You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Chasing & Repousse’ tag.

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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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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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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:

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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.

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Why I Do What I do.

I love experiments and the results they produce. These are my first Chasing & Repoussé works in the Japanese alloy, Shakudo. The alloy is comprised of a copper – gold mix that produces a rich, warm look.

Every time I try something new, I grow. That’s essential and vital to who I am.

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.

Aspiring to be more as an artist and a person.

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Hibiscus – Photo by Daniel Krucoff

…….things just click!

I’m happy to report that it happened again for me while I was working on this cuff.

Hopefully, all of us have experienced that moment when things just start to come together and work right. Something akin to when you learned how to ride a bike. Balance, turning, forward momentum and braking all come together in perfect, effortless harmony. It becomes second nature and requires little conscious thought.

Years ago, my primary medium was glass. Oh how I wished I could cut glass with ease, without thinking about it. That FINALLY happened after a ton of practice. What accelerated that perfect touch was many hours of cutting strips of glass for the fused bowls I was making. The mechanics of the right pressure just clicked.

In 2009, metal became my medium. In some aspects, I was starting all over again. In other areas, I was enhancing skills I had developed as a budding artist back in my teens. You see, I know and have found that everything we do develops a skill set that we can build upon. Some are fortunate to start early and stick with it. Others, like me, tend to bounce around until we find our true passion.

Over the past several weeks, I have returned to the studio to create new works for an upcoming exhibition.  All the work will be completed using the metalsmithing technique of Chasing and Repousse. I love working in metal and this technique allows me to create in a way I never imagined. In June of 2014, I took a workshop from the Italian Master, Fabrizio Acquafresca and found my true passion ~ Chasing and Repousse.

There are MANY important aspects to this technique. For me, the hardest part has been proper use of the chasing hammer with the tools. I knew it would just take practice. Fabrizio and others confirm that practice is essential. It is. I know it. My commitments have interfered with my ability to work on this technique as much as I want and need.

Now, as I’m preparing for an exhibit, I am in the studio every day working, practicing, striving to be better. Some days my muscles are unhappy with my demands. I take breaks, I stretch and do my best to give my body the rests it needs. Remember these breaks are just as important as the practice. When I am tired, my muscles fatigued, things don’t work well and mistakes will happen.

However, that moment I sought, when perfect harmony with hammer and chisel finally happened. It took place on a recent Sunday. I had finished the details of this cuff and now it was time to work on the non-raised sections; the border area. Fabrizio has a set of special square tools (pictured below) that he uses to complete a smooth, finished surface.

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I have struggled with this aspect ever since that workshop almost 2 years ago. This time, I was determined to figure it out, make it work and succeed. As I started to hammer, I could see the surface was moving as I wanted it to.  It’s a smooth ‘texture‘ if you will.  I realize that sounds like a contradiction, but these tools create a soft finish. Here’s a close up of one of the edges, showing the details of the cuff.

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The awareness that took place as I hammered was I was finally striking the tool with a purpose. Before I was ‘hammering like a girl‘….ya that old saying of ‘you throw the ball like a girl’. Whatever. I was using my chasing hammer like I meant it. The strikes were not this random flailing of mediocre blows. The hammer strikes on the top of my tool were direct, with intent. All the aspects of how to create this movement were coming together. I was holding the square chisel correctly, positioning it correctly on the metal’s surface and striking it with the hammer with forceful purpose.  I could feel everything was working together in harmony and that’s the a-ha key moment of revelation. I got this. I’m doing this. Yay me!

The reason I want to share this story and my thoughts are to encourage you. One of the worst things we do as individuals is compare ourselves to others. That serves no purpose. There’s always going to be someone who’s better at something than you are and you are better at somethings that others aren’t. Just be the best that you can be. If you are dissatisfied with something, work on fixing it. I was never happy with my hammer skills. Yet I persisted and practiced. Am I where I want to be yet? No. Anyone who is a true master of their craft continues to practice and work at it. Ansel Adams did, Picasso did, I know Fabrizio does and I know I have to because I want to grow and become a better artist. Practice, determination and persistence are my allies. If you want to be better at anything, let them become your allies too.

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

 

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Welcome September and with this month comes the early markings of fall, football, and the Front Range Open Studios tour. This is my 5th year with this great event and I am delighted to say I have been a part of it since its inception.

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Just look for the bright yellow signs that will guide you to my studio and those of the other tour artists.

