Artist’s Reception, Friday, July 21, 5-8 pm
July 21- August 14, 2017
by Leti Wesolowski, contributor
Dan and Kathleen Krucoff, a husband and wife duo, are Commonwheel’s guest artists for the month of July. Dan is a photographer and Kathleen is a metalsmith and jeweler. They have longed to do a joint show featuring both their artwork.
Dan came up with the idea for “Immersion” to allow them to relay their love of the water-infused sights in Colorado and other areas they have visited through their respective media.
For this show Dan’s work consists of digital landscape photography with water as a central theme. From drops on leaves to ocean vistas, along with roaring waterfalls to still pools, he explores water in its natural forms. His goal is to leave the viewer with the feeling of being in these remarkable, inspiring places. He is focusing primarily on areas around the Pikes Peak region, but is also including subjects from other parts of the state and country.
As Kathleen began to develop new works for this show, she sought and found stones that represent water to her. Some pieces incorporate lush green Ocean Jaspers with emerald and gold accents that remind her of ocean waves. Other stones such as Leland Blue or Larimar evoke images of ponds and tranquil lakes. Kathleen has employed a variety of metalsmithing techniques such as Chasing and Repoussé to create seashells, and texturing to create sandy backgrounds in her works.
Celebrate with the artists at our opening reception on Friday July 21 at our Creekside Gallery from 5 to 8 pm, as part of the Manitou Springs ArtWalk.
This show will be on display and for sale until August 14.
When Kathleen and Dan were discussing the possibility of doing a joint show, the theme “Immersion” came from him. He thought that both of them could create art work representing water elements. For Dan, it was a great opportunity to share his digital photography and work in partnership with his wife. For Kathleen, an opportunity to incorporate to her work stones that signified water to her and enhance their natural
Dan, How did you get interested in photography?
I started in photography in my teens. I was inspired by my mother and her father, who both were interested in photography as well. In addition, my father’s love of the outdoors and wilderness helped push me towards landscapes.
What does making art mean to you?
Making art for me is about sharing a part of my life with others. Whether it is faraway places that I visit or just sharing the experience of something close by and familiar, it is always a small piece of myself that I have the benefit of showing.
What has inspired your artwork for this show?
As a landscape photographer inspiration is all around me. I always see it that God has done all the hard work and I get the privilege of getting to bring that to others. The water theme of this show ties into this, not only as a subject itself, but also as one of the primary forces that shape the landscapes around us.
What intentions or emotions do you want to express in your artwork?
The intent of “Immersion” for me is to both use water as a focal point of each image and to communicate the feeling of being there. The power and sound that come from a waterfall, or the sense of scale from looking out at the ocean, or the quiet solitude in a still reflective pool, all elicit different feelings to the viewer.
What is your favorite piece at this show and why?
My favorite piece is “Garden of the Gods Reflection”. It is my favorite because it shows how you can always find something new in locations you have been many times before. It was a bit off the beaten path and it was just so peaceful that morning with the refection of the rock formations in the pool of water from rain the night before. This image was done using the technique of High Dynamic Range (HDR). This is where multiple photos are taken at different exposures and combined to be able to show the darkest and lightest parts of the scene in all their detail.
What is your proudest achievement as a photographer?
I consider my proudest achievement as an artist to be anytime someone decides to make one of my photos a part of their home.
Where else can we find your artwork?
Currently you can see more of my work on my website: www.sufferingfomexposure.com and on my Facebook page: facebook.com/sufferingfromexposure
Kathleen, tell us about yourself.
I’ve always been involved creating art. I dabbled with oil painting and fell in love with doing stained glass. Then, in 2007, I started to experiment with fused glass. I would wire wrap the glass cabochons I made. Through those pieces, I met a metalsmith who said she could take my work to the next level. In 2008, I took lessons from her and things just sort of grew from that.
It’s important to me to continue to learn and grow as an artist. Living where I do, I have had the good fortune to take a number of workshops from masters in their field, which has helped my work to improve.
What does making art mean to you?
Being an artist is an essential part of who I am. It is as important to my life as breathing is. I am able to express myself through my work. I have always loved working with my hands; metalwork provides some of the fulfillment I seek in my life.
Where does your inspiration comes from?
My work is very organic because I am heavily influenced by nature. My dad did landscape work so he would take me with him on some of his jobs. I learned an appreciation for plants and trees by observing his care of them. He would explain their importance and I think that instilled a lot of my love for the unique beauty I find in leaves, bark, anything organic.
Are you exploring a new theme for this show?
Yes, I definitely explored a new theme for this show. Initially I thought the bulk of my work would be in Chasing & Repoussé. However, I discovered that I could use stones like fossilized coral and sand dollars, among others to convey meaning. I decided to add little touches of gold and faceted gemstones to emphasize the beauty of the natural stones. I even created some new earrings that signify waves to me. They are lightweight and sort of shimmer like water in the light.
What intentions or thoughts do you want to express in your jewelry?
The goal with any of my pieces is to create something as unique as the wearer. Just as no two leaves are alike, neither are any two of my pieces. I strive to create one of a kind, wearable art.
A little bit of me is embedded into each of my works. I tend to make each piece as if it was meant for me… I work to ‘listen’ to a stone so I am guided to create (what) is destined to become.
What is your favorite piece at this show and why?
It’s hard to pick just one. I have to say the turquoise pendant that I call “Ocean Blue” is my favorite. It blends all the elements that came together as I worked on the pieces for “Immersion.” Tranquil light blue in the turquoise, a flush set Sapphire and then gold accents. This one even has a gold bezel around that luscious turquoise. Rich, sand like texture reminds me of a day at the ocean.
