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One of the positive things that came out of me being one of the artists at the Castle Rock Fine Art Festival this September was two members of Commonwheel Artists Co-op stopped at our booth. They liked my mixed metal Ginkgo leaf earrings, bought a pair, and invited me to participate in their Holiday Market that starts today, November 18th and runs through December 31st!

Commonwheel Artists Co-op is located in Manitou Springs, CO and is a group of wonderful, talented artists….some of whom I actually know!  I am very happy to be part of their Holiday Market this year.

I thought it would be fun to share some of my latest Ginkgo leaf earring variations that will be available at Commonwheel for Holiday gifts.  They are part of my Arts & Crafts Impressions series, which originally debuted at the Boettcher Mansion’s Gathering of the Guilds this past May.

As I started to work on these, each one sort of evolved or morphed into another variation….all of which started with one simple little three leaf design.  I am finding it fascinating how an idea will take root and grow during the creative process.

I’ll let Dan’s photos do the rest of the talking in this post.


The Original Ginkgo Earrings ~ My Starting Point

The evolutions begin…..

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

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A New Day
Veracity Series
Photo Credit – Daniel Krucoff

This is the first of many in my new Veracity Series.  Currently, they involve working with heart shapes, but I can see this moving to other stone shapes and no stones at all….just metal.  There is something to be said about just working with metal!

As I worked on exploring several new series, I entered into a dark period that I think many artists….seeking growth….encounter.  It’s dismal.  There were two people supporting me and giving me wings to experience this growth.  Dan and Lexi.  I wouldn’t be at this point if it wasn’t for both of them with their special gifts.  Thank you.

I thought of a number of names for this series…”Fiercely Wild“, “Fierce and Wild“, “Untamed Hearts“, “Courageous“.  As I sat down to write this post, Veracity came to me.  This series represents strength, hope, courage, a willingness to grow and explore.  The shape reminds me of a wild horse’s mane or someone with that wild mane of hair.  While the name of this series is not set in stone yet, I would welcome your thoughts, impressions and suggestions.  The name of the series feels right to me, but I am curious about your thoughts.

So how did I get here?  Well, Lexi’s mentor is Harold O’Connor and Lexi is my mentor.  They have discussions about art vs craft (among other things) and that generates similar discussions between Lexi and me.  I don’t just want to do craft, that is follow the shape of the stone for a design.  Yes, this one sort of mimics the stone, but that was not my intent; it’s not a true heart shape that follows the shape of the stone.  It’s funny, I never really considered myself a heart person, but these hearts that I have from Gary B Wilson really draw me in.  I have a number of these and I didn’t want to come up with some cutesy design to mimic the heart shape.

As I started to emerge from the darkness of the block, this was not my first design.  That new series of designs will come in future posts and I will wet your appetite with a comment that they are just metal…simple, clean and in my opinion intriguing.

Several days after the break through, Veracity started to flow.  It was just like Mountainesque as far as the channeling and the pen having a mind of its own as I drew the designs.  A New Day was not the first design in the drawings, but it was the first one I decided to make.

I find I am having a love affair with copper and sterling.  Ever since Arts & Crafts Impressions, I have developed a new appreciation for the warmth and richness of copper and sterling combinations.  A New Day did not let me down in that regard.

The stone is Willow Creek Jasper, purchased from Gary B Wilson in April of this year.  I can feel how drawn I am to these stones now…the delicate pastels.  They are beautiful and I think they will remain in my palette.  Of course, I see wonderful scenery in this stone; clouds, a beautiful valley with a river running along the right side of it.  I thought copper was the perfect color accent for this stone.  The silver back plate is meant to accentuate the copper and the stone.  I have oxidized them and sanded the copper so it is bright and pops.  I think that as the copper ages, the color it will assume will also provide an excellent backdrop for this piece.

There are at least another 15 designs in the ‘book‘ so expect to see more of these as I continue to work on this series.

