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Green Mountain Falls
Mountainesque Series
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

“Listening attentively. Waiting expectantly” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach, January 26th in the book Simple Abundance.  I am reading the book, Simple Abundance, again this year.  I find the daily readings are very helpful with my artwork and life in general.  This particular quote  resonated with me.  I feel that as I listen attentively to the creative channel, wait expectantly, designs do present themselves to me in my mind’s eye.  Green Mountain Falls is one of those that came to me.

Green Mountain Falls is a variation in my Mountainesque Series.  The main stone is Variscite and the top stone is a Belvedee Jasper.  Both were purchased from Gary B. Wilson.  Again, I have a tendency to see things in the stones.  This time, I saw a lovely waterfall as a starting point in the Belvedee Jasper. I felt that stone provided a nice compliment and contrast to the lighter colors in the Variscite. There are ever so slight mountain type formations at the bottom of the Variscite too, so Mountainesque came to mind.

One of my current goals is to experiment with how things are joined and this piece is the result of one of those experiments.  I textured and added 24kt gold Keum Boo to the ‘tongue’ attachment that joined the top component to the bottom one.  I really wanted the beauty of these stones to just speak for themselves.  As a result, I trimmed the setting of the top stone to just be flush and not expose any of the sterling black plate as an additional decorator.    A bit of the mountain carried through to the Keum Boo application.  The sterling has been oxidized to help showcase both of the stones.

You may be wondering about the Pinterest button underneath the photo.  I’m a member of Pinterest and I have found it a fun way to promote others work and mine.  If you like this piece, just click the Pinterest button to ‘pin it’ to their site.  Feel free to follow my ‘pins’ on Pinterest too.  I plan on adding Pinterest buttons to any of my blog posts where I think I may be relevant to pin a photo to Pinterest.

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.

Can you believe it’s September?  Next weekend is the Castle Rock Art Festival in downtown Castle Rock, Colorado. This will be my first big fine art festival. Lexi generously offered to share her booth with me if we both got juried into the show. Well, Lexi has done the show for the past two years and I had no doubt she would be juried back into the show this year.  She was. Lexi’s first year in the show she won Best Fine Crafts. I was less than confident about being accepted into the Artfest, but I submitted photos of my latest works, the Mouontainesque Series, and ponied up…holding my breath….  To my delight and surprise, I received the acceptance notice back in May. There was that feeling of euphoria knowing that my work made it into this show and to be able to do this show with Lexi will be a real joy.

There are lots of wonderful artists doing this show.  To see the complete list, check the Artfest site here.  Lexi & I will be in booth number 152.  I will finally meet one of Lexi’s dear friends, Mary Sharp-Davis, whose booth will be next to ours.  I have seen Mary’s work and it is just stunning.  Her work encompasses ceramics and jewelry.  I can’t wait.

Then there’s our friend Julie Jerman-Melka, another gifted and talented metalsmith, with her beautiful river stone and raw diamond pieces.  You can find Julie at booth #98.

Lexi will have more of her delightful Shamans inspired by her work as an archeologist.  I gotta tell you, these guys truly define art jewelry in my mind.

I have two more new series that I will be debuting at this show.  Veracity and another that I have called Elements.  The show runs from 9 AM – 6 PM on Saturday the 10th, and on Sunday the 11th, the hours are from 9 AM – 5 PM.

One of the many things I enjoy about this show, having been an attendee in previous years, is how well-organized it is.  There’s plenty of parking at the Douglas County Fairgrounds and the city runs complimentary bus shuttles to the event location on a fairly regular basis.  Admission is only $5.  There’s something for everyone.

One of the biggest ‘hazards‘ that I find at a show of this caliber is I’m going to be so tempted to buy from a number of the talented artists that will be there.  🙂

Let’s hope that our Colorado weather will be wonderful rather than filled with surprises.  If you live in the area, I hope you will stop by.

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

For this week’s Talkin’ Tools segment, I thought I would talk about one of the handiest tools I have in my studio…tweezers!  I have 2 pairs of these. I keep one at my work bench and the other at my soldering station. These are my favorites because of the extra sharp, pointed tips.

Yes I do have other tweezers that I use, but none of them work as well as this particular one.

Frequently I need to pick up tiny pieces of metal or wire as I am fabricating my work.  Because they have such great pointy tips, I can easily pick up the smallest of things.  At the solder station, I use them for placing tiny pieces of solder or little silver balls that I will solder into place like the ones you have seen in Mountainesque.  Here’s an example:

Red Mountain
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

When I try to pick up super small things, I find it pretty difficult to do so with my fingers.  There are times when a tool makes your work easier and these tweezers certainly are a great asset for small, tiny pieces.  I can position things exactly where I want them and not fumble for a few minutes trying to get things into their proper place.  If you look at how small some of the decorative silver balls are on Red Mountain, I think that helps put the use of these tweezers into perspective.  They are a great assistant in the studio.

