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Embrace The Light
Timeless Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

I feel like this is one of my most powerful pieces to date. It’s the stone that really speaks to me.

In August, my favorite stone cutter, Gary B. Wilson, introduced me to Porcelain Jasper. He knows I love purple and he had a number of these stones. I wanted to wait and see them in person when he and his family came to Denver for the Gem & Mineral Show in September. It was worth the wait.

On an unbelievably beautiful September day, Lexi & I were one of the first to visit Gary’s booth. I immediately asked him about those purple stones and he produced a tray of the lovelies. This stone was the first to catch my eye and as large as it was, I knew it would make a magnificent piece. It is part of my private collection. I have a smaller Porcelain Jasper that I acquired that day, but I knew I had a deep connection with this one and it belonged to me.

Why did I call this Embrace The Light? There is that bright spot in the stone, surrounded by what I envision to be lightening or electrical charges. For me that bright spot symbolized the light that beckons us as we leave this world. It is my belief that we embark on a new journey when we leave this world and it is the light that beckons our spirits to come and join. I was drawn to this; drawn to the light. I know, I know, never discuss religion or politics. I’m just sharing the feeling that this piece evokes in me and what I see in this particular stone.

I also felt that incorporating reticulated silver was important to accentuate those lightening bolts surrounding the light in this stone. Right now I find that I like to have at least two, if not three, moving components in a piece. Until I feel the need to move on in my current designs, I think you will continue to see this type of style in my work. I was fighting this for a while and thought, I like the look, I will continue with it until something else takes its place.

2010 has been an eye opener for me and filled with a great deal of personal & artistic growth. I am thankful for so many things. The people in my life… my soul mate, Dan, whose photographs of my work take my breath away and makes what I do look incredible! His gentle strength, support and love has seen me through many a trying time. Our delightful bassets; everyone needs a studio mascot and I have three! My terrific online friends who amaze me with their incredible talents and support. And last, but certainly not least, my dear, dear sister Lexi…without her guidance and inspiration I would be lost.

2011 can only bring more challenges, surprises and opportunities. May all of you have the Merriest of Christmases and a Joyful, Prosperous New Year.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person. You know I am. Thank you all.

The Poster for the Event

What a weekend. The weather was fantastic. I was honored and humbled to be part of this event and share the experience with so many wonderful and talented artists. It was great.

My dear friend and mentor, Lexi Erickson, asked me to design the poster and post card for this show. I happily agreed and the top picture is the poster in its final form.

Not many people can say they have done a show with Harold O’Connor. I had the good fortune to be in a show with two of my idols, Harold O’Connor and Lexi Erickson.

Harold O’Conner, me, and Lexi

I don’t think my feet were touching the ground in that picture!  And both Harold and Lexi signed a copy of the poster for me….now that’s going to be framed and hung in my studio as a reminder of a very special event and the great inspiration both of these talented individuals are to me.  Thank you Harold and Lexi.

The crowd was wonderful. I believe all of us had good sales and hopefully that is an indicator that things are turning around in the art world when it comes to the sales of our works.

Several of you have asked that I post pictures of my work that sold. Well, here goes….  Oh, and all of the photos were taken by Dan, so I’m just going to say at the beginning of all of these great photos to follow:  Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff.

My first sale of the day was a pair of reticulated earrings I called Ocean Waves. Great to have that first sale of the show.  How fitting that the first sale was also the reticulated silver that I made during my workshop with Harold in May of this year!

Ocean Waves
Timeless Series

The next sale was a pendant and a pair of earrings.

It’s a Matter of Attitude (previous blog post)
Soul Searching Series

Unidelta Tree
Tribute to Pandora Series

And then things just started to blur together…..

Binary Sunshine (previous blog post)
Tribute to Pandora Series

Puff Ball Tree
Tribute to Pandora Series

Another pair of earrings, Pendulum, that I never got a picture of before the show, so they aren’t in this group ….

Chalice Plant
Tribute to Pandora Series

And then I was completely blown away….