My studio is located at:
17595 Black Forest Road, Colorado Springs, CO

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We are the artists of the Front Range Open Studios!

I have seen so much growth in my work since I first joined the tour. Anyone who knows me, knows that one of my goals is to continually grow as an artist and a person. I think you can see the progression of my work in this snap shot of a few of my works over the past five years.

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During both days of the tour, I will be demonstrating Chasing & Repousse. However, I have special times set aside for specific demos.

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In addition to that, those who visit my studio can enter either of the drawings I will have. One is for this pair of my Express Yourself earrings that are textured and oxidized sterling silver. A $75 value.

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The other drawing will be for a $25 gift certificate to Wisdom Tea House in Monument CO.

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It’s going to be a great weekend as each of us explain our creative processes and share our inner most sanctuaries where we create. Please join us for what I believe is one of the best artist studio tour in the state of Colorado.

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

 

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I am part of a Chasing and Repousse group on Facebook. When I first joined, I did not know this technique, but I had a desire to learn. Last year, that desire was fulfilled when I took a workshop with Il Maestro Fabrizio Acquafresca. One of the things Fabrizio told me was to “keep hammering” and I am.

One of life’s serendipitous moments happened in June when I met Laurie Jane Kern (aka The Adventurous Silversmith) during the Artists Reception at Outnumbered Gallery in Littleton for the First Chasing and Repousse exhibit. Both Laurie and I had pieces in the show. And Fabrizio was back in Colorado for this event. Throughout the course of the evening I had many great conversations.

What does this have to do with The Texture Challenge? Well, Laurie is the founder of the Chasing and Repousse group on Facebook. She picks these challenges that run every 2 – 3 months. During that opening reception, she told me about this upcoming challenge and wanted me to participate. The photo at the top of this post is the result of my work.

Talk about fun. Not only did I make a couple of tools for a specific texture, I also learned so much that I want to incorporate in my future works. The best part of this for me was the continued, almost daily practice, so I could complete the sample in time. Doing this has shown me that if I want to try a new texture, grab a piece of copper and practice that texture before doing it on the actual piece I will create. This small effort can provide great insight into what needs to happen to create a particular texture.

I thought you would enjoy seeing the texture squares next to the references I used to create them. I’m also going to share a bit about the two tools I made as part of a personal challenge. More than one of the artists at the Exhibition stated that creating your own texture tools was one way to have your work truly stand out.

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Sand

This is the one square where I created my own texture tools. I will admit that starting to make these types of tools can be a bit intimidating for me, but that feeling quickly wore off and I am ready to make more! I will discuss my experience with tool making in a future post in my Talkin’ Tools series. I found that the smaller of the two tools was best for this sand texture. When doing this type of texture, there is a lot of repeating the pattern over itself until you achieve the desired result.

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Custom made tools.

Next is one of my favorites, a leaf.

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Leaf

Again there is a lot of repetitious patterning so the end result looks like those cells in an actual leaf.

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Fish Scales

I have fished but never truly studied the patterns in their scales until now. The amount of detail is surprising and something I find quite beautiful.

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Bark

My attraction to trees made a bark texture a perfect choice. It was far more challenging that I could have imagined.

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Sea Shell

There’s a delicate beauty in sea shells. I’ve collected a few and my interest in their patterns grew after our trip to the Oregon coast last fall. I knew I wanted to make a cuff design, incorporating lots of varieties. Now I know how challenging that cuff will be, but I think it will be a stunner.

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Rope

Somewhat in keeping with a nautical theme, I really like the big thick ropes that are tied to anchors.

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Grass Seeds

I happened to find this specimen in our back yard. We seem to have so many pretty grasses where we live. This one caught my eye and I just knew it needed to be included in my samples.

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Tree Rings

I’m fascinated by the growth rings in trees. They tell a story about any given year in the tree’s life. A few years ago we traveled to Yellowstone and one of the 100+ year old trees had to be cut down. The rangers had marked years on the various rings, accompanied with a historical reference. They are little windows into the past.

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Dog Fur

Last but certainly not least is the pattern from our Thorin’s dog fur. He wondered what I was trying to do when I snapped the close up of his fur.

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My handsome model, Thorin

A fun challenge that was a great learning opportunity. Which of these textures is your favorite?