I purchased mine from Indian Jewelry Supply.  If you look closely, you can see the part number is still taped to them.  If you can’t read it, the item number is 249-T401MM for Indian Jewelry Supply part list.

What are some of your favorite tools that you use daily in your studios?

That concludes this week’s segment of Talkin’ Tools.  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.



Mountain Valley
Mountainesque Series
Photo credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Another piece from my Mountainesque Series.  It’s similar to the two piece styles you have seen in my Soul Searching and Timeless Series, however, when you click on the photo to see the larger view, you will be able to see the mountain outline at the top of the lower piece.

Sonoran Sunrise stones where used for both components.  This is one of Dan’s favorites out of this current series.

The reason I have called this one Mountain Valley is because of the imagery I see in the lower stone.  A rich red sky at sunset, with the outline of two mountain peaks and the green, lush valley below.

As you could probably tell from my previous post about Mountainesque, I’m having so much fun coming up with designs for this new series.  My goal was to have 25 – 30 pieces completed by the end of this month, however, I fell short of that target.  Rest assured, there are more in the works and I’m confident I’ll have 25 – 30 piece finished by the end of February.

Thanks for your time and interest in my work.  I always enjoy your feedback.

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

Uncharted Territory
Mountainesque Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

With this piece, I’m debuting one of my new series for 2011, Mountainesque.  Why Mountainesque?  I hope to explain some of that here in this post.  I love mountains.  They are picturesque and for the name of this series, I blended the words Mountains and Picturesque.

In one of my last posts of 2010, I indicated that this year my Quest is to embrace the challenge of self-discovery and personal growth.  Lexi is joining me in that Quest and I believe we are helping each other on this path to discovery.  My personal word for this year is to be Fully Engaged and I believe this new series is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being fully engaged in creating my Art Jewelry.

During the week between Christmas and New Years, I felt as though I was in a ‘waiting state’.  I was reading books, listening to music, watching movies and just trying to relax my mind and actually tap into that creative channel.  Lexi and I had a day where we just discussed the things we cherished, making art, our own directions. I knew the groundwork was being laid, but I just didn’t know where or when the spark was going to occur for me.  And then it happened and it all made sense.  It had been right in front of me and I just didn’t see it until a scene in a movie clicked with me.

I was half watching the movie Wolverine while I was doing things in the studio.  There’s a scene where snow covered mountains are part of the backdrop.  Those mountains reminded me of the Tetons.  I’m surrounded by photographs Dan has taken of them during our vacations.

The Grand Tetons At Snake River

I love the Tetons. I love mountains! Growing up in Illinois, surrounded by corn fields….well, mountains were/are my sirens.  As a footnote, I will add that I have come to appreciate the beauty associated with corn fields, but for me they fall short of the rugged majesty of mountain ranges. Why couldn’t I do something that reflected how I felt about mountains? I have never been more at peace than when I’m taking in the beauty of the Tetons.

I had been drinking in the view of the Tetons while Dan was photographing them, then I felt I was being watched (you know that sensation, don’t you?) and as I turned to look, Dan took this picture of me.

As I looked through my stones, it was as if I really saw what was going on in the Sonoran Sunrises (Cuprite / Chrysocolla). I saw beautiful, rugged mountain scenes! Yes, put together a series with Sonorans and silver mountain shapes. The mountain shapes can be on the side, at the bottom, the top, it really doesn’t matter, just include the graceful shape of a mountain outline.  Yes, that’s it!

I turned on music, our Zen channel. I drew one design after another. No shaky lines, it’s as if my hand was being guided. I’d pick up a stone, look at it and draw the shape. It felt amazing. I knew I had tapped into the channel. I just kept going. Generally, I would have the design in the first or second sketch.  Everything just fell into place.

Uncharted Territory was one of the first ones I drew. For me, this truly was uncharted territory. It felt real, genuine, right. I didn’t question or hesitate, I just kept going. And I’m still going with new pieces waiting for me to get to the bench to work on them. Right now I have 5 completed and there are designs for another 10 or more. I’ve even started to incorporate red jaspers in this line.

This is something I’ve never fully experienced until now. It’s amazing and I’m certain many of you have experienced this and for those of you who haven’t, my advice is to keep trying, keep working, and just wait until you tap into that creative channel, because it is real and it will happen.

There you have it.  My love of mountains, surrounded by Dan’s photographs of them, living near them and seeing them everyday….it was right there, in front of me all that time and I finally saw it….just by that 3 second clip from a movie I was barely paying much attention to….I always have something running in the background as I work in the studio.

You never know where your next idea will come from or how, but I truly believe the most important thing is that you are open to receive it when it comes.

I’ll leave you with one more from this new series, which I call Safe Passage.

Safe Passage
Mountainesque Series
Photo credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

As this line continues to grow and develop, I will post photos and details.

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

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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