What’s next for you?
I have tentative plans to go to Florence, Italy next year and take another Chasing & Repoussé workshop from the Italian Master Fabrizio Acquafresca. That would be a dream come true.
One of the many things my preparations for the exhibit taught me was to be prepared for change. I am so grateful to see the growth in my work and as an artist. It has been wonderful to collaborate with my husband Dan as he is one of my biggest fans and supporters. I feel very blessed.
Where else can we find your artwork?
My work is carried at Boulder Arts and Crafts in Boulder, CO and also at Luma at the Broadmoor here in Colorado Springs.
My website: http://www.kathleenkrucoff.com
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KathleenKrucoffArtJewelry/
And my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathleenkrucoff/
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Mandala--art in the round
by Leti Wesolowski
We put out a call for mandala-related art and our local artists stepped up to the challenge. The “Mandala” show currently in our gallery is the result.
17 artists brought in mandala-related art from diverse points of views and inspiration—from patterns of nature, symbols from different cultures, colors, and the practice of centering and meditation. The works explore multiple medias but all embody the concept of “mandala”: fused glass; watercolor; digital photography; bronze, silver, and copper; precious metal clays; mixed media; stained glass; laser-cut wood; hand stamped clay; polymer clay; engraved terracotta; vinyl records; color pencil drawings; and more.
We invite you to contemplate mandalas made by local artists and discover which one evokes feelings of peace, balance, unity and strength that resonate with you. Let them work their magic on your life and allow your mind to wander into the beauty of mandalas.
“Mandala” comes from a Sanskrit word that means “circle or disc”.
In art, mandala is often a symbolic pattern usually in the form of a circle within a square divided into four symmetric sections containing a unifying center from which geometric shapes and symbols radiate outwards.
“The mandala is an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages. It signifies the wholeness of the Self.” —Carl G. Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections
Embraced by many religions and cultures around the world, a mandala represents wholeness and the connection between inner self and outer reality.
“In Christianity, there are a number of sacred images and ritual invocations that use the circular shape to connect the spiritual realm with the earthly realm”, says figurative sculptor Marica Hefti. “The placement of divine beings, angelic figures, and holy personages at crucial positions within the circular (stained glass) windows (of Christian cathedrals) establishes the powerful storyline of Christian beliefs”.
Hindus were one of the first people to use mandalas as spiritual tools. Native Americans use mandalas as shields of good luck, prosperity, wealth and happiness. Buddhist monks create sand mandalas, a process that takes days to create, then sweep it and pour it into a river, to symbolize the never-ending cycle of life.
“A concept of new beginnings, forms of life itself” says Tracey Eastland when asked to explain what a mandala means to him.
Mandala is used in spiritual practices as a focal point for meditation, self-awareness, and healing.
For digital photographer Teri Rowan, a mandala is “meant to inspire meditation and introspection” or can be admired for just its beauty.
Metalsmith Kathleen Krucoff thinks a mandala is “a beautiful symbol to convey positive messages of encouragement and support”.
In art, mandala has become a generic term for any diagram, chart, or geometric pattern that represents the center of the universe, metaphysically or symbolically.
For Jewelry artist Connie Lorig, a mandala represents “a complex dance between unity and diversity, between the parts and the whole.”
For artist Sheila Hewlett, mandala means the continuity of life.
Commonwheel artist Julia Wright takes pictures of nature during her hikes and then edit them on her computer to create hypnotic mandalas.
Designing a mandala is a unique personal experience in which the individual lets the creative mind to run free and find the symphony of shapes, colors and patterns to represent their unique sense of self and view of reality.
Sculptor m.jo hart says “mandalas represent the process and meditation involved in creating her work”, which is focused on women’s issues, unique stories and experiences.
Mandalas can be created by individuals to symbolize their journeys through life, their state of mind or to tell their personal story.
Some of our artists got inspired by Celtic art, such as lampwork artists Jon Murray and Amanda Shotts who incorporate in their mandala barrettes “a circular pattern that has no beginning and no ending, signifying infinity of love!”
Or Glass artist Sabine Wachs who “was drawn to the Celtic spiral mandalas used as symbols of the sun powering all life”.
Jeweler Mary Cowdery got inspired by the yin-yang symbol, repetition and balance.
Artist Ray Jordan loves bright whimsical colors. His biggest inspiration is combining bright colors with his love of painting, drawing and cutting wood.
Kendrick Cowdery has a strong desire to maintain peace in his life. His handmade mandala lamp is built on mat board using a laser cutter and colorful translucent paper.
Several artists took it as a chance to explore new themes and materials, such as mosaic artist Juanita Canzoneri who jumped at the opportunity to play with alcohol inks and raid her stash of stained glass. She found that, during the process, mos of her work reminded her of an art form from her childhood in eastern Pennsylvania.
Others worked in new themes with their primary media, such as potter Jennifer Hanson who creates mandalas on her clay dishes with different hand stamps.
Or illustrator and mixed media artist Kelly Green who finds that vinyl albums automatically lend themselves to the mandala format.
Creating a mandala can be an enriching personal experience. To draw a mandala, one starts by “drawing the circle, setting an intention, centering through a meditation, usually start at the “bindu” sacred center and follow inspiration that comes” explains Mandala instructor Anne Roe. She sees mandalas “as “windows to the soul”, sacred circles and opportunities for the soulful self to express authentically”.
Sometimes mandalas are created to evoke feelings of peace and contentment on the observer. Kathleen Krucoff, for example, wanted her pieces to “help the wearer feel empowered” focusing in tranquility and strength. Ray Jordan wanted to “bring a smile to the art viewer mind and make them think”.