My heartfelt thanks to Dan for his encouragement, support and love during those dark days of the block.  And also my deepest thanks to my sister, Lexi, for all of her nurturing through my dark period too.  You will hear about my break through in a future post where that other series will be unveiled.

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


Ginkgo Branch
Arts & Crafts Impressions
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

I’d like to start this post with wishing everyone a very Happy Mother’s Day.  It is a beautiful, sunny spring day here in Colorado and I hope many of you are able to be out and about, enjoying this day with friends and family.

Ginkgo Branch is a pendant in my new Arts & Crafts Impressions series.  I am happy to report that the new series was well received last weekend at the Arts & Craft’s Society’s Gathering of the Guilds at the Boettcher Mansion.  My Ginkgo earrings were my most popular item and I sold several pairs.  For me, that is a wonderful affirmation of my work.

I thoroughly enjoyed participating the the Gathering of the Guilds.  The people were well informed and interested in learning about each craft-person’s technique.  A few asked me to explain my process for creating the ginkgo leaf earrings I had.  It’s nice to be able to discuss your process with interested parties.

Since I described a bit of my process last weekend at the event, I thought you may enjoy that discussion in this post. Each Ginkgo leaf, in any of these pieces is different.  I cut out a myriad of them as I was working on earrings or pendants as you can see in this photo.

Thank goodness I have that great KnewConcepts saw!  With as tiny as these were, I’ll take all the tool assistance I can find.  In this photo, the leaves have the line textures.  The penny is shown as a point of reference for the size of the leaves. Prior to hammering line textures on these, I had sanded each piece to have a nice smooth, clean surface to accept the textures.

Once the textures were applied, I took each leaf and shaped it using one of those Fretz mini-stakes I discussed in a previous Talkin’ Tools segment.

For the branches, I used Sterling Silver wire.  I did little light forging on the wire ends to flatten them out a bit and shape them.

I soldered the branches together first and then soldered the leaves in place.  The entire process of building these pieces had a series of experiments to figure out what worked best and in what sequence.  It does require pre-planning and forethought before you start putting the components together.


Simply Ginkgo
Arts & Crafts Impressions
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

These little earrings are just fun and make me smile.  They have lots of movement and are very light weight.  I thought you’d enjoy seeing some of the earring variations in this series.  I wanted to have a variety of earring styles that would mix & match well with any of the pendants I created.  I will share more of these in another post.

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

Radiance

Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

I would like to begin this post with my hope that all of you are having a wonderful holiday season.  Dan & I have been enjoying our time with family and friends.  Plus, we’ve had some snow here in Colorado which gave us a white Christmas.

Today I finished this pendant.  Three hearts, of different metals, each with their own textures.  The biggest heart is brass, the middle heart is nickel silver, and the top is copper.  I added a light patina to the brass and the nickel silver to bring out some of the textured effects.  As I looked at this finished piece, it reminds me a bit of the sun and I’ve decided to call this one Radiance.  I think the warmth of the brass with the texture helped to create that effect for me too.

One of the things Lexi has taught me about making jewelry is how important it is to add movement to a piece.  People seem to be attracted to it and I know I certainly am.  These hearts have a lot of movement and make the slightest noise too.  It’s been a fun piece and I’m looking forward to doing more earrings and pendants where there are graduated shapes connected with a single element, like the jump ring here.

It’s so nice to get back to the bench and start working with metal again.  I took a bit of a break over Christmas, but now I’m looking forward to what 2010 holds and what new pieces I’ll create in both metal and my old favorite glass.  For my adventures in glass, you’ll need to visit my other blog, Reflections of a Glass Artist.

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


Zion’s Waterfall of Perseverance

Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Another piece from my Soul Searching Series; I call this one Zion’s Waterfall of Perseverance.  It had quite the journey, creatively speaking, to arrive at this destination!

