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Location:
Martinsville
Website:
Medium:
Wood Pendants and Earrings