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For the past 5 years, I have been one of the artists of the Front Range Open Studios. Doors have been opened, new friendships have occurred and I have had the pleasure of working with the most enthusiastic, energetic founder of the studio tours, Nancy Bonig, who inspires me and is a great friend.

Each year, Nancy opens her home for us and hosts a Customer Appreciation Party for all of you who have supported us by becoming fans and purchasing our work. It is a private, invitation only event. Yet I wanted to share this here for those who are not part of my mailing list (you can sign up here) and may live in the Tri-Lakes area of Colorado. We want to thank you and invite you to this event too.

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As you can see, I will be joined by 5 other artists from the tour. We will have some unique works, some at special pricing, as our way of thanking you.

Please come and enjoy the festive atmosphere and holiday treats. We love talking about our process, our latest works and art in general.

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May your Holiday Season be bright, filled with love and laughter.

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

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Botanicals ~ Ginkgo Leaves; 22Kt Gold fused to Steel
Photo credit: Dan Krucoff

September brings a change in seasons here in Colorado. The temperatures have already started to cool in anticipation of fall. Trees are even starting to change color. I love this season. And with September comes the Front Range Open Studios!

SignLook for these colorful signs to guide you to the 16 artist studios on this year’s tour.  I am delighted to be returning to the tour, now in its 4th year.  So many creatives, sharing what they do and opening their studios to the public during the weekend of September 13 – 14, 2014.

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Botanicals ~ Aspen Leaves; Sterling Silver
Photo credit: Daniel Krucoff

During this year’s tour weekend,  I will be demonstrating a metalsmithing technique known as Chasing and Repousse.  I took a 5 day workshop this summer from Il Maestro Fabrizio Acquafresca.  What a wonderful experience and it has opened so many possibilities for me in my work.

The cuff shown at the top of this post is a combination of techniques; Chasing and Repousse, plus fused gold to steel.  My husband Dan had a great idea to video my work on this cuff, from start to finish.  Here’s a sneak preview of that video.

If you visit my studio during the tour weekend, the video of this piece’s fabrication will be playing (except during the Bronco game on Sunday).  Throughout the days on Saturday and Sunday, I will be demonstrating Chasing and Repousse, the Italian way.  My goal is to share how this technique can be utilized to create wonderful forms of personal adornment.

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I will also be debuting a number of Aspen leaf earrings, like this pair.  Fused 22Kt gold to steel.  The movement in these reminds me of the way the Aspens in our back yard move as the wind blows.  As a matter of fact, several of the young Aspen leaves from this spring served as patterns for the earrings.

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This is the map to our studios.  Click on the map or this link for the online information showing where our studios are located. My studio is lucky #13!

In addition to all of this, we have the Zentangle Challenge!

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What are Zentangles? They are a form of creative doodling.  The ‘zen’ part is the calm, relaxing sensation one experiences during this form of self-expression.  Anyone can do it.

Ten artists on the tour have either incorporated Zentangles into their work or have examples as inspiration in their work space.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find all ten artist locations where the Zentangles exist.  When you find them, circle or star the location on the studio brochure (that is your entry form for this contest).  Once you have identified all ten locations, you can leave your completed brochure at any tour studio.  Please include your name, email and phone number so we will know how to contact you if your name is drawn as the winner.  The prize, a gallery quality dichroic  glass platter by Nancy Bonig Glass Studio!

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The weather forecast is wonderful for this weekend, with a hint of coolness and that means I might make a batch of spiced cider for people who visit me.

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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Please accept this invitation to come and celebrate the Holidays with nine of this year’s Front Range Open Studios artists this coming weekend at Nancy Bonig’s Glass Studio.  We want to show our appreciation to you for your support of the arts.  There will be holiday treats, eggnog, spiced cider and more.  All of us will be offering our works at special pricing if you would like to do some shopping while you enjoy the festivities.

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Here’s a preview of my display.

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This weekend is going to be a chilly one, so why not escape into the world of nine artists?  I can promise you it will be enchanting.

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Wishing you the happiest of Holiday Seasons!  Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!

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

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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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Treescapes – Dendritic Opal
Photo – Daniel Krucoff

It’s been quite a summer so far.  I feel like I have been noticeably absence from writing about my metalwork and I have lots to share.


Day 1 – Black Forest Fire, the view to the south from our back yard.

As some of you know, we were evacuated for 5 days during the Black Forest Fire in June.   I wrote a bit about the experience in my other blog, if you would like to read more about that experience, click here.  Thankfully, we returned to our home which was undamaged.


Our beautiful girl Nocturne, with the red velvet ears.

Shortly after that, our oldest Basset Hound, Nocturne, passed away.  I wrote a tribute to her, with some of the pictures that told a bit of her life story.  You can read the tribute by clicking here.

