Meet jewelry creator Kathleen Krucoff. Kathleen loves to work with gold, silver, natural stones, gemstones and more. And her fabulous array of metal-based collections is proof she’s living her “Metal is my Canvas” tagline.
Kathleen discovered the difference CraftOptics could make back in 2018 and has been using her glasses ever since—especially to set small stones and create the tiny details that make her jewelry so special.
When I get immersed in the process, there’s a sense of calm and serenity. I can feel the creative energy flowing through my body into my hands, working with my brain. I have always loved working with my hands. Transforming metal into something beautiful is very satisfying.
One of the common misconceptions about making jewelry is that you don’t have to think—but that’s not true. During the fabrication process, you have to do a lot of problem solving. If you don’t do things in the right order, you will end up with scrap metal instead of a beautiful work of art. I like the challenge of creating a design and figuring out how I can re-create that in metal. Sometimes I get myself into tricky situations, but most of the time I can produce the piece I’ve envisioned.
I’ve always been artistic, and I’ve dabbled in a lot of things. I got hooked on stained glass in the ‘80s. That evolved to fused glass and I eventually started to make jewelry that included wire wrapping the fused glass cabochons I would make. I took some of my pieces to a little gallery and the woman liked my work so much she offered to teach me metalsmithing—she thought it would up my jewelry game and I think she was right! I’ve also had the opportunity to train with a number of well-known jewelry artists like Il Maestro Fabrizio Aquafresca, an Italian Master maker from Florence Italy. From him I learned what he likes to refer to as the ancient art of chasing (embossing) and repoussé (shaping metal by hammering).
I love the idea that you can take a flat sheet of metal and have the potential to create almost anything your mind can envision. There are so many techniques to change the appearance of the metal through texture, piercing and heat. The process just fascinates me.
I recently went back to making bracelets with stones in them. I hadn’t made one in about seven years, and I was curious to see how my skills had changed. The end results turned out very well and I could see how my skills had progressed. It’s not that my earlier pieces weren’t good, but I could see my growth as an artist.
My CraftOptics glasses made a big difference with this piece. I used a texture plate to imprint an intricate scroll design on the metal and I wanted to place a tiny stone in the very center of one of the scrolls. If you look closely at the photo of that bracelet, you can see the green gem stone, a Peridot, in the center of a scroll. Setting that would have been incredibly challenging without my CraftOptics—I might have had to give up on my design.
I first got CraftOptics back in 2018. My corrected vision is just fine, but it was very difficult to do tiny detail work and sometimes it was hard set the 2mm stones I use in my work or to precisely pierce—or cut—the metal with my tree shapes, especially for small pieces. I saw them advertised on social media and I talked to my dentist because it seemed like he had something similar (Good eye Kathleen! CraftOptics got their start in the dental profession). I ordered my CraftOptics with the DreamBeam because I could see having a light would be very helpful to have it focused right where I needed it.
I truly don’t know if I’d be able to do the fine detail work that’s so important to my jewelry without them.
I do a lot of hand texturing, I cut out tiny shapes and I set very small stones. The precision the glasses provide is exactly what I need because I can see what I’m doing.
The DreamBeam light is a big part of that. It’s critical to get bright, pinpoint lighting focused right on what I’m looking at and the DreamBeam makes that easy.
Like a lot of other CraftOptics users, I had some initial sticker shock. But it was helpful that I could read testimonials and even email people to ask about their experience.
Your eyesight is worth the investment and my CraftOptics have easily paid for themselves. Plus, I like the fact that when your vision changes, it’s easy and affordable to get the prescription updated (just $97, which includes return shipping). I’ll be able to use these as long as I continue to do metalworking.
Visit my website: KathleenKrucoff.com