The stone is an Ohio Flint that I purchased from Michael Hendrix of Minarex.  This was one of the first stones I purchased during the Gem & Mineral Show week in Denver.  Michael had a sneak preview of his works for CoMA members and I took my time looking over the collection of stones he presented.  This one jumped out at me and from the minute I saw it, I could see this lovely waterfall in the center of this.  What I envision as a waterfall in this stone is a very thin, pale blue section and I’m hoping that your various computer monitors will allow you to see the delicate color of the waterfall here.  It immediately reminded me of the scenery Dan & I have enjoyed during our visit to Zion National Park.  This waterfall is gracefully flowing and carving out its place in the deep brown ridges of the stone that surrounds it.  At the bottom I can see the mist rising up as the waterfall completes its journey.  I find it a spectacular stone.

Now this is one of those stones that haunted me during my creative block.  Circle shapes shouldn’t be a big deal to design around, right?  Well, apparently they can cause their own set of design issues.  Lexi guided me and things evolved.

The shape for the setting is more of a rounded square.  I chose a copper setting with sterling silver accents.  The accents came into play after I set the bezel for this stone.  Once I had the bezel soldered in place, I had a problem.  The join for the bezel ends came apart.  But as I looked at it, I saw the design evolving.  Why not open the bezel up even farther and have the stream/mist of the waterfall extend into the setting?  Sure, that will work!  And then I added a silver moon to the right.  Now I have a landscape and I’m luvin’ it.

First I opened up the bezel a little more to show the flow of the stream I see in this stone.  I then rounded the edges of the bezel to follow the gentle curves of the ‘water’ in the stone.  Next, I textured some sterling silver and drew what a felt would be the graceful lines of the stream after the waterfall entered it.  I used my saw to create those gentle lines of the water’s edge in the silver.   I soldered that overlay in place and then trimmed the excess from the side edge with my saw.  I filed the edges smooth and now there is an extension from the ‘water’ in the stone.  The little circle in the upper right is my representational moon.

There’s a simple copper bail on the back to accommodate most necklaces.  In this photo is one of those 50 strand black steel necklaces.  I find them very versatile.

My last step was to add a patina finish.  I’ve been using the new liver of sulpher gel and love the effects.  Once I had the color I wanted on the copper I quickly stopped the patina process.  And I wanted to get back the shiny silver, so I used one of those 3M polishing ‘spiders’ to take the patina off the silver accents.

I think my perseverance paid off and that’s how the title for this piece came to me.  It reminded me of a waterfall in Zion and was also evidence that perseverance pays off!  I hope you enjoyed its journey.

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

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been working on some new earrings to take to Coyote Creek Studio Arts in Fairplay. As a result, I created a new series that I’m calling Nature’s Embrace. These earrings remind me of leaf variations. They provided an opportunity to mix textures and metals. For this series, I am using brass, nickel silver, sterling silver, and copper. I find that each one seems to have a delicate quality.

I’m happy to post the reveal of these today and I hope you enjoy them. I look forward to making more and if any of you are interested in similar ones for your Christmas gift giving, please feel free to contact me.  The photo credits on all of these goes to Dan, of course!

Leaves

Leaves

Approximately 2″ long . Textured Nickel Silver  with Argentium ear wires ~ $30.00

leaf patterns

Leaf Patterns

Approximately 1 1/2″ long.  Textured Brass with brass ear wires ~ $17.50

serenity

Serenity

Approximately 3/4″ long.  Textured Nickel Silver & Copper ~ $15.50

Harmony Leaves

Harmony Leaves

Approximately 1″ long.  Textured Nickel Silver & Copper ~ $20.00

Natures Treasures

Nature's Treasures

Approximately 1″ long.  Textured Sterling Silver & Copper ~ $27.50

Today, Dan & I will be heading to Fairplay for the town’s Arts & Crafts Holiday Celebration. Dan is taking a new framed photograph that will be available for purchase at the gallery too.  And I will be taking these earrings for the holiday shoppers.  If you happen to be in the area, please stop by Coyote Creek for the holiday festivities.  Many of the artists will be at the gallery for a “Meet the Artist”, including Dan & I.  There is a lot of beautiful work in the gallery, including some of Lexi’s!  And Lexi will be there today too, so you would have a chance to meet her and chat.  Wouldn’t that be fun?  😀

