I ordered some business cards. At last! …I was embarrassed at my first show by not being prepared with a proper business card. I had to borrow my daughter’s. Fixed that. A business card is like the sacred first step in being a real business. Especially one that has face to face contact with its customers.
I have another business selling small machine tools. All sales are made over the Internet and I almost, but not never, see my customers face to face. I should have a card to put in my packages and for the times I do see my customer. That’s next. I may opt for a more generic card without fancy graphics.
My KautrzCraft cards are kind of fancy, feminine looking. I decided they needed to have some style since the product is jewelry and mostly feminine jewelry, but not always. The guys will just have to deal with the look, and buy something for the lady in their life. Ha!
Silver is a good metal for jewelry. Sterling is a hard silver and makes great durable jewelry. Tarnish is a bit of a problem. Argentum is an alternate silver that doesn’t tarnish but is a bit of a different color. It’s also a product made from recycled silver and not a produced in the USA. For now, at least, I’ll cast with sterling from USA sources. I never say never…
I am capable of casting gold; the process is the same as silver lost wax casting. But the extreme cost is likely to make it very hard for me to sell. I think I will leave gold work to the better-known producers. Expensive pieces are sold as much for their brand name as well as the quality of the work. I may need many years of high end work to gain the instant name fame recognition to sell high dollar jewelry. Ha!
I am happy being the little guy with a niche, doing nice specialty silver work. My goal is not to build a dominate presence in the world of cast silver jewelry. At age 70+ I have something I enjoy designing and spending time creating and people are willing to own. Reward enough.
The new business card will help my best salesperson, my dear wife Gloria, present my work. About time I did that for her.
I have ventured off into Plasticville, a little village I knew about in my youth. It was a not-to-realistic collection of plastic structure models intended for model train use. They were mostly snap-together and not of realistic colors. That is, not high scale accuracy. They did the job for tinplate toy railroads.
However, this post is not about this old commercial toy product. Only Illustrating the fact, I have become highly involved in making small objects using 3D printing and plastic materials. Therefore, I must be virtually living in Plasticville, USA.
I will certainly continue with my creative plastic endeavors. I will try to back off a bit, though. The nice part of making high quality 3D plastic parts is, quality demands fine layer printing and that takes a long run time. Time, I will use to get back to my more artistic efforts.
I am making effort to return to wax carving by the good old manual process. I will reserve the CNC carving for the mass-produced items. I want my hand carved effort to be unique items. If needed, I do have the tools for making rubber molds for creating a series from hand carved masters if I desire.
My thinking (for this moment) is to express myself as more of the old school artist. To me that means more creative hand carving.
The rings I make are all one hundred percent hand carved. My thoughts are not to limit hand carving to just rings. I like to make rings, but I only have ten fingers, the last time I counted…
The coming Summer is an excellent time to turn my focus back to the air-conditioned wax carving area of my studio. I can fire up say, a twelve-hour 3D print job run and then switch to the wax carving project. The printer to do its monotonous repetitive motions and I can do my inspirational wax carving motions. Ha!
KautzCraft is now involved in some very nice woodworking projects. My vision of my work is not limited by defined material restraints. I enjoy working with a great variety of base materials. Currently I am working on some carved wood boxes or chests. Chest is a fancy name for a box with a lid. Ha!
Jewelry and silverwork is still one of my hot areas of interest. That will continue for a long time.
Crafting jewelry with glass enameling is a slow and a bit tedious process but produces wonderful results. It is a beautiful way to add color variation to my silver cast items. Of course glass enameling can be applied to many other metals. I hope I can live long enough to try them all.
That’s not a fatalist statement. I am not on my way out any time soon as far as I know. I am just hinting at all the possibilities with glass enameling. Surely a full lifetime of opportunity exists.
I think what fascinates me as much as the results is the technique. It is a fusing process requiring high enough heat to melt glass. It is a very hot process requiring temperatures (in the process I am using now) of between 1400 to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit (F.) .
When I purchased my kiln, I had the idea if working with melting glass, so I picked one that can create temperatures over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit (F.) if required. I have had it up and over that temperature once. All my needs so far have been around 1300-1450 F. The kiln glows a fuzzy red on the inside at those temperatures. It is a bright yellow-white color above 2000 F.
Both silver casting and glass enameling are high heat process that I love to do. It is creation from heat that makes it something special to experience. At least for me.
I am sure the pottery and glass makers share the same experience of creating with high temperature. It is the wonder and fascination of working with a high heat process and how it differs from the normal temperatures we experience in our daily lives. Maybe bakers and cooks and weldors understand too.