Those two events felt like a double whammy.  To be quite honest, I had no real desire to return to my studio and work.  It took a while.  Longer than I would have thought.  Yet friends who went through the Waldo Canyon Fire a year ago said what I was feeling was quiet normal.  So, I waited until things settled.  Waiting for the new normal to begin.  Our lives had been turned upside down.  Healing of the spirit needed to occur.  Thankfully, I can tell you that it has.

I didn’t return to my studio until this month.  My first creative stirrings began when I started to clear and declutter my bench.  Prior to the evacuation, I had enjoyed a burst of creativity and the top of my bench was covered with the evidence of that flurry of activity.  Clearing things felt good.

The fire became a motivator to eliminate things that are not used anymore.  I am in the process of selling equipment and supplies related to my fused glass work as I’m no longer working in that medium.  I feel like I need a fresh start; a complete rework and reordering of what is necessary.

Once I returned to the studio, I started to work on completing a number of projects I had started.  Those include items in my current Treescapes and Express Yourself series.  I thought I would share a few of the completed pieces, along with other news.

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Treescapes – Porcelain Jasper
Photo – Daniel Krucoff

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Express Yourself with a Little Touch of Colorado
Photo – Daniel Krucoff

This summer I’ve been participating in Monument’s Art Hop at Santa Fe Trail Jewelry in Monument, CO.  Art Hop in Monument takes place on the third Thursday of the month.  Those have been wonderful experiences for me.  I get to spend time with my friends Marylee Reisig (who owns Santa Fe Trail Jewelry) and Nancy Bonig (Glass Artist extraordinaire!).  These art events have given me a chance to talk with so many people about my work.  I’m very grateful for all of the new connections.

In September, I will be part of the Front Range Open Studios tour again.  It’s the third year for the tour and each year just gets better.  My friend Nancy Bonig does such a terrific job promoting the artists and the tour.  It continues to grow thanks to her efforts.  More details to come….. in the meantime, if you go to the tour facebook page and ‘Like’ them, you will get details on surprises the artists have in store for this year.  This year I plan to do something a bit different on the tour.  In addition to demonstrating some of my metalsmithing techniques, I thought it would be fun to let people pick and choose components for making their own earrings.  I will help them put things together and they get to leave with a pair of earrings of their very own design.  How many of you would find that fun to do?  I often post updates about my progress, new works and ideas on my Facebook fan page, so if you haven’t ‘Liked’ my page, I would encourage you do do so.

And now, I am happy to share the best news I have had throughout this very eventful summer….this beautiful basset puppy with be joining our family after Labor Day.

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Callaway’s Thorin Oakenshield
Thorin, aka Thor

This is Thorin, named after one of our favorite dwarfs in The Hobbit.  We have been told that he has quite the personality.  He’s a character, is the only boy in the litter so he believes he is very special (and I can tell you we already think he is extremely special).  Some fun facts, coincidences about him…..he was born on June 10, the same date that our beloved Bueller was born 13 years ago.  And he has a beautiful red dot on the top of his head, just like our sweet Little Miss Nocturne.  Synchrodestiny (the ebb and flow of the universe coming together)?  I think so.  Dan & I also think he has Bueller and Nocturne’s blessing.  Nothing warms my heart as much as a basset hound…except for Dan of course…… and Thor will soon take up the role as junior studio mascot with my crew of Newton and Quorra.  I can hardly wait to hold this guy and welcome him into our lives.


Quorra (left) and Newton in one of their many playful moments. Wait til they meet Thor!

So it has been quite a summer.  Life’s ups and downs.  The unexpected.  Lessons learned.  Joys and sorrows.  That is what life is all about and I can tell you that Dan & I feel so blessed.  We are grateful and looking forward to what the future holds.

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

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It’s that time of year again!  Monument, CO 2013 Art Hop season begins this Thursday, May 16, 2013. The official time for Art Hop is 5 – 8:00 PM.  In Monument, Art Hop is on the third Thursday of the month, starting in May and running through September.

There are so many cool things about Art Hop. Visiting the local merchants, seeing what’s new, meeting with artists at different locations where their works are represented, food, drink, good conversations, running in to friends and catching up. It’s just a very nice community event to socialize and enjoy an evening out.

This year, I will be at Marylee Resig’s Santa Fe Trail Jewelry with my good friend and fellow artist Nancy Bonig. Marylee carries Nancy’s work and mine. Not only will Nancy & I discuss our respective work, but we look forward to talking about this year’s Front Range Open Studio Tours. There will be new artists joining us this year, like my friends Ginny & Frank Mailo of Monument Moon Studios.  I’m excited about the prospects of expanding our network of friends on the tour, along with demonstrating some of the techniques we use in creating our artwork.

