Today’s featured artist is Kathleen Krucoff. I first met Kathleen (online) when I stumbled upon her glasswork.
I fell in love with the bold colors and strong lines. I think I contacted her to find out where and how to purchase a piece and I’ve been following her blogs ever since.
It was fun to read her SPOTLIGHT! responses, I hope you will enjoy them as well and that you’ll leave a comment letting her know!
Where are you located?
I live in Colorado, just northeast of Colorado Springs in a community known as the Black Forest.
Describe your studio or creative space:
When my husband and I built our home 5 years ago, I designed a studio space for my glass work. Now that I am a metalsmith, I have a bit of an overflow for my two mediums and my studio space expanded to another area where my jeweler’s bench resides. Both areas where I work have great natural light, which I think is very important. My main studio has several windows that look out to our backyard and I enjoy watching the birds or our basset hounds when I need a break from my work.
You are both a glass artist and a metalsmith – tell us a little about how you got your start and the progression of your art.
Ever since I was a child, I loved drawing and coloring books were some of my prized possessions. My mother encouraged me to pursue art but I just didn’t know the direction to take until I took my first stained glass class in 1982. I was hooked.
About 7 or 8 years ago I met a wonderful glass artist, Deb Steddom from Manitou Springs, and she was the impetus for me to start drawing my original stained glass designs. I think she was my ‘spark’.
Three years ago I started working with fused glass and could not believe how fascinated I became with the process. I think that was the turning point for my glass work becoming a bit more abstract and organic.
At the beginning of last year I met Lexi Erickson and she has forever changed my life. Lexi became the ‘fire’ for me, her nickname in metalsmithing circles is “The Torch”, so it’s understandable that she would be the ‘fire’ for my art jewelry work and my new direction. Lexi encouraged me to take her weekend metalsmithing workshop that covers a semester of work. She said we would take my glass jewelry to the next level and what happened was I fell in love with metal. It has opened up a new world of creativity for me and I am excited to see what the future holds.
Is working in two mediums conflicting or enhancing?
I believe working with two mediums is a great asset. In some sense they feed off of one another. I love working with my hands; I find it very centering. Both mediums require taking design ideas, cutting the shapes needed to form the designs and putting them together. Yes each takes a different skill set, yet the basic premise of a construction of parts is required for the end result ~ art.
One of the things I experience is as I work in one medium, an idea will take shape of something I could create in the other. I can’t really explain the how or why, but it happens a lot. Especially when I feel in the zone, you know that creative zone and sense of tranquility when you are in the moment working with something you love.
I love working with metal and glass; I hope I never have to chose between the two because I’m not sure I could. Sometimes I think that metalwork was just a natural progression for me because stained glass windows require the use of metal (lead) in their constructions.
If you could go back to the beginning of your journey, what would you change – if anything?
I would have followed my mother’s advice back when I was in high school and pursued an art education. At that time I think I was too young to understand or see a career in art, so it took me a while to come full circle. However, I think the good thing about my life journey in art is my experiences have helped to shape the work I create today.
How would you describe your style?
My style is strongly influenced by nature. The shapes of leaves, colors of the sky, mountains, clouds. Many of my friends see a very organic, earthy influence in my work. I like that.
How do you deal with periods of “creative block” or low creativity?
That is a tough one. Last year I learned that I can break through what I call “The Wall” by finding a quiet place to view the mountains. We have a nice view of Pikes Peak from our loft and I’ll go there with my journal, listen to some relaxing music, meditate and watch the color shifts in the mountains. Eliminating that block doesn’t happen immediately, sometimes those steps just free up my subconscious and then I’ll wake up around 4 AM with ideas just flooding my mind. I can capture them in my journal first thing in the morning. It’s quite freeing.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received related to your art?
Don’t over think it. Just start doing it.
What’s the best advice you could give someone just starting out?
Do what you love. Recognize fear for what it is and refuse to give it any control over you.
Who are some of your favorite artists and crafters?
In the world of metalsmiths, the obvious one is Lexi Erickson. She is my dear friend, mentor, and ‘sister’. Of course, there is the phenominal talents of art jewelers such as Harold O’Connor, Todd Reed, Wendy Edsall-Kerwin & Nicola Callow
I love the painting of Tracey Clarke, Karen Phipps, and Don Michael Jr.
And then there are the true masters of their domain who I admire: Frank Lloyd Wright, Dale Chihuly, Louis Comfort Tiffany.
What do you do when you aren’t working with jewelry/glass ?
I love to cycle, road cycle. And I have some flower gardens. I do yoga and pilates. My husband & I hike. And then there are the three basset hounds we share our home with. Plus there is the day job that supports the habits! I don’t have much idle time.
What would we be surprised to find out about you?
I went back to school to get a B.S. in Computer Science and changed careers in the 90’s. I consider myself a geek by day, artist by night. The right brain/left brain test shows that I’m right in the center of those two sides, which I think helps me a lot.
Define ‘success’ for us……..what does it mean to you?
For me success means balance in all areas of your life. I have found my soul mate in my husband, I love my work as a software engineer, and I love being creative with metal and glass. My goal is to have a third career with my art.
Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
I’d love to be living in Sante Fe, teaching classes, being published in books/magazines and selling lots of my work of course!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I think it’s important to focus on the positive. Manage your expectations of yourself and celebrate what you have accomplished instead of focusing on what you haven’t done yet. My motto that I post at the end of my art blogs is “Aspire to be more as an artist and a person”. I hope that resonates with everyone.