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

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Several weeks ago I attended the opening reception for the first Chasing and Repousse Exhibition at Outnumbered Gallery in Littleton, CO. One of my cuffs, The Mighty Oak, is a part of this exhibit that will run through July 18th.  I had a chance to meet with artists I have never met before, along with some I know.

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The Might Oak – Botanical Series

One of the great things about events like this is the chance to discuss the work. Artist to artist. Their work and mine. Fascinating. Several artists gave me some advice and I am discovering it is some of the best advice I have ever received. As a result, I wanted to share because it is my belief that I have a responsibility to play it forward for all the help I continue to receive as I work to advance my career as an artist.

Tip number 1. Spend five minutes a day at your bench. This nugget of advice came from Henry Spencer. The recommendation, in its simplicity, is profound. He asked me to think about it. It may sound easy, he said, but it is hard. What can come from those five minutes can be an hour and a half of new work or nothing more than staring at the top of the bench. The point is, something wonderful may happen if you commit to spending that time every day. The insight for me is that need to be in my creative sanctuary every day. Something will happen. I can tell you that I have started to do this and it is very productive.

This was the first time I had met Henry. He is very open and engaging. He has being doing chasing and repousse for 40 years and refers to himself as a hippie metalsmith from the 70’s. All of this is said with quite the twinkle in his eye. I can tell you there is nothing understated about his work. Take a few moments to visit his website. I think you will understand why I have taken his advice to heart. He is smart as a fox and then some.

Tip number 2. Make your own tools. Nancy Meli Walker told me this is a must as I continue with chasing and repousse. She showed me a few of her tools that she created for textures.  She pointed out that one of the ways to make your work stand out is to have your own specialized textures. I saw that in Henry’s work and hers, along with others who were in the exhibit. It made perfect sense and there are textures I have envisioned for my own work, but didn’t have the tools to create them. Fortunately, I took a couple of workshops last year and each teacher showed us how to make our own tools. Now it does pain me to admit I was not all that enamored with the idea of making tools. However, inspired by Nancy’s revelation to me, I am thrilled that I know how. Now I am ready to embrace it!

Nancy’s work is so graceful and refined. She has a wonderful sense of humor. Another engaging spirit who is so very endearing. I am very appreciative of her advice.

Hopefully this helps to explain my photo at the top of this post. I have steel rods for making my own texture tools, along with some copper and steel sheets that will be part of my evolution as I work to improve my skills. The copper sheet will become a reference for textures. I’m taking part in a challenge to create sample textures. I will be creating some tools for the new textures I plan to use in my work. The steel will become new works, fused gold to steel, that will be formed into cuffs, pendants, rings, and earrings….all will have the new textures.

I am very grateful to Henry and Nancy for being so open and giving. Maybe they saw something in my work and felt they wanted to help me to grow? Whatever the case, I am thankful.

My husband, Dan, will help document what I am working on and I will post his videos of me working. I am very excited about the possibilities.

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

 

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The Mighty Oak
Botanical SeriesKathleen Krucoff
All photography by Daniel Krucoff

This is my accepted entry in the first International Chasing & Repousse Exhibition to be held at Outnumbered Gallery in Littleton, Colorado.

The opening reception will be Friday, June 5th from 5:00 – 9:00 PM during Littleton’s First Friday.  The exhibit runs from June 5 – July 18th.

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Detail view of The Mighty Oak

I am truly honored and humbled that this piece was one of the selected works.  There were over 140 artists who applied and I am one of 29 that were selected for the exhibit.

For this cuff, it is the first time I elected to use the Japanese metal alloy, Shibuichi. This material is a blend of copper and silver. Working this metal created a warm undertone that I felt accentuated my design and the details. It has been my most challenging piece to create to date. I like to stretch and grow as an artist, which is why I believe it is so important to try new things and keep striving to become better.

Il Maestro Fabrizio Acquafresca and another remarkable artist, Nancy Melie Walker, will be in attendance on the evening of the opening reception, demonstrating the ancient art of Chasing & Repousse. Talk about magical.

All of the displayed work will be available for purchase. As an added bonus, Fabrizio will have cuffs from his Butterfly Collection that can be purchased. If you have admired his work or are just discovering it, this is a wonderful opportunity to become a collector of some of his finest creations.
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If you live in Denver or the surrounding area, I do hope that you can join me with my husband, Dan, at the opening reception. There will be many talented artists happy to discuss their work with you.  Remember that the exhibit runs through July 18th, if you are unable to attend the opening. I would say this is one of those must see events of the summer.

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

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Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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