Welcome to My World

Hello and welcome to my jewelry, life and teaching blog.  This is a new experience for me.  Being an old (well, maybe not that old)  professor and field archaeologist, I am used to writing out everything long hand.  On a yellow tablet. So I would like to thank my son, Jim, for bringing me into the 21st century by giving me my first iPod, which turned me onto Apple computers.  From that first gift, the rest, as they say, is history.  My loving husband, Mark, is a huge “Applelope”, and my technical advisor.  But one of my best friends, student, and sister, Kathleen Krucoff is the real reason I’m here posting this.  Without her patience and guidance I would still be writing on a yellow tablet.

This blog is named The Torch because that’s my “mafia” name, bestowed upon me by CoMA (Colorado Metalsmithing Assoc) posse member, and close friend,  Julie Jerman-Melka, when my first article on setting up your torch for jewelry was published for Jewelry Artist magazine.  For someone who started out scared to light a torch, my life has taken on new meaning after learning that “A Day Without Soldering is like a Day Without Sunshine”.  That would be a great C/W song title, or bumper sticker.  So here we go……

I have just returned from participating in the Copper Country Art Festival in Copper Mountain, Colorado.   My good friend, Pat Pocius, from South Park Pottery and Back Room Beads in Fairplay, CO,  and I had done that show together back in the 90’s, when there were over 400 vendors,  accompanied by fabulous music festival,  to boot.  It’s was quite a bit smaller this year, with only about 20 vendors, but the music was still good.  The people still flocked to hear Michael Michael Murphy and America, among others,  and I sold a number of pieces.  This was only the second show I’ve done since 1999.  Because of Mark’s job, we have lived in Chile for a number of years, and then in Bethlehem, PA for 3 years.   Though I participated in gallery shows through Pennsylvania Society of Goldsmiths, which I was honored to be their President,  I had not done a show on my own.  Truthfully, it was fun, but a lot of hard work.  The stress of getting ready for the show, producing new pieces and wondering if the public will like them, packing all your “stuff”, setting up, standing in 54 degree weather all day, and then repacking and coming home  and unpacking is an ordeal.  No, it’s a real pain.  BUT, do you get many benefits from doing a show.

1. You get the public’s immediate response to your work, both good and bad. Like I found that putting a ball chain on my pieces was not something the public liked.  This feed back is invaluable.

2.  You get new ideas from people who stop to visit with you.  “Have you thought about putting this with that….?”

3.  Networking with other artists is tremendous opportunity to learn.. I found out from water color artist, Todd Winters, about two shows back in Texas.  They are in the town where I grew up, and he says they are great. I’ll try those next year.  It would be fun to re-connect wth old friends.

4.  Which is another reason to do shows, I reconnected with a good customer from the shows in the 90’s.  It was good to be back in touch, and I’ll put her on my email list for future shows.

5.  Even though Sundays high was only 54 degrees, it felt good to be in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. It was a glorious week-end.

6.  There is no commission to galleries.  You do all the work, you get all the money.  Truthfully, the jury is still out on this one.  I have to figure out if 50% to a gallery is worth all the fore-mentioned stresses.

7.  Mark and I spent a whole week end together, no TV, no couch “potato-ing”, just sharing the experiences of good music, making memories, and meeting new people, some who will become repeat customers, I’m sure, and some will just pass through our lives, but they left our lives enriched.

So, take the plunge. Try out a show in your area.  It forces you to create new pieces within a time frame.  And one thing I have learned, “Creativity begats creativity.”  If you’re not busy making new things, you don’t grow.

So now, I’m off the the studio to make a few cuff bracelets for this week-ends Castle Rock Art Festival.  I’ll be on the right side near the entry.  Hope to see you there.

Please feel free use this blog to ask questions regarding jewelry making, shows, etc.  Questions regarding the meaning of life will have to be forwarded on, since I have a few answers, but maybe not what you are looking for.  Until then,  may all your bezels fit.



10 Responses

  1. Welcome to the blogosphere my dear friend, teacher, and mentor!

    What a great first post. Your writing is a delightful reflection of the person you are. Thanks too for the kind mention of me in this first post. I am honored.

    I will encourage as many people as I can to keep up with your blog and find out about the happenings in your world.

    Well done. Make it a great day of creativity!

    Your sister & padawan, Kathleen 🙂

  2. I got directed here via Kathleen on Facebook – and I am very much looking forward to seeing more postings about your gorgeous work! I haven’t ventured into the realm of the torch yet – no studio space, and I’d burn my room down if I tried right now – but I hope to eventually.

    Welcome to the blogosphere! 🙂


  3. I’m reading it! Thanks to Kathleen for introducing your new blog to her facebook friends. I’m looking forward to keeping track of your blog. Love your ending – “May all your bezel fit “- I wish!

    • Thanks Sandy, and Kathleen is pretty wonderful. With practice you will learn to get “bezeling” perfect. The trick is to make your bezels a bit too large. All the books say to make it fit the stone exactly. If you make them to fit, after they are soldered to the back plate, 75% of the time they will be too small. Thats because of the meniscus…but we won’t go into that here. So make them a “hair” (that’s a technical jewelry term) large. Hope this helps. One day soon I’ll do a blog page on bezel setting. — Lexi

  4. Another Kathleen follower, I am impressed this is your first blog! Great writing, with links & I look forward to reading more!

  5. Kathleen has us all wanting to get to know you also. She admires you so much. I want a torch in my hand…and it’s all Kathleen’s fault. I’ll be with both of you probably with a steady stream of questions. I’ll be ‘torching’ in a few months. Great first blog! Lynda

  6. Hi Lexi. I feel like I already know you, thanks to Kathleen’s many mentions of you in her blog. Welcome to the world of blogging. If this post is any indicator of things to come, we all have a lot to look forward to. Happy creating… -Don

  7. I just discovered your blog…and yes… THE TORCH… I was terrified of that thing in my first metalsmithing class (three years ago)…took me most of a semester to get the guts up to hold the flint starter and torch…

    you know what? after that first POOF…that’s ALL I wanted to do! All the following semesters…I tutored the other frightened students into firing up the torch! 🙂

    • Hi Lisa, and thank you for writing. My story was very much like yours. I wouldn’t light the torch for the first couple of weeks of class, either. Then I was making an Art Nouveau tiara, believe it of not, my second piece, and I finally lit the torch for my first time. But I would only use the #00 head, the smallest head. Well, the tiara never got enough heat to solder the entire piece, so I ended up with 27 pair of unusual earrings! Then when my husband surprised me with a new torch for my studio a few months later, I was terrified that I’d burn down our house, so wouldn’t light that one, either. I have come to soldering through many tribulations. Thank your for helping others thru the process, and being an inspiration to new jewelers.
      Thank you for writing, and please keep your comments coming.

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