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I’ve been reading John Ortberg’s book “The Life You’ve Always Wanted”. Many things in this book have resonated with me. Most recently the chapter, A Life of Endurance, as he discusses perseverance.

“Any truly meaningful human accomplishment will require perseverance”

Isn’t this the simplest, most concise statement that conveys such a powerful message?

I started my journey in metalsmithing as a mature adult, not someone in their teens who went off to get a degree in fine arts or other related metal work curricula. Yet, my passion with this art form, to quote Steve Martin, is “To become so good they can’t ignore you”. Perseverance is one of the key elements in making that happen.

For the past month, I have had obligations requiring that I spend time away from my studio. Now it is time that I can return and I truly thirst for the positive energy I find in my creative space. I have so many new ideas, preparations for upcoming events and demands for new work at locations where I am represented. I find joy in all of that.

Here’s a sample of some of the things I’m currently doing.

Treescape earrings – progression shots

Designs for a new series…Celestial 

More Treescapes in fabrication

Flush set emerald – Treescape pendant

The driving force for me is perseverance to become better each day at this craft that I love. It requires practice, determination and desire. As I return to the bench, this is my focus.

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

 

 

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Love, romance, that special someone. There’s still time to find that perfect hand crafted gift! All of these latest works will be available at my Valentine’s Day Trunk show, this Saturday, February 13, 2016 at the wonderfully enchanted Santa Fe Trail Jewelry in Historic downtown Monument, CO.

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Willow Creek Jasper set in Sterling Silver with various faceted gems

I have been preparing for this upcoming trunk show. One of the things I like to do for these special events is have an offering of what I am currently developing. Not only does this give my clients and Santa Fe Trail Jewelry aficionados the opportunity to have first choice, but it also gives me immediate feedback of people’s responses to the new directions I take with my work.

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Asymmetrical earrings are one way I feel people can really express their individuality with distinctive, one of a kind art jewelry.

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Treescapes are certainly a favorite. This series continues to evolve as I look for new inspiration and ways to make them even more unique. These earrings are inspired by a little Bonsai tree that sits on my bench. I’m having great fun adding gemstones, like the faceted peridots, as the base of the tree.

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This style of Treescape pendant is growing in popularity too. Here we have a richly colored Variscite stone as the focal point with my Bonsai tree accent.

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There are many more that will be available this Saturday. If you don’t live in the area and see something that calls to you, send me an email for details.

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I have been focusing a lot of my attention on creating Treescapes. They continue to evolve and I like the direction the pendants (and earrings) are taking. While I will continue to make pieces that are ‘framed’, right now I find the clean lines that are simple showcase the stones and the tree shape in a classic way.

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Dendritic Opal, pale lavender hue in the stone, set in Sterling.

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Classic Snow White Dendritic Opal set in Sterling. The patina created a colorful fall leaf look.

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These sort of look like a Treescape forest to me.

Lots of inspiration for some of the current Treescapes has come from a little Bonsai Tree I recently acquired. It has a great twisted trunk with such a graceful shape. I can see its influence in some of my recent pendants and earrings.

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Graceful trees – Sterling Silver with Patina

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Deep green Variscite set in Sterling; my signature Treescape design.

You can find these and others at my upcoming events. Sign up for my newsletter to get the latest information.

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

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“Why do I do What I do?” is the starting point for this month’s topic of the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank discussion.

Initially, this question stopped me in my tracks. How do I answer this? Then it became clear.

There is a force that is part of my personality. It drives who I am. I am compelled to be creative. I need to work with my hands because I find it fulfilling. I have done this for as long as I can remember. Whether it was coloring books and not staying inside the lines. Knitting and dropping a stitch. Sewing and needing to rip out crooked seams. Stained glass and dealing with glass fractures. Metalwork and melting bezels. With each exploration comes a fall; the proverbial scraping of the knee and then healing.

