty of mountain ranges. Why couldn’t I do something that reflected how I felt about mountains? I have never been more at peace than when I’m taking in the beauty of the Tetons.

I had been drinking in the view of the Tetons while Dan was photographing them, then I felt I was being watched (you know that sensation, don’t you?) and as I turned to look, Dan took this picture of me.

As I looked through my stones, it was as if I really saw what was going on in the Sonoran Sunrises (Cuprite / Chrysocolla). I saw beautiful, rugged mountain scenes! Yes, put together a series with Sonorans and silver mountain shapes. The mountain shapes can be on the side, at the bottom, the top, it really doesn’t matter, just include the graceful shape of a mountain outline.  Yes, that’s it!

I turned on music, our Zen channel. I drew one design after another. No shaky lines, it’s as if my hand was being guided. I’d pick up a stone, look at it and draw the shape. It felt amazing. I knew I had tapped into the channel. I just kept going. Generally, I would have the design in the first or second sketch.  Everything just fell into place.

Uncharted Territory was one of the first ones I drew. For me, this truly was uncharted territory. It felt real, genuine, right. I didn’t question or hesitate, I just kept going. And I’m still going with new pieces waiting for me to get to the bench to work on them. Right now I have 5 completed and there are designs for another 10 or more. I’ve even started to incorporate red jaspers in this line.

This is something I’ve never fully experienced until now. It’s amazing and I’m certain many of you have experienced this and for those of you who haven’t, my advice is to keep trying, keep working, and just wait until you tap into that creative channel, because it is real and it will happen.

There you have it.  My love of mountains, surrounded by Dan’s photographs of them, living near them and seeing them everyday….it was right there, in front of me all that time and I finally saw it….just by that 3 second clip from a movie I was barely paying much attention to….I always have something running in the background as I work in the studio.

You never know where your next idea will come from or how, but I truly believe the most important thing is that you are open to receive it when it comes.

I’ll leave you with one more from this new series, which I call Safe Passage.

Safe Passage
Mountainesque Series
Photo credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

As this line continues to grow and develop, I will post photos and details.

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

2010 was a very good year.  I grew as an artist & a person.  I discovered things about myself, my work, my life.  So many blessings, so many wonderful friends, so much to be grateful for.

As 2011 approaches, I know that I am being challenged.  That’s a great thing.  Lexi & I share a Quest; it’s a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.  Together we are exploring Finding Water by Julia Cameron.  Lexi has taught The Artist’s Way Course and she will be my guide in the process of Finding Water.  We started this week and will continue through the chapters each week or so.  This will be a great way to explore and find new pathways.

Another book that will be part of my artistic journey is Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Lexi recommended this one and has told me it will be a great companion to the reading and morning pages I do in conjunction with Finding Water. This is very exciting for me.

I haven’t started to read Simple Abundance yet, that will begin tomorrow, January 1, 2011.  However, I think it will help me in the pursuit of my goals to create new work that causes me to stretch and grow as an artist, along with my own personal growth.

In conjunction with these two books, I’ve started to read another one that was a Christmas gift.  This is The Making of Avatar, which describes James Cameron’s artistic journey while waiting for the technology that would allow him to create the movie Avatar.

For those of you who don’t know, James Cameron and Julia Cameron are brother and sister.  Reading these books, Finding Water and The Making of Avatar, made me realize that the works of these two Camerons, Julia and James, speak to me in different ways.  The book I got for Christmas about the Making of Avatar, goes into his initial concept and how long he had to wait for the technology to make that movie.  It discusses his artistic journey; James Cameron had so many ideas and was always being creative, whether it was in the days before making movies when he was an artist and then the subsequent creative paths he took with movies, from Alien to Titanic to documentaries to Avatar.  Julia has her journey as a writer.  Reading these two very different books has shown me that people who are creative, constantly strive to find ways to achieve their creative goals.  You just keep working and producing work that gets you to that next step.  I find a connection or maybe its an admiration for their determination to pursue their artistic goals.

That leads me to my next point in this post, which is a concept I used last year thanks to Christine Kane who writes another blog I follow.  Her recommendation is that we have our personal word of the year which inspires us in our endeavors.  Last year, my word was Aspire.  This year I had to use two words that help me connect….and those are Fully Engaged.

In my heart, I know I must be Fully Engaged in everything I do. Yes, that may be exhausting and I may need to pull back a bit. However, the point of being Fully Engaged in anything I do is that will help me to be focused in the moment. Too many times I find myself working on something and thinking about something else. Loss of focus. Not being Fully Engaged. In order to channel creativity effectively, I need to be Fully Engaged. In the zone. Living in the present moment. Put all other thoughts and distractions aside, and just become immersed in what I am doing. This is why those two words resonate with me.

So as 2011 approaches, my wish for all of you is that you are able to achieve your dreams and goals.  May this coming year by joyous and prosperous for each of you.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.  Know that in 2011, I will be Fully Engaged in all of my pursuits.

