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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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Happy almost summer everyone!  There is so much going on that I wanted to share what I consider to be ‘important things to remember‘.  So here goes…..

Invest in yourself.  Continuing to learn and grow is an essential part of who I am.  I am a firm believer in investing in yourself.  At the end of May, I was joined by a group of fellow metalsmith friends and  took Chris Nelson’s three day Ferrous Musing workshop.  What a blast and wonderful educational experience.  We learned how to fuse gold to iron.  It is an amazing process and there are so many ways to expand our work with this technique.

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Left to Right, Frank Maiolo, Ginny Maiolo, Chris Nelson, Jodie Bliss, Sandy Murphy and me (Kathleen Krucoff)

In attendance were artists/friends I have known for a long time, Ginny & Frank Maiolo (Monument Moon Studio), Sandy Harris Murphy and Jodie Bliss.  We are calling ourselves the Monument Chapter of the Ferrous Musing Gang.  Our respective works are as diverse as our personalities.  Chris had just finished speaking at the Santa Fe Symposium and was brimming with tons of ideas and information for us.

This is the first piece I completed during the workshop. I am happy to report that I have more pieces in the works too.

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For all you metalsmiths out there, this is a great workshop.  Our gang plans on taking another workshop with Chris once we hone our skills from this one.  Points of interest on this workshop, Chris covers salt water etching, tool making (chisels for creating your unique textures on metal), fluxes, patinas, pickle, alloying and fusing gold.  Well worth the price of admission and then some.  I believe we all felt we would only be limited by our own imagination.

Be an active participant.  Get involved in your community.  If you are an artist, I strongly recommend participating in local events and getting to know your fellow artists.  This week has a couple of special events that are near and dear to my heart.

  • Art Hop, Monument, CO.  June 19th is the Third Thursday of the month and Art Hop will be in full swing.  Nancy Bonig and I will be at Santa Fe Trail Jewelry from 5 – 8 PM.  Each of us will be doing demos of  at least one of the techniques we use in our respective works.  I can promise this will be fun!  Ginny, Frank and Jodie will be over at Jodie Bliss’ Studio too.  One of the threads that ties all of us together is we are artists in this year’s Front Range Open Studios.  Stop by and visit with us.

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  • The Glass Elements Show, Manitou Springs, CO.  Opening reception for this show is Friday, June 20th from 5 – 8 PM.  Show location is the Manitou Art Center, 513 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, CO.  This exhibit runs through August 10th.  An added bonus is several of us have created works from the glass remnants found from last year’s Black Forest Fire.  I have seen some of the works and I can tell you this is a very special show.

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Remember the pickle pot.  I have to leave you with something humorous.  I guess some people wouldn’t share their mistakes.  I have learned to laugh at myself and I am grateful for this; my philosophy is life is too short to take yourself too seriously.

After learning so much in the Chris Nelson workshop, I had to purchase a number of things so I could start to use the new technique.   New items in my studio are:

  • A new torch set up, including new fuel tanks.
  • A new work station area.
  • Different flux & pickle (the acid solution to clean your metal).

Sunday I was finishing up my preparations to have everything ready for the new process.  Time to fire up the new torch.  Well, that was a disaster which will be the subject of another blog post!  I’ll leave it at, no fire or undo harm occurred to me or my studio.  I just needed to master the lighting and use of the new torch.  As with all things, practice is essential and important.

I eventually did managed to fuse gold and put the items in my newly prepared pickle for cleaning.  I now have 2 separate pickle pots, each with a different cleaning agent.  We had been warned not to leave things in the iron/gold solution too long as all could be lost, i.e., consumed by the pickle!  I set a timer so I wouldn’t forget, pulled my pieces out and they looked awful….a tangled, globby mess of junk.  I was frustrated.  This on top of the anxiety I had experienced with a new torch/gas set up was too much.  As I will do when things are not going well, I turned everything off, slowly backed out of the studio and closed the door.  Securing a glass of wine in one hand, I found a spot on the couch and snuggled with a loving basset hound to nurse my perceived wounds.

Monday evening a practice run with the torch proved successful!  One hurdle tackled.  On to the pickle pot.  I had turned it on so the solution could heat as I was going to place my pieces in it again to attempt to clean them one more time.  This time I decided to check how warm the pot was, felt the side and it was cold.  It was at that point that the light dawned….I may have turned the pot on, BUT since it was a new pot, I had NOT PLUGGED IT INTO THE SOCKET!  In the words of Homer Simpson, “DOH!!!!”