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

RainbowsInBronze

My first finished piece using bronze, copper, and silver.  The cabochon is one of my fused crinklized dichroic pieces.  You may notice that the design is not the same as the original piece I was working on….well, that’s because the first one didn’t turn out.  That’s ok, I learn from my mistakes (most of the time ;)) and I think the completed design actually turned out better as a result.  Maybe it was meant to be this way?

Dan took a short video of me soldering the bezel to this piece.  The next time I try this, I will try to do a little more step by step and explanation of the process.  I edited the original clip and condensed it so it would drag on.  Leading up to this point, I decided to add three copper overlays to add some interest to the design. I think it’s just part of my personality as a designer….I have an idea of what I would like, sketch it, and then as it progresses…I see other things that need to be incorporated in the piece.  That seemed to be the case for this piece with the addition of the copper overlays.

In the video, you can see these little pieces of copper sitting on top of the back plate and they are being soldered into place at the same time the bezel is.  Solder flows toward the heat as it melts so at the end of this video, I was trying to direct the solder flow to the outside edge of the bezel to form a complete join between the bezel and the back plate.  I saved the video as a QuickTime movie and for some reason, WordPress will not permit uploading of that file format, so  here’s the short clip of my soldering
linked off my web page.

This is how the base looked after the soldering.  Kind of a mess actually, but I’ve learned that things don’t look pretty until the finishing stage.  I guess that is pretty much normal for most of the work I do, whether it’s glass or metal.  It’s almost like unwrapping a present as I work on the final completion stages.

PostSolderBronzePiece

I cleaned it up, polished it, etc for the final look you see at the top of this post.  I haven’t decided if I want to add a patina too it.  I like seeing the different metal colors and textures.  I used a very subtle texture on the bronze.  I was trying to find something to compliment the texture of the crinklized glass.  And the copper is plain, but I rounded the edges of each overlay to help soften and blend them with the rest of the piece.  The bezel is fine silver.

It’s been a great weekend.  Here’s wishing all of you a wonderful week of creativity.  Strive to be more as an artist and a person.  Until next time…Namaste and Blessings to you.

AngelWingEarrings

Angel Wings

I was doodling this week and this design evolved from those doodles.  I wanted to add a little extra interest so I added tear drops.  The materials used were brass for the wings and copper for the tear drops.  I added a couple of different textures; a piece of fabric created the texture on the wings and the copper tear drops have imprints from one of the flagstones next to the house.  I really like experimenting with textures and thought it would be fun to combine a couple of different textures in the same piece.  I felt it was important that the textures didn’t ‘fight‘ with each other, that is, that they were complimentary rather than two drastic opposites.  I’m happy with how these two metals, with their own textures have blended to create these earrings.

I also experimented with patinas to create the coloration on the metals.  As Lexi has told me, she often goes back and keeps working with the patina of a piece.  I think I will do that here too.  I knew this would happen, but I find it interesting how the patina on the brass is so different from the patina on the copper.  Each metal takes on color differently and with the mixed textures, I’m fairly certain that influences how the patina appears too.

As a final step, I used my dapping block to form a delicate curve on the brass pieces.  This way the wings sort of bow with slight arch.  I like the look.

One of the things I wanted to do with these was work out another design to help me get ready to set glass in earrings.  Size, shape, heaviness all play a role in how I will eventually create earrings from my glass pieces.  These were fun to make and I believe I’ll continue to work on variations of this theme.

Remember, continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person.  Til the next time, happy creating all.

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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