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Yesterday, October 21, 2019, marked 143 days since I left the corporate world and became a full time artist. What made yesterday a bit of a landmark was the start of my new daily schedule to begin work in my studio at 9:00 AM. From the photo you can see the results of my efforts.

143 days ago, I did have a daily schedule and that is highly recommended when you leave the workforce. However in the past few weeks, I realized I needed to adjust that so I had a set time I would be in my studio. As strange as it sounds, I was spending less time in my studio than when I was employed.

Throughout the past months, there have been many projects around our home that have been completed. The discovery of what I could not get to when I was working outside our home has been a bit overwhelming. My husband, Dan, reassured me that it would take time. I love his wisdom and appreciate his help when he is home….you see, he still works full time.

With my schedule change, I can finally take care of what desperately needs attention, including spending more time metalsmithing. I have found that I am busier now than I ever was when working.

I have been away from posting in this blog for quite some time. A lot of changes have occurred since my last post in the summer of 2018. Some I may choose to share, others maybe not. Happily, my life is filled with so many joys, triumphs and challenges. I truly am grateful for all of it, trying to live each day focused in the present moment.

With this quick little post, I wanted to let you know I’m still creating my art. I am joyful and filled with gratitude. My goal is to write more often and to continue to discuss certain aspects of my personal life, my artistic journey, along with some review of tools I am using and why I find them valuable in my studio.

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



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.


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


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.


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



Texture DemoSunday

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.


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


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.



Yes, that’s me. My attire for both days represented what I normally wear in the studio, i.e. clothes that more than likely will have holes because of my pickle solution. The apron was something new, it has my logo and name.  I thought that was a nice touch for marketing my brand.  I will save the apron for special occasions like the Open Studio Tour.  Generally I wear a lab coat or a black apron to help protect my clothing.  Dan asked me to ‘strike the greeting pose’ and as you can see I was ready for the day.  Looking forward to seeing people come visit my studio and see where I work, along with offering some of my finished products.

This year’s tour was even better than last. Thanks to the tour founder, Nancy Bonig, I believe the word spread that the artists participating in the tour really wanted to show people what goes into our process. Metalsmithing requires forethought and attention to detail. If I do something in the fabrication of a piece that is done out of order, well, the piece may be lost.

This year I changed the configuration for my staging area.  I set things up in a “L” shape to allow people to sign up for my mailing list, view a couple of my sketch books along with some inspirational books and magazines I read.  One table had some of my finished product for those who would like to become collectors of my work.

I debuted Treescape earrings during the Open Studio weekend.  I found them to be very popular and by the end of the weekend, a number of these were sold.  Thank you to all who liked them enough to buy a pair.  I am working on more and will share some photos in the near future.

I learned a number of things from last year’s tour.  One thing I found to be important was to let people know, as they walked into our home, that my studio was just down the hallway.

Another thing that I did this year was to have more works in progress.  People really enjoyed seeing everything in stages.  It made things so much easier for me to explain how I fabricate pieces.

Some of the metalsmithing techniques I demonstrated were forging, sawing, hand finishing, piercing, and setting a bezel.  This display showed a few of the materials I use in my work, from sheet metal to some of the cabochon varieties to some of the finishing products like liver of sulphur gel.  I also had another sketch book that showed how a finished piece may not look exactly like the original sketch.  This provided a number of talking points and gave a nice overview of start to finish for a given design.

I met so many interesting people this year.  Their interest in metalsmithing generated some fun and fascinating conversations.  It was a great success for me on many levels.  So many commented about how wonderful it was for the tour artists to open their studios for viewing.  I, for one, hope to be a part of the tour again next year.

A number of people wanted to meet my studio mascots and they happily obliged.  The meeting area for the mascots was our back yard.  With people coming and going, that was a much simpler approach for the dog lovers who came to visit.

My studio mascots, Nocturne, Newton & Quorra.

My soul mate Dan was my main assistant, helper & greeter for the weekend.  On Sunday, another friend and fellow metalsmith, Ginny Maiolo, helped.  My thanks to both of you!

Again, I want to thank everyone who stopped to visit.  An extra special thanks to Nancy Bonig for her tireless efforts to promote the artists, their works and  the tour too.

I just wanted to share a few glimpes of what things where like at my studio.  Let’s see what next year holds in store.

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

Stanley Tools ~ Barbara’s Way Tool Bag

Those of you who know me know my passion for the color purple. I can spot this color from a mile away. Ok, maybe not, but in this case, an aisle away.  🙂

About a month or so ago, Dan & I were doing our weekly shopping and skirting the tool section in our local Wal-Mart when I caught a glimpse of purple down an aisle. At first I thought this was an unusual color to see in a tool section, so it beckoned me to come.

As I approached, I saw this canvas bag, trimmed in more of a lavender than purple, but I’m not one to quibble about that when it’s in my favorite color family. I opened it, saw a number of clever side pockets for storage, inspected the way it was constructed, discovered a handy little side storage pouch, plus another zippered pouch for storage too.  I loved it.  Of course I bought one!

They run about $10 and I don’t think you can beat the value.  It’s pretty awesome as far as I’m concerned.

It’s absolutely perfect for taking the right amount of tools when I go for a lesson at Lexi’s or a workshop at one of the local metal studios.  I could not be happier with this convenient bag to transport tools.  Lexi uses a Plano fishing tackle box and hers is great.  However, they no longer manufacture that model so I tried in vain to find something close to hers.  Well, I found one, that worked sort of, but it was just so frustrating to use and didn’t work well for transporting files, pliers, metal, sand papers, etc.

Now that I have this tool bag, I can pack it as needed for whatever metalsmithing class I’m taking.

This is a view of the inside of mine.  The zippered opening is reinforced with a metal frame so it opens like an old fashioned doctor’s satchel.  Perhaps that’s part of what appealed to me?  It’s great to have that nice wide opening.  From this angle, I’m trying to show the interior side pockets that work well for holding pens, pencils, smaller sheets of metal, pliers, and more.  And some of these side pockets have Velcro to hold things in place.

The bag is approximately 12″ long and I have been able to fit a 12″ ruler in there without any problems.  The opening is roughly 5″ wide so it’s very easy to take things in and out.

This is another pouch that comes with the bag; it fits inside the bag.  I’ve used it for pens and pliers.  There is clear vinyl so you can see what’s inside.  Just a convenient way to know where things are.

Another folding tool holder on the outside.  It’s held in place by Velcro fasteners.  This little side pouch is perfect for holding my files.  You can see I’ve added a little luggage tag with one of my business cards.  Just an easy way to have your identification on the bag.

I just love the convenience of this tool bag system.  It helps keep things well organized in preparation for a traveling to a class or as you are cleaning up after a class.  I find it makes it so simple to inventory what you took and make sure you don’t leave without all of your precious tools!

Stanley also has a line of the hard sided tool boxes in this same family.  I’m tempted, but I don’t really feel I need one in addition to this nice canvas tool carrier.  I’m sure it’s a matter of personal preference.

I have not found these available on Wal-Mart’s website, but they still can be found in their stores…at least our local stores still carry them.  And I’m fairly certain that Stanley tools will help you find a store that carries them as well.  I think they are a pretty valuable addition to the tool arsenal…even if it isn’t a tool, it carries and organizes them very well.

There’s an addendum to add to this post that I know you will enjoy, but that will have to wait until another Talkin’ Tools segment.  For this post, I wanted to focus on Barbara’s Way Tool Bag by Stanley tools.  I highly recommend it.

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

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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