Dimensions in Time
Timeless Series

Yes, that’s right, one of my bracelets sold. A multitude of beautiful stones, hours of work, and its beauty was not lost on the person who bought this. She has a discerning eye, as did many of the shoppers this weekend. Coupled with that was an appreciation for the art that this bracelet represents. She also purchased Break Through (pictured below) and I know my pieces have gone to someone who understands. Actually, all of my pieces went to people who got it. What a wonderful affirmation for an artist.

Break Through
Soul Searching Series

Soul Searching Series

Pretty incredible.  The show, the weekend, the crowds, the talented artists, the beautiful venue, the experience….ALL exceeded my expectations.  I truly believe I found my audience.  It has infused me with new enthusiasm and the belief that I am on the right path as an artist.  It is my wish for all of you, my friends, to find that path we are destined to follow.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.  Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

Incan Dawn
Timeless Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Right now I am definitely captivated by using a tongue shaped stone with a top accent stone. For this piece, both are in the same stone family, Sonoran Sunrise. When I saw these stones a few weeks ago at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show, I knew they belonged together. As I worked on the design, I kept seeing a ceremonial Incan headdress in the top piece with the sun’s reflection. I couldn’t visualize anything else as I looked at the completed piece, so its title is Incan Dawn.

This is one of the last pieces I completed in preparation for the Jewelry at the Gardens Show this coming weekend.

Tonight I packed my display materials and everything is ready to be loaded in the car. It’s nice to have things in this state a day early so tomorrow evening won’t feel so hectic. I set up with the other artists on Friday evening. Doors open at 9 AM on Saturday morning at the Botanic Gardens in Denver and I think the weather will be cooperative this weekend too. If you are in the area, I hope to see you there.

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

Links to the Past
Timeless Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Some of you may remember my post on Defining Moment. It was the first bracelet I made and it was quite the challenge. Initially, I must admit that I wondered if I would make another bracelet. Yet, it was one of those things I felt I could do and do well, so I was up for trying it again.

Links to the Past is the first of three bracelets I made in August. I wanted to have at least three for the Jewelry at the Gardens Show. This one, along with the other two, were not as difficult as Defining Moment. Isn’t that usually the way things work? Of course, Defining Moment had a HUGE learning curve for me and now I wear it every day.  It’s all good.

The stones in this piece are a combination of Petrified Palm Wood, Casessite Jasper, Amonite, Brunean Jasper & Picasso Stone. All stones from the past…events in nature that allowed them to take their form and unique beauty. Linked together in this bracelet, it seem fitting to call this one Links to the Past.

It will be available at the Jewelry at the Gardens Show this coming Saturday and Sunday.

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

Free Spirit
Timeless Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

The stones are Teal Blood Stones from India. I purchased them from Michael Hendrix of Minerax at the sneak preview evening for Colorado Metalsmiths during Denver Gem and Mineral Show week last month. It was an easy pairing for me. Although both are the same stone family, they just looked like they belonged together. I couldn’t wait to pair them and set them in sterling.

Michael Hendrix is such a nice person.  He has his unique style for the stones he cuts.  And he is generous with his knowledge about the stones and why he cuts the shapes he does.  I liked his commentary on his expectations that art jewelers should look to be innovative and embrace unusual stone cuts in their designs.  Of course, I like a challenge.

Admittedly, these stones are cut in shapes that I find easy to work with, however, I did buy a few of those challenging pieces from Michael and I look forward to the creative juices kicking in as I work on their designs.

I don’t have many teal or bluish colored stones in my inventory.  However, when I saw these, I just couldn’t resist adding them.  I know I’m still finding what my true color palette is, yet part of me is resisting this….I don’t think I like the sense of feeling limited by just working with certain colors.  There are so many beautiful stones, I just don’t want to restrict what I will work with.  That may change as I continue to grow as an art jeweler.  For now, I enjoy the liberating feeling of experimenting with colors, shapes, stones, and textures.

Perhaps this experimentation led me to the title for this piece, Free Spirit.  It feels like this piece can soar high above the clouds.  As I looked at the completed work, all I could think was Free Spirit, so that is its moniker.

I felt it was necessary to keep things simple in this design because of the beautiful stones.  I textured the backdrop for the top stone and lightly oxidized the sterling settings.