It is the results of a high temperature process that are enjoyed by most people but understanding (and performing) the process is a form of appreciation and enjoyment for me. It fits well with my moto, “Doing what I love for those who love what I do.”
I recently read an intriguing definition of jewelry that called it “wearable art.” I am sure I have heard or read it many times before, but this time it seemed so appropriate after thinking about it for a while. While the word “Jewelry” may infer the use of jewels or gems, I prefer the broader interpretation of “wearable art”.
Jewelry really is an art form displayed on a person’s body. The wearer is making a statement that “I like this” and I want to share my opinion. There is certainly the opportunity of what and how it is worn will create some interaction and hopefully admiration. As with all forms of art, jewelry makes a visual and sometimes tactile statement about the owner.
Yes, jewelry can be used to flaunt wealth and status, and that too is a public statement. But jewelry is always worn for the personal reasons of the person; Sometimes modest and sometimes boldly. Hang it around your neck or poke it through your lip (or elsewhere) if that’s what you want to do.
What I am discussing is simply the fact that it is art on public display in a very personal way. It has some sort of expressional meaning to the wearer. Jewelry design is often symbolic and is worn as an indication of membership or faith. Design can be recognizable or abstract. There are no rules. Jewelry can be changed to alter the message.
This type of body art is wearable and does not impose the permanence of indelible inking. It allows for a change of mind and expression. It is portable and also transferable. It can easily be passed on through generations of human existence. Dread the thought, it can even be recycled.
For me as a creator, the art is in the design and making. Reasons for design are limitless. My enjoyment is in the freedom and expression, creating from raw materials with the durability to last for a very long time.
I look with wonder at discovered treasure. It is often some form of jewelry. It far outlives the original owner, but quietly says a lot about the person who made it and also the person who owned it. That is close to immortality even without a human name. The piece is what remains tangible and speaks for itself.
For what more grand a result can a local artist strive? There’s no harm in imagining…
I just received my “makers mark” 4/21/16 for my jewelry silver work. It is a custom with silver work (and I assume other metals) that the designer/craftsperson mark the work piece created, with a steel identification stamp. The impression design is chosen to be unique to the artist or craftsman.
I designed a stylized KC as shown in the graphic. It of course represents KautzCraft. The “leg” of the K is merged into the lower positioned back of the C. The logo is also used on the website as the favicon (icon) that is seen on the tab of the browser and in the “favorites” listing of most browsers.
Overall the stamp for silver marking is 2mm tall. That is not very much, as the intention is to identify the artist and not be a design feature of the piece. There is another mark I use and that is “.925” which is a recognized symbol for Sterling silver. (containing 92.5% pure silver). It is 1 mm tall.
The marks have a meaning and are intentional and even required when selling silver and calling it Sterling. I am conforming to the long established standards of quality and tradition. I feel it is an honor to leave my mark in this world.
Dan Kautz is an early “Baby Boomer” being born in December, 1946 in Youngstown, Ohio USA. His father, Dan Jr., came home from the war in Europe and almost immediately married and started a family - as many young couples did in that post war era.
Many of Dan’s extended family were craftsmen and some considered as formal artists back in his formative years of the 20th century. The creative desire to make things literally surrounded him. Dan took on many creative and technical hobbies and a love of working with tools and machines.
His main life-career centered on the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) industry. In the last phase of his career before retirement he worked almost 18 years in the buildings environmental energy management field. Dan earned professional credentials as a Certified Energy Manager, a Certified Business Energy Professional and a Certified Sustainable Development Professional. At age 68+ Dan retired from this long running, intensely satisfying, and important career area. Follow Dan’s professional career on Linkedin.
Today Dan has re-solidified his creative desires by establishing KautzCraft studio. His present focus is with Lost Wax Carving and Casting of personal jewelry and other collectable items. Taking earthy raw materials like metals or renewables like natural wood and creating heirloom quality articles is personally satisfying to Dan.
Follow Dan as he explores his artistic heritage and develops offerings for sale or just items of interest here in KautzCraft studio. There will be many interesting and tangible creations yet to come from the mind and hands of Dan Kautz.
Invention and Tangible Art
The KautzCraft Studio was established in 2009 in Frisco, Texas -- a growing community just north of Dallas.
Producing Inventive Arts and Craft creations has been an avocation for (me) owner Dan Kautz all my life. The avocation designation went away on 3/1/2015, as I entered retirement from my major occupation as an energy conservation engineer and large-scale project construction manager. The KautzCraft Studio now receives my daily attention.