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Photography ~ Daniel Krucoff

Several weeks ago, I was approached to create a piece as a gift for someone who had purchased some of my art jewelry. The people who approached me, knew that this person loved what I did and they wanted to give her a special gift for Bosses Day. I was given free reign to create whatever I liked, because they said I knew what she liked. I was delighted and it was so refreshing to just approach a commission with no restrictions.

I knew that my new Tree-Scapes series would be the right direction. The sweet little stone in this pendant is a Chrysoprase that I had purchased from Gary B. Wilson. It seemed to call to me the loudest of any I had for this piece, so I started sketching as you can see from the photo.  I find I keep returning to variations on this shape as I did in Evening Moon….only with Evening Moon, that backdrop was long and slender.

As I am prone to do, I asked Dan his opinion and he was drawn to the more Oriental shape in the upper right of the sketches pictured.  Me too, BUT I was a little concerned with how I would fabricate this piece.  Well, as I proceeded, it just came together.  Again, I see imagery in the stone.  There is a solitary tree with a mountain as a backdrop.  I was going to carry the mountain into the setting too, but as I worked on it that did not seem right.  So a few tree trunks, some leaves and the frame.  All in sterling silver that has been oxidized to emphasize the details in the metalwork and showcase the stone.

I was so happy with this piece that I knew its recipient would be too.  I can report she loves it and has since told me it is one of her favorites.  As an added affirmation, the people who gave this to her have told me that she wears it almost every day.  Wow.

You just never know when creativity will strike!  Trying to force it to happen, really doesn’t work.  Having the freedom to explore definitely helps.  I am so grateful I can solicit a second opinion from Dan when I’m not completely sure where I want to go.  Relax and it will come.

I have more to do with Tree-Scapes and I am looking forward to where the stones will lead me.

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

The Beginning of Something Wonderful

The photo at the top of this post are a few of the treasures I purchased last week while at the Denver Gem & Mineral Show.  Some are from Gary B Wilson.  Some are from Mark & Christa Lassater of The Clamshell.  I wish that Ken of Rogue Gems would have been there this year as I would love to meet him…I know his work will be a part of my future works too.

Last week, I spent a day at the Denver Gem & Mineral Show with Lexi.  One of those special times I share with Lexi where our respective creative juices are flowing.  Shouts across the booths to each other, come look at this, here is a stone in your color scheme, what do you think of this?, this one is you, you have to get this one…..  I think you get the idea.  We help each other.  We know what each one likes and as we search, we find things that the other may love to incorporate.  And then there are a few twists and turns, along with the surprises.  It’s a real joy to share the day with Lexi at this show.

I knew what I wanted to shop for this year, more so than ever before.  I did my best to avoid the distractions.  Overall I think I did well.  The top photo shows Porcelain Jasper, Dendritic Opals, Sonoran Sunrise, Ocean Jasper and Variscite.  I have a new series in mind thanks to one of these; I’ll start work on it after the Jewelry at the Gardens show.

I was on the hunt for hearts. I think I raided Gary B’s supply. There were some lovelies and I wanted to go for the smaller ones based on client’s requests. These are a few of the new ones and I already have designs completed for them; some petrified palm wood, picasso stone and mystery stones.  What fun!

This weekend will be spent in the studio, working on the hearts that are part of  the Veracity series, along with some new additions to Mountainesque.  I’m excited, energized to be working with new stones on current series that will be ready for Jewelry at the Gardens.

Isn’t that part of what art is all about?  The thrill of creating new things?  As artists, I think we are always looking for something new & different.  I know I am.

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

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.

Soul Searching Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

With this piece, I am revisiting my Soul Searching Series. It has been a while. In my quest to find other ways to fabricate my work, I envisioned a slightly different way of bringing two elements together. I think part of this came from my previous wire wrapping experience. When I wire wrapped cabochons, I never really set out with a pattern in mind. It was an adventure to see where the wire would take me and how the cabochon would signal the wire’s path.

Originally, I set out to create my first hinged pendant with this one.  As happens with some of those first efforts, one learns but doesn’t always succeed.  I wanted to salvage the components I had already completed and re-worked things which led to this design.  I think this is part of the reason I’m known as ‘da fixer‘ in my metalsmithing circle of friends.

I realize it may be a bit difficult to see in the photo, but I’ll try to describe the connection variation I used.  I forged a bit of wire, wrapped it to form a multi-circle loop that allowed the bottom connector to pass through.  With my Arts & Crafts Impressions, I started incorporating some copper elements.  It seemed like this piece was a likely candidate for a few copper elements to enhance that pale peach/pink section of the top stone.  The top copper accent on the bail is intended to carry the ‘scene’ from the top stone.  The copper circle place on the connection was a just because I liked the idea.

The stones are India Jasper (top) and Chrysoprase (bottom) which I purchased from Gary B Wilson in April this year.  I go through this process when I’m getting ready to work on something new; look at the stones, touch them, see what calls out. The pairing of these two just clicked.  This was the first time I added pale greens to my palette and I was drawn to a number of these when Gary was in Denver.  Set in sterling silver with the aforementioned copper accents.  Textured some of the metal components and oxidized with liver of sulfur.