Free Spirit will be available a week from tomorrow (10/16/2010), opening day for our Jewelry at the Gardens Show.  I think its a perfect piece for the setting we are so fortunate to have at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

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

New Horizons
Timeless Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

These earrings represent a real departure for me from my usual work. I wanted to create something unusual, not symmetrical, and very unique. A lot of the design elements you see in these earrings, that do not match, are deliberate on my part.

I started with some square wire, forged it to flatten out and put the flat ends opposite of each other.  The bottom of the upper earring has a tube set with a silver circle, while the other one doesn’t.  The placement of the stones are at opposite ends of each wire too.  Does it feel like one of the childrens’ puzzles where you need to find the things that don’t match?  Well, I wasn’t trying to go that far, but I admit I was experimenting and trying to push myself to do something outside of my comfort zone.

The stones are Imperial Japser, and as with so many jaspers, I think they have  great vistas.  In this pair, I see the horizon in front of me.  It’s a new horizon filled with wonderful possibilities.

This was the first pair of earring stones I bought a year ago at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show from Gary B Wilson.  When I bought them, his wife Kathy said, she knew these needed to be made into earrings.  At the time I had not attempted to make earrings and I must admit I was a bit intimidated at the prospects with these stones.  However, as I started working on new pieces for the Garden Show, this design came to me (while riding my bike again) and I knew the unusual design was right for them.

As I prepare for the Jewelry at the Gardens Show, I have had a chance to put my inventory of metalwork together and review some of my past blog posts about them.  I find I feel very philosophical about my work.  It represents some strong feelings, emotions I have about life, the present, the future, and even the past.  It’s those life experiences that makes us the individuals we currently are.

This pair will be available at the show on October 16 – 17th.  Hope to see some of you there.

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

Timeless Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

In one of my previous posts on Dare to Dream, I mentioned how fond I was of the Corazon de Santa Fe. Well, with this piece I was able to incorporate that cross into it. As I looked at this finished piece and the basis for its design, I couldn’t help but think ‘Faith’. That is how this one received its title.

Two weeks ago, at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show, I purchased these stones from Gary B Wilson.  The top stone is an Ocean Jasper and the bottom tongue is a Savannah Jasper.  They paired up quickly and I felt they were the right stone combinations.  I couldn’t wait to get started on them and this design came together quickly.

Faith will be available at the Jewelry at the Garden’s Show in less than 2 weeks.  I hope it will be well received.

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

Inner Strength
Timeless Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

This was one of those stones. I found it at Gary B Wilson’s booth during April when he, Kathy, and Jesse were in Denver for Beadfest. It caught my eye immediately and I just knew I had to come up with a design that wouldn’t detract from the beauty of the stone. I went through so many sketches, that I will share here. I’m a little embarrassed to show some of these sketches, however, I think it is important/relevant for those who read my blog to understand the journey I take with a piece as I bring it to its final state.  Plus one of the goals I have with this blog is to document my journey as a metalsmith.  I hope you will enjoy my creative journey with Inner Strength.

The stone is an Amethyst Sage.  I’ve never seen one quite like this.  The markings within the stone are so beautiful. And that shade of purple, more lavender, is so rich and lush to me.  As many of you know, I have a passion for all things purple.

I truly struggled with finding the right design.  Here’s the first one.

Whew, is that like the flying red horse logo that Mobile gas had eons ago?  Ok, I just carbon dated myself with that one.  For those of you scratching your heads, here’s the logo I’m referring to….

Oh sure, now you can see the resemblance!  When I was a kid I loved horses, this was one of my favorite horse images, so maybe it crept into that initial design?

Well, I scrapped that one and moved on to these…..

Ya, I just couldn’t get that flying horse out of my mind yet, could I?  I did like the one in the bottom of this, but my gut was telling me it was too busy with that gorgeous stone.

Then I went off and tried some stone pairings to see if that was a way to go….

Pretty, yes, but it just wasn’t speaking to me.  Back to the drawing board, literally!

I thought I was getting somewhere now. I have this thing for two pieces that create movement, plus I really like what a tube set (that little circle at the bottom right of the sketch) does with a little faceted stone. But, for me the stone was upside down. I wanted it to have a different orientation that I felt was a better presentation of the markings within the stone.