The joy of expression that I love is the creative process. Sure there are failures but that just means I am growing as an artist. If I wasn’t trying new things, I would remain stagnate and I find that unacceptable. As long as there is breath in my body, I am going to be making things, experimenting, learning and yes, growing.

Each of us are born with gifts; a particular talent or talents unique to who we are. I know this to be true. As I was meditating and reflecting earlier in this year, it was as if my eyes were opened and understanding grew like a sunrise in my mind. Maybe that’s where the expression “It dawned on me” came from….a glorious sunrise enveloping everything in bright warm light making the obscure visible. I finally knew and understood that I was given the gift to be an artist and express my interpretation of God’s creations.

Those who know my work, know I am drawn to trees. They are my muses. For years I attempted to interpret their unique beauty. Now I have found a niche through my Treescape and Botanical series to express my love of them.

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Dendritic Opal Pendant Set in Sterling Silver from Treescapes

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Aspen cuff in Sterling Silver  from Botanicals

Please let me encourage all of you to find your inner gifts. They are there. You may already be using them. Or they may be fighting to come out. Either way, living deep within you is the drive and the force to be seen and heard. They are fighting to reach the surface of your being because they are an essential part of who you are. Listen. Allow those abilities to manifest. Will there be moments of disappointment and discouragement? Yes. These are inevitable as you seek to discover your gifts. Please do not let perceived failures dissuade you from your true path. Please ignore to the inner and outer critics. Be fearless.

Know this. Joy awaits you as your inner gifts awaken and grow with your loving attention and nurturing.

Now lets see what my fellow bloggers had to share on this topic:

Andes Cruz 

angelojones

Diana Bell

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

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There are times when I feel compelled to write about a certain topic.  Today I would like to share the story of my Treescape series.

On September 15, 2011 while I was at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show, Treescapes was born.

I purchase a number of my stones from Mark Lasater of The Clamshell.  On that particular Thursday in September, as we greeted each other, he was very excited about a new batch of Dendritic opals he had.  Mark knew this was (and still is) one of my favorite stones.  He said to me,  “You won’t believe what these look like”.  Each one had a beautifully shaped tree, formed by the black dendrites in perfect contrast to the white in these stones.  It was remarkable and this was the first of those stones he showed me.

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Dendritic Opal

The minute I saw this, I knew exactly what my design would be.  That was a first for me.  What I didn’t know at the time was I was about to find my artistic voice.

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The Inspiration

Treescapes has grown (yes a bit of a pun here) and evolved since then.  Initially I was just focused on the Dendritic Opals that had tree shapes in them.   The response to those designs was wonderful and I started to think I could use other stones whether they had any tree elements to them or not.

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Variscite with Orange Garnet tube set 

It’s in my nature to try to understand the ‘why‘ about things.  I wanted to understand why this series was becoming so important to me.

I love trees and that is the foundation of Treescapes.  My work has always been very organic.  While I find symmetry beautiful, you will rarely see that in my pieces, because I am drawn to the uniqueness of leaves, flowers, trees; those elements in nature where nothing is identical.  I explain to people that just as no two snow flakes or leaves are exactly alike, neither is any of my work.  Each pieces is designed and made by hand, my hands.  The goal with my art is to reflect that uniqueness found in nature.

In addition to that, my father was a landscaper, as was his father.  However, as I look back on the work they did, they were true artists.  There were many times I went with dad as he worked his magic with a landscape.  His father taught him how to create beautiful lattice work accents (bridges, decorative elements for buildings, etc.).  I watched, observing the care my father had for the trees and plants he tended.  I believe that is where my deep appreciation and respect for nature started.  This is the ‘why‘ behind Treescapes; my dad, his father, it’s in my blood.

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This is one of the last remaining works of my grandfather in the park of my home town.

As I create the pieces in the Treescape series, things just flow for me.  The ideas, designs come easily and it feels almost effortless.  Each piece is unique like my fingerprint.