Embrace The Light
Timeless Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

I feel like this is one of my most powerful pieces to date. It’s the stone that really speaks to me.

In August, my favorite stone cutter, Gary B. Wilson, introduced me to Porcelain Jasper. He knows I love purple and he had a number of these stones. I wanted to wait and see them in person when he and his family came to Denver for the Gem & Mineral Show in September. It was worth the wait.

On an unbelievably beautiful September day, Lexi & I were one of the first to visit Gary’s booth. I immediately asked him about those purple stones and he produced a tray of the lovelies. This stone was the first to catch my eye and as large as it was, I knew it would make a magnificent piece. It is part of my private collection. I have a smaller Porcelain Jasper that I acquired that day, but I knew I had a deep connection with this one and it belonged to me.

Why did I call this Embrace The Light? There is that bright spot in the stone, surrounded by what I envision to be lightening or electrical charges. For me that bright spot symbolized the light that beckons us as we leave this world. It is my belief that we embark on a new journey when we leave this world and it is the light that beckons our spirits to come and join. I was drawn to this; drawn to the light. I know, I know, never discuss religion or politics. I’m just sharing the feeling that this piece evokes in me and what I see in this particular stone.

I also felt that incorporating reticulated silver was important to accentuate those lightening bolts surrounding the light in this stone. Right now I find that I like to have at least two, if not three, moving components in a piece. Until I feel the need to move on in my current designs, I think you will continue to see this type of style in my work. I was fighting this for a while and thought, I like the look, I will continue with it until something else takes its place.

2010 has been an eye opener for me and filled with a great deal of personal & artistic growth. I am thankful for so many things. The people in my life… my soul mate, Dan, whose photographs of my work take my breath away and makes what I do look incredible! His gentle strength, support and love has seen me through many a trying time. Our delightful bassets; everyone needs a studio mascot and I have three! My terrific online friends who amaze me with their incredible talents and support. And last, but certainly not least, my dear, dear sister Lexi…without her guidance and inspiration I would be lost.

2011 can only bring more challenges, surprises and opportunities. May all of you have the Merriest of Christmases and a Joyful, Prosperous New Year.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person. You know I am. Thank you all.

The Poster for the Event

What a weekend. The weather was fantastic. I was honored and humbled to be part of this event and share the experience with so many wonderful and talented artists. It was great.

My dear friend and mentor, Lexi Erickson, asked me to design the poster and post card for this show. I happily agreed and the top picture is the poster in its final form.

Not many people can say they have done a show with Harold O’Connor. I had the good fortune to be in a show with two of my idols, Harold O’Connor and Lexi Erickson.

Harold O’Conner, me, and Lexi

I don’t think my feet were touching the ground in that picture!  And both Harold and Lexi signed a copy of the poster for me….now that’s going to be framed and hung in my studio as a reminder of a very special event and the great inspiration both of these talented individuals are to me.  Thank you Harold and Lexi.

The crowd was wonderful. I believe all of us had good sales and hopefully that is an indicator that things are turning around in the art world when it comes to the sales of our works.

Several of you have asked that I post pictures of my work that sold. Well, here goes….  Oh, and all of the photos were taken by Dan, so I’m just going to say at the beginning of all of these great photos to follow:  Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff.

My first sale of the day was a pair of reticulated earrings I called Ocean Waves. Great to have that first sale of the show.  How fitting that the first sale was also the reticulated silver that I made during my workshop with Harold in May of this year!

Ocean Waves
Timeless Series

The next sale was a pendant and a pair of earrings.

It’s a Matter of Attitude (previous blog post)
Soul Searching Series

Unidelta Tree
Tribute to Pandora Series

And then things just started to blur together…..

Binary Sunshine (previous blog post)
Tribute to Pandora Series

Puff Ball Tree
Tribute to Pandora Series

Another pair of earrings, Pendulum, that I never got a picture of before the show, so they aren’t in this group ….

Chalice Plant
Tribute to Pandora Series

And then I was completely blown away….

Dimensions in Time
Timeless Series

Yes, that’s right, one of my bracelets sold. A multitude of beautiful stones, hours of work, and its beauty was not lost on the person who bought this. She has a discerning eye, as did many of the shoppers this weekend. Coupled with that was an appreciation for the art that this bracelet represents. She also purchased Break Through (pictured below) and I know my pieces have gone to someone who understands. Actually, all of my pieces went to people who got it. What a wonderful affirmation for an artist.

Break Through
Soul Searching Series

Soul Searching Series

Pretty incredible.  The show, the weekend, the crowds, the talented artists, the beautiful venue, the experience….ALL exceeded my expectations.  I truly believe I found my audience.  It has infused me with new enthusiasm and the belief that I am on the right path as an artist.  It is my wish for all of you, my friends, to find that path we are destined to follow.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.  Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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