The Creative Process:
Where can a happy jade Buddha relax comfortably next to a clouded amber African, sitting beside a lapis lazuli Egyptian, next to a ancient mammoth tusked Alaskan, snuggled up to a brilliant turquoise Native American? Although this may sound like a 1960’s stand-up comic’s joke set up, it’s actually referring to a combination of stunning multicultural beads. You can not mix these together in an art museum, where the curators are finicky purists that scurry about segregating the dynasty, country, and media into disparate collections. But if you sincerely do appreciate an aesthetic global view, you will love the sensitive cultural infusions that Nancy Krause brings to her unique pieces of jewelry.
Nancy, having a background in both illustration/ design and Art History, knows how and when to break the rules. Nancy believes, “There are no maxims that restrict setting the sparkle of a faceted cut roundel aquamarine beside a luminous carved bone monkey figurine. In fact, the vibrant inner jewel tone of one, compliments the luminous opacity of the other. The mere fact that you have not seen this combination before, makes it desirable in its genuine unique pairing.” Nancy respects the conventions of jewelry making in her own way, saying, “Those cultural influences that have made a lasting impression upon me stretch from the fabulous Japanese silk kimonos with their hand carved inrō purses with netsuke and ojime beads… to King Tutankhamun’s golden slippers and his enamelled, inlayed mosaic precious stone necklaces and headpieces … to the pre-Columbian gold flat footed frog fertility fetishes … to Native American hand beaded moccasins … to puzzle-like Celtic charms. All colors, stones, metals, ceramics, pearls, leather, paper, grasses, silks, sinew, coral, carved bones, tusks, feathers, antlers, glass, wood, shells and seeds have been used before. I am not reinventing the wheel, just putting them together differently. Seeing my jewelry pieces, you will be reminded of a genre or two that you have seen before,… but with a twist. A sort of exotic gumbo of a jewelry collection. Hopefully this is jewelry that you always wanted, but didn’t know it, until you saw it. New, and yet remembered.”
When Nancy was young, she spent a good deal of her time at the Minneapolis Art Institute, where she took classes from kindergarten to College summer school. Her mother volunteered at the museum gift shop for many years and was an avid art appreciator and amateur artist herself. At Colorado State University, Nancy majored in Illustration and Design. In 1977 she began her career as an illustrator at Hallmark Cards for five years in Kansas City. She then pursued freelance illustration work while living in southern and central California. Nancy has created greeting cards for all occasions, gift wrap, decorative plaques, jewelry boxes, address books, photo albums, stationary, wallpaper, needle point designs, plush toys, textile designs. She has also been chosen, and then commissioned by the US Postal Service to create three separate designs that were all used as US Postal stamps.
In 2005, Nancy began making jewelry as a hobby. She was frustrated by the poor selection of unusual designs. She collected a wide variety of art beads from all over the world. Many of the international vendors were accessible at the semi-annual Denver Bead Shows, and the gigantic annual Tucson Bead Show. Whenever Nancy travels, she hunts out the most interesting bead sources. She has shopped with bead suppliers worldwide. In 2010, her hobby turned into a business as she was besieged by requests from friends and admirers for pieces similar to what Nancy models daily. “Designing jewelry is very much like painting,” Nancy says. “Color choice, balance of elements, texture, focus, weight, and silhouette, are essential to strong design. But unlike painting, being sensitive to current fashion trends and necklines is a whole other dimension. The challenge is inspiring. I dream in beads. I want my clientele to enjoy wearing these pieces as much as I did creating them.” Presently Nancy lives in the Colorado foothills of the Rocky Mountains, with her husband, Ezra Tucker, who is also an artist. They have three talented children, who are all artistic in their own right. Nancy and Ezra both have their studios at home, where they create spectacular art pieces, while herds of mule deer graze in their forested property.