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I am so grateful that this work still calls to people.  I will continue to make these pieces because they are my heart, my voice, my essence, my soul.  My dad’s birthday was this past Friday, January 23.  While he left this world in 2005, never seeing his influence on my art, I have this sense that my dad is happy with these works and smiles knowing his influence is there.  I have my ‘why‘.

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

I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of demands on my time.  I like to think I am fairly good at time management.  However, there comes a point where I just cannot get to my bench to create.  Fortunately, that time has passed and thanks to a beautiful rainy day, I returned to my creative zone on Sunday.  Ah, working in my studio, soothing music plays, new projects start to unfold with a slumbering basset hound at my feet; that is perfection….my picture of contentment.

One of the items I recently finished was another Aspen cuff; chased in sterling and oxidized with a liver of sulphur patina.  This is the first cuff design that I have drawn free hand, on the metal, from my observations of fresh Aspen branch cuttings.  I have found myself completely absorbed by the Chasing & Repousse technique.   I am so grateful that I had, what I considered to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn this from Il Maestro Fabrizio Acquafresca during the summer.  Chasing and Repousse, the Italian Way, as Fabrizio likes to say.  I am forever in his debt.

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New works on the bench are some items in my Treescape series.  I am so thankful for the continued response and interest in this line.  Currently I’m working on a variety of earring shapes in preparation for a November Trunk Show and the Holiday Season too.

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That creative pace I enjoy is settling into perfect momentum, which allows me to produce a variety of new items.

I will leave you with a bit of a teaser.  Music is one of the many things I love. How will I incorporate it into my work?  Wait and see….rings, earrings, pendants and cuffs are coming soon.

Until next time, aspire 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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Asymmetrical Express Yourself
Photo ~ Daniel Krucoff

I am happy to announce I will be having a Trunk Show this Saturday, June 8, 2013 from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Christine Pech, owner of Colorado Expressions will be hosting this show.  Christine and her daughter have created a wonderful gallery space located in downtown Colorado Springs.  They even have a baby grand piano that patrons can play!

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Colorado Expressions
122 East Kiowa St
Colorado Springs, CO 81032

For directions, click here.

I will have lots of new Express Yourself earrings, including the ones pictured here.

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Express Yourself
Photo ~ Daniel Krucoff

  There are a few new Treescapes that will accompany me for this show.  I’ve been experimenting with patinas and here’s a sneak preview of one of my more colorful pairs.

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Treescape Earrings
Photo ~ Daniel Krucoff

There are so many beautiful things at Colorado Expressions. If you are in the area, I hope you can stop by, say Hi and spend some time with me and Christine talking about art.

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

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Photo by Nancy Tanner-Bonig

Isn’t it funny how something as simple as a little red dot can bring joy and affirmation to an artist?  The little indicator that your work has sold.  Thanks to my good friend and fellow artist, Nancy Tanner-Bonig, I have this photograph of a little red dot showing that one of my Treescapes (The Journey) sold during the Art of the State Exhibit at Arvada, CO.  Nancy caught the show on its final weekend.

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The JourneySOLD!
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

Yesterday, I got a note from the show director saying another pendant sold!  You see, after last weekend, the show was taken down and items were being prepared to be shipped back to the artists.  Apparently, a gentleman called and said he was interested in one of my pendents he had seen over the weekend.  Sure enough, he bought Reaching for the Sky!

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Reaching for the SkySOLD!
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

I am so grateful that two of my three pendants in this exhibit have found their way to their homes.  Still Standing (in the upper right of Nancy’s photo & shown below) will be returning to me…..and will seek its owner someday in the future.

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Still Standing – Available soon
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

My thanks to Nancy for taking the photo showing that little red dot.  They sure do make us artists smile.  And thanks to Arvada Center for a wonderful exhibition of so many talented Colorado artists.  A final thanks to the buyers/collectors of my work.  Your purchases affirm what I am doing and I will continue to strive to create wearable works of art.

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

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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