Artist Spotlight: The Art of Personal Adornment

Artist Spotlight: The Art of Personal Adornment

Kathleen Krucoff, Colorado Springs, CO

 of mediums from painting to glass work. However, once she discovered metalwork the idea for her business developed. During the time when television shows like Bones showcased the main character wearing statement pieces, something resonated with her to start making one of a kind jewelry. Realizing that some form of personal adornment has been worn by people since ancient times, that thought fueled Kathleen's desire to create art jewelry. Her believe is everyone should be able to wear jewelry that is as unique as they are.

Describe Your Work:
My work is often described as earthy and organic. I do not do highly polished jewelry for many reasons; the main reason is I do not want the wearer to become disappointed with that first nick or scratch. As a result, I incorporate lots of textures and tend to use patina for definition. With wear, the piece will take on its own character. My favorite subjects are the night skies, trees and mountains.

How did you get started in the crafts business?

After my mother passed away in 2006, I felt drawn to focus on my art. She had always encouraged me to become an artist, yet I don't believe I was ready until she was gone. I started working with fused glass and that was my first attempt at getting started in the business. With that work, I was wire wrapping glass pendants and earrings yet I felt I was limited with what I could make. Through that process, I met a metalsmith who said she could take my work to the next level. She taught me the fundamentals and since then I never looked back. I find I have endless possibilities to express myself through art jewelry. I love the work.

How long have you been wholesaling?

I have been wholesaling for ten years.

What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?

Instagram, IndieMe Ads and my Facebook Artist page.

What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?

95% of my business is wholesale. The other 5% is retail which happens once a year I participate in a studio tour with the focus on educating visitors about my process. It's important that people develop an understanding of what goes into the creative part of a piece. I have an investment in tools, inventory, and continuous education, along with daily practice at the craft.

How has IndieMe helped your business?

It has helped me to find new buyers. I think the Buyer's Guides and other flyers to target audiences have helped me to grow my business.

What advice do you have for new craft artists?

Stay curious. Have that thirst for knowledge which gets you in the studio every day. Spend at least 5 minutes a day in your studio whether you feel like it or not because those 5 minutes could turn into hours of productivity and new work can emerge. That's priceless. Be persistent. Creating art jewelry is something I love doing. Practice is necessary, just as spending a percentage of your time marketing. Realize that even if you have a website built, that doesn't mean people will flock to it. Do short videos on Instagram showing you working. Use the Live feed on both Instagram and Facebook to engage your audience. Consider YouTube and publish some tutorials there. There's no set way to do any of this, but try things and see what works for you. Realize there will be bad days but never give up. Some times things just are not going well. I find these things help me get over that creative slump: listen to music, walk, read motivational books, do anything that will keep you focused and upbeat. That's so important if you start to get discouraged.

What advice do you have for new craft galleries?

Take time to work with your artists. Mentor them and let them know what appeals to your clients. You chose them to be in your gallery, so you already have some ideas about what is appealing to your audience. Don't tell them to make certain things, but given them suggestions of what might work. If they are in your area, offer to have them do trunk shows around certain key holidays like Mother's Day or Christmas. The public likes to meet the artist and with trunk show many will bring in new work especially for that show.

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