It’s a small change in direction, which I plan to continue to explore.  I’m quite fond of my Soul Searching Series and from time to time there will be those new works that are destined to become part of that series.  Just as I feel that I am destined to “develop things according to plan”.

Well, I guess I’ve dropped enough hints about the title of this piece….it is Destined.  For me, it represents a promise of things to come, things that are destined to happen with my work.

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

Mountain De Fuego
Mountainesque Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Fuego, the Spanish word for Fire. This Sonoran Sunrise looked so fiery to me; it was as if the mountain in this stone was on fire. Sure, I considered Fire Mountain as its title, but that just didn’t do the piece justice in my mind. I liked the sound of Mountain De Fuego.

The stone is another one of those beauties from Gary B. Wilson.  It’s hard to miss the quality of Gary’s work.  As a matter of fact, I added more of his work to my inventory in the past week.  I’ve got some great ideas for the latest batch of stones.

Mountain De Fuego continues with the theme of the Mountainesque Series, where mountain shapes are carried into the setting.  It’s a big, bold piece with a lot of silver.  Yes, silver is continuing to rise in price.  Who really knows how high the price of silver will go and when it will seek its level like water.  One thing is for certain, something has to give.

I love using silver in my pieces. I’ve started to work some with copper and silver combinations and I do find the blending of the two to be quite attractive. Yet, I think you will find that I will continue to work with silver as I have.  At least that is my hope.

An added bonus with today’s post is Mountain De Fuego is being featured on Facebook by Kim Hatzold of Untamed Spirit Studios.  This is the second time Kim has given a shout out about my work.  She writes some great articles about stones, how people use them and more.  Consider becoming a fan of Untamed Spirit Studios, I am!  And check out more of Kim’s work on her website too.

Time to head back to the studio.  Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

Distant Mountains
Mountainesque Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Where do I start? Another in my Mountainesque Series.  I find my inspiration and title in the stone.  Another beautiful Sonoran Sunrise from Gary B Wilson.  There is a very rich rusty red in this stone.  As you look at the center of it there is a goldish band that looked like Distant Mountains to me.  The shapes of mountains form the back drop in the sterling silver setting.  As I designed the setting for this piece, that free flowing movement in creating the surrounding mountain shapes just came naturally.  It’s becoming a bit of an endorphin high for me as I create the designs and follow through with the creation of the piece.  Love it!

I’ve had to take a small break from working on my Mountainesque Series because I am preparing for an event that takes place on May 1st.  I will be posting details about the event and the new works in another week or so.  Preparing for this event became a bit of design challenge for me and I actually have a new series as a result.  Stay tuned …. I think you will like this new direction.

For now, I will leave you with Distant Mountains.  Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

Red Mountain
Mountainesque Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Another in my Mountainesque Series.  You know me, I see scenes in the stones. This stone is a beautiful, vibrant red jasper.  Another that I purchased from Gary B Wilson.

I designed this one in that moment of creative flow I experienced in January.  It was a very exhilarating.  Picking up one stone after another and just sketching away.  Sometimes it felt hard to keep up with all the imagery.  Do any of you experience that when you are in that zen moment of the creative zone?

To the left side of the stone, I see a side profile of a snow capped mountain.  It almost reminds me of some of those exquisite Japanese paintings of mountains.  A bit old fashioned.  Looking into the past.  I can assure you that the red in the stone is as rich and lush as the photo shows.  It truly is striking.  With all that red, it seemed that Red Mountain is the right title for this piece.

The surrounding sterling backplate has the ebb and flow of mountains to compliment the one I see in this stone.  I oxidized the sterling and polished all the little silver balls so they could stand out from the rest of the sterling.  If you look closely, you will see that this time I added a few holes to accompany the silver balls.

I’m continuing to work on this series, along with another series that is more in the Arts & Crafts style.  I hope to debut a few of those new pieces in another week or two.

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.

Harvest Moon
Soul Searching Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

It’s the wrong time of the year for a Harvest Moon, yet I kept seeing this rich orange moon in the carnelian stone that is the top of this pendant. I almost thought this would be my first “Untitled Piece”, but that little voice in my head kept saying Harvest Moon. This one is part of my Soul Searching Series. It just fits.

The stones are from Gary B Wilson. The tongue is petrified oak. It’s a rich brown with a number of interesting variations. The top stone has already been named, it’s a carnelian in a lovely shade of rust/orange. This piece is very earthy and I guess that’s part of the reason why I couldn’t shake the title it has.

Set in sterling silver that I’ve oxidized. I’m very fond of these 2 piece pendants, connected by three jump rings.

Perhaps, as I think about the extra twilight lighting that the Harvest Moon provides, the concept of new beginnings resonates with me.  It revolves around that last day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of the autumn season that the Harvest Moon signals.

Those are my thoughts about this one and why it became part of my Soul Searching Series.

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

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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