Definitely more progress. The stone’s orientation is what I wanted. I still had a little tube set accent. I just wasn’t satisfied.

Almost there! There was a piece of broom casting that reminded me of Delicate Arch in Utah. I thought it was a great compliment to the stone. I still felt like something was missing.

Found it!  One of those moments.  I had done enough to get my subconscious working.  I think reticulated silver is gorgeous and all of a sudden I could see how the folds of silver would compliment the markings within the stone.  My ah-ha moment!  I had this beautiful reticulation that I had made during the Harold O’Connor workshop and one piece was made for this stone.  Plus I could include that little piece of broom casting too.  I gave up the tube set, but you know, that was ok.

I love the way the oxidation turned out on the piece too; nice subtle colors to compliment the stone.

On September 16, I wore Inner Strength to the Denver Gem & Mineral Show and got to show it to Gary, Kathy and Jesse.  The highest compliment I could have received was when Gary, who cut this beautiful stone, told me that I did a great job with its setting.  Kathy & Jesse also complimented me on this piece.  Talk about making my day.  Thank you Gary, Kathy & Jesse!

I am finding too that Dan continues to exceed my expectations when he photographs my work.  He is one awesome photographer in my book!

I hope you enjoyed reading about Inner Strength’s journey to fruition.  Why Inner Strength?  I think we all have more inner strength than we know.  Persistence is the key to so many things in life and it definitely enhances ones Inner Strength.  This is part of my Timeless Series.

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

Dare To Dream
Timeless Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

The stone, Sonoran Sunrise. Bold, isn’t it? One of those beautifully crafted works of Gary B. Wilson.

I was working with Gary’s daughter, Jesse, when she sent photos of some of the Sonoran Sunrise stones they had in stock. Initially I had been looking at some smaller stones from their website. When Jesse sent the photo of this one (among other Sonorans), I was instantly drawn to it. Yet, I hesitated as I was looking for some smaller stones to work with. I showed Dan the pictures Jesse had sent me and he saw this one as said I should get it.

When it arrived, with a few others, I knew it was a great choice. I immediately grabbed my sketch book and started to dabble with ideas the stone provided. Here are some of the initial sketches.

The first one, on the upper left was more than a little wild.  I wanted to experiment.  I just knew it wasn’t the right concept for this stone.  I didn’t want to overpower the stone with an elaborate setting that took away from its inherent beauty.  The others in this series of sketches were inspired by some of Lexi’s work (How can I NOT be inspired by Lexi’s work???) and also the Corazon de Sante Fe (shown below).

Things just weren’t clicking for me.  And then, when I was working out on my bike, it came to me.  Isn’t it funny how ideas pop into our heads?

For whatever reason, I was still unsure about this design, so I thought I would let it ‘simmer’ for a bit.  When I picked up my sketch book a couple weeks ago and started to work on designs for this stone again, I kept coming back to this shape.  I showed the various designs to Dan and when he saw this one, he said that’s it!

So I began work on it, and the final result is pictured at the beginning of this post.  I used Sterling Silver for the setting, along with a small garnet that is set in the tube set to the upper right of the stone.  I shaped some square wire to form that ‘arch’ at the top of the piece.   I kept with my original idea to call this one Dare to Dream.  It is part of my Timeless Series and will be available at the Jewelry in the Gardens at Denver Botanical Gardens on October 16 -17.

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

Timeless Series
Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

This was the stone that almost got away. In April, when Gary B Wilson and his family were in Denver for Rocky Mountain Bead Bazaar, I spotted this particular stone. In fact I wrote about it in my April 25th post. It is an Imperial Jasper and I was quite enamored with it.  If you’d like to read about how it entered my collection of stones, check that April 25th post.

I knew I wanted to keep the setting clean and simple for this stone; I just wanted to showcase its beauty.  I did extend some of the stone’s markings into the surrounding metal.  The setting is sterling silver, that is lightly oxidized.

It reminds me of a calm prairie with a few wisps of grass in the foreground.  So I felt the name Serene was appropriate.

This will be one of my pieces available at the Jewelry at the Gardens in Denver on the weekend of October 16 & 17.  I’m still working on pieces for that show and will have more to post in the upcoming days and weeks after Dan photographs them.

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

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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