I will have some of my new works, such as Express Yourself (with a little touch of Colorado), in addition to some of my latest Treescapes and Ginkgo leaf works.

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Express Yourself
Copper, Silver, 14kt Gold filled wire, Pearls, Mokume Gane, Bronze
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

Nancy always has the most beautiful glass works, so I can’t wait to see what she may bring!

Right now the weather forecast is GREAT for this Thursday evening, so why not make plans to have a wonderful evening out and just enjoy the atmosphere in Monument?

Hope to see you there.

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

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Denver  Art Museum
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

This past weekend was the last weekend for the Becoming Van Gogh exhibit. My friend, Nancy Bonig, told Dan & I this was a must see and so we bought tickets.

Saturday, January 19th, Dan & I enjoyed our Art Date.  It was a very special day that both of us thoroughly enjoyed.  I hurriedly jotted down a variety of Van Gogh’s quotes.

“Success comes from a string of failures.”

“I am an artist….those words naturally imply always seeking without ever fully finding.”

“Just let me be myself — and express severe, rough, yet true things with rough workmanship.”

It was a fascinating journey of his brief artistic time….just 10 years.  To see where he started at age 27 to where he evolved at age 37 was more than impressive.  I was deeply moved by one of his last paintings, completed just two weeks before he died.  After seeing some of Van Gogh’s works in person, hearing his story, and seeing his growth, I find myself wondering what seeds may have been planted that will cause my work to grow and change.

Before we left the museum, we stopped at the gift shop because I wanted to see some of Nancy’s works.  Her beautiful glass work tends to sell out quickly and I wondered if we would even be able to find any.  Fortunately, there were a few of her pieces and a couple of my favorites that she’s just started are those of the Denver skyline.

After we left the museum, we walked around downtown Denver, Dan taking a variety of photographs, one of which is pictured at the top of this post.  We enjoyed an early dinner at Maggiano’s Italian Restaurant before we headed home.

I find it so important for Dan & I to have these types of Art Dates.  It’s a great time for both of us to discuss our respective work, future plans and more.  Do any of you have regular Art Dates?  I certainly hope so, the benefits are priceless.

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

This will be my last show of 2012.  Once again my friend Nancy Bonig is opening her home for a unique holiday shopping experience.  I am grateful to be one of the six Front Range Open Studio Artists participating.  This e-Invite has been sent to those who are signed up for our respective newsletters.  I thought it would be nice to include all of you who subscribe to my blog posts too.  Any of you that may live in Monument CO and/or the surrounding areas are welcome, as this isn’t an event that will be publicized to the general community.

One of the great things about this weekend event is that Nancy has created a very festive and relax atmosphere for people to shop, talk with us and enjoy art.  Her home is beautifully decorated for the holidays and filled with lovely yuletide music.  We will be providing plenty of munchies, mulled wine, eggnog, cider….well you get the idea….good food and drink!  Oh yes, and last but certainly not least, we are offering some of the most unique, one of a kind, handcrafted art works you will ever find for this season’s gift giving.

My thanks to everyone who came and purchased Treescape pendants and earrings at my trunk show yesterday at Santa Fe Trail Jewelry.  It was so good to see everyone, discuss my process and talk about all the beautiful artwork Marylee has in her shop.  I had a wonderful day and you have my gratitude for liking my work enough to give it as gifts this year.

For those who didn’t have a chance to come to the trunk show, next weekend is another opportunity to see if my Treescapes works will find their way into a stocking hung with care or a present under the tree!  The earrings shown above are just a few hot off my bench.  I’ve been adding rough cut sapphires and more facetted stones.  The pair at the top left of this photo collage has 2mm facetted citrine tube sets; I wear the best magnifiers I have so I can see what I’m doing….those stones may be small, but they add that sparkle that flashes in the light when you wear them.  From start to finish, each pair has at least 10 and as many as 15 steps in the process to complete the work.

Whether you survived the frenzy of Black Friday and the upcoming Cyber Monday, I can assure you that coming to Nancy’s to shop will be a true slice of heaven.  I hope to see you there.

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

Next weekend, I will be joining Nancy Bonig, Richard Pankratz and Margarete Seagraves in a Holiday Market, hosted by Nancy Bonig at her studio in Monument, CO.

Ever the creative, Nancy wanted to open her studio to our customers for a little holiday shopping.  All of us will be offering special discounts, along with Holiday treats and a chance to visit with us about our work.

We think the timing is right, just after Thanksgiving….you’ve had a chance to partake of Black Friday Specials or Cyber Monday online shopping….now you can relax a little and look for a unique gift that can’t be found anywhere else.

My featured items will be the Ginko earrings, an example shown below, from my Arts & Crafts Impressions.

If you are in the area next weekend, we hope you will stop by and visit us.  I think you will find lots of unique items for your Holiday gift giving.

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

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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