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Pot plugged in, solution warmed, pieces submerged.  The appropriate amount of time later, pieces were cleaned!

There are several morals to this story.

  1. When you are having problems, making mistakes, I have found it is best to stop and retreat.  Get some rest and come back to it another day if at all possible.
  2. Retrace your steps.  Never assume (ya, I think we’ve all seen that diagram of the word assume).
  3. And yes, it is just as important to turn your pickle pot on (check the power supply to the pot) as it is to turn it off.

In the very near future, I will be writing a blog post about my new Meco torch, an oxygen/acetylene set up.  Given how limited information was on the web about this, I will review and with Dan’s help, post a video on important aspects about this type of system.

Until next time, (hope to see you at some of the local events), aspire to be more as a person and an artist.

 

 

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Luma at The Broadmoor
1 Lake Avenue
Colorado Springs CO 80906

I am very happy and honored to announce that my work is now available at Luma located at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.  I had the good fortune to meet Cathy Coleman, owner of Luma, during this year’s Front Range Open Studios Tour.

First, let me express my heartfelt thanks to the tireless efforts of the tour founder, Nancy Bonig, who promotes the artists on the tour with a passion that is uniquely hers.  Nancy, your efforts for all of us is greatly appreciated.

You see Nancy visits numerous merchants in Tri-Lakes and Colorado Springs, where she knows people would be interested in the artists on the tour.  As a result, many of us are visited on the tour weekend by people looking to find new artists, see the quality of our work and explore our studio spaces.  They want to see and hear what we do.  I thoroughly enjoyed discussing my love of working with metal and creating my art.  The tour gives me a chance to show people my studio, the tools I use to create my work and demonstrate a few of the techniques.  It is a blast to see their expressions when they start to understand what goes into creating artwork.

During the tour weekend, Cathy and her associates stopped by my studio.  We visited, she liked my body of work and her friends bought a couple of my earrings.  She wanted to represent me, we made arrangements to get together and it became official on October 17, 2013!

Yesterday afternoon I delivered my first group of items.  Let me tell you, Luma is a beautiful, upscale gallery located at The Broadmoor.  Classy, elegant and stylish sums up the variety of art works Cathy has selected for Luma.  I am so grateful for this opportunity and look forward to our collaboration.

LumaColoradoSectionMy work will be in this section of the Luma gallery.  This is a dream come true for me as another one of my goals has been achieved.

If you live in the area or ever have the pleasure of staying or visiting The Broadmoor, please stop by Luma and see all the wonderful works of art.  Oh yes, and please check out the “Made in Colorado” area as I’m sure it will delight; look for my Treescapes too.

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Treescapes #1047
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

This is one of my new Treescape pendants available at Luma.  It is a Burro Creek Jasper set in oxidized sterling silver. The soft mauve tones in the stone made me want to play with the oxidation colors for the metal so they would give  the right color compliment.  I added a bark like texture to the bail and kept with the Oriental theme of this series with just the top curve that reminds me of a Pagoda.

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There are Treescape earrings like the ones pictured above, along with a nice selection of Express Yourself (with a little touch of Colorado) earrings similar to the pair pictured below.

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I had the pleasure of meeting the gallery mascot, Andie, who is a friendly little Schnauzer that wins the hearts of everyone she meets.  She may have more fans than any of us, but as you know, I am terribly fond of animals as I find they add so much to the quality of our lives.

Every year, something wonderful comes from being a part of the Front Range Open Studios.  You never know when you will meet someone and opportunity knocks.  Thank you Nancy for the work you do for all of us who are part of your tour.  And thank you Cathy for visiting my studio and inviting me to be a part of your gallery.

Dreams do come true.  Hard work does pay off.  Set goals and diligently work to achieve them.

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

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Express Yourself with Silver Leaves
All photos by Daniel Krucoff

Just a quick reminder, this weekend is the Front Range Open Studios Tour.   Saturday, 9/14 from 10 AM – 6 PM and Sunday, 9/15 from 11 AM – 5 PM. Click here for the map to all the studios on the tour.

Now I want to share with you what will be happening at my studio this weekend.  I also wanted to give you a sneak preview of a few of the new works I will be introducing.

The Express Yourself Earrings, pictured at the top of this post have the new leaf variation in silver with a curly, vine-like stem.  The stones above the pearl are Picasso Stones and are put together to resemble cairn trail markers.  All of this symbolizes the true Colorado spirit I have wanted to achieve with this line.

I will also be introducing a new Treescape earring with a touch of gold.  The tube sets on these are 14kt gold with gemstones like Amethysts as shown in this pair.

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There are a number of new Treescape pendants, with colorful patinas like this one.

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As discussed in an earlier blog post, I will be providing an opportunity for visitors to discover their inner artist by creating a pair of earrings from components I am providing.  The cost of the earrings will vary depending on the components selected.

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Earring components

 Of course I will help with assembling the earrings.  The added fun to all of this is a visitor can leave with earrings they created.  The next two sets of earrings are examples of what someone can create for themselves.
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As I have done in previous years, I will be demonstrating a variety of metalsmithing techniques, discussing my creative process and showing you my studio where the real magic happens for me when I create.  I hope you will visit me and the other artists on this year’s tour.

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

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As August draws to a close, I am preparing my studio for all the visitors I hope will come to see me demonstrate metalworking on the weekend of the Front Range Open Studios Tour.

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My studio has undergone a transformation over the past few months; some rearranging and redecorating.  Out with the old, in with the new.  I have made a lot of changes to my studio space to give me more room, better organization and a nice open feeling.  I can finally see the top of my bench, which is inspiring in and of itself!  On the peg board above my bench, you can see an assortment of Fretz Hammers and even the new jeweler’s saw by Sobaone.

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I have new tools and new projects.  Meet my new rolling mill, a Durston….I keep referring to it as a rolling mill on steroids!  Of course there is my trusty Cliff Carroll anvil, along with my Shark Bite hydraulic press.  Plus an assortment of hammers from N C Black & Co.  Yes, I do like my tools.

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Several additions to my tool repertoire are my bench shear by Accucutter and a Craftsman drill press.

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Certainly, no metalsmithing studio is complete without the solder station area.  Safety is a must here.

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For this year’s tour, I am doing something  that I hope will be fun for the visitors, get them involved and wake up their inner creative spirit!  I am providing an opportunity for people to create their own earring designs from an assortment of components I’ve made.  Shown below is just a sampling of a few of the earring components people can choose from.  Prices for the completed earrings will vary depending on what is selected.

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And yes, there is a basset hound in the background, because nothing is done in my studio without basset supervision.  Or as Dan likes to put it, everything is easier with a basset around!

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These are a few examples of the type of earrings someone can design.  I thought this would be a great way for people to awaken their inner artist.  What do you think?

This is my third year on the tour.  It continues to grow and change like a vital, energized living being.  There are so many talented artists on this year’s tour.  I am just delighted and humbled to be be a part of this group again.  Like me, a number of this year’s artists have surprises in store for those visitors to our studios.

Of course, I will be demonstrating various metalsmithing techniques throughout the weekend.  Metal piercings, like I use to create the trees in my Treescape series, texturing, stone setting, soldering and more.  My goal is to walk people through the fabrication process via a pictorial overview, accompanied by a variety demos I will perform.

All of us are very excited about this year’s tour and the potential for people to learn more about our work and our process.

Just in case more enticement was needed to visit my studio, I will be introducing my newest studio mascot, Thorin.

Thor11WeeksCallaway’s Thorin Oakenshield (aka Thor)

Now if a cute, not so little, basset hound puppy won’t get you in the car to come over to my studio, I’m not sure what will!

Click here for the map, with directions, for all the artist studios on the tour…including mine.  And look for the bright yellow directional signs with the tour logo to help you find an artist’s location.

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I welcome you to join me and my fellow artists for these 2 days in September when we open our studios to the public.

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

Once again I am part of the Front Range Open Studios tour, which takes place this Saturday and Sunday.

This year I will be showing the various stages that a piece goes through from design to fabrication to completion.  I hope that visitors to my studio will find my demos interesting and informative.

What a great opportunity to visit working artist’s studios, see the work and even have a chance to buy some of their works.

Here’s the link to an online map showing all the artist’s studios.

If you live in the Colorado Springs area, I hope you’ll be able to stop by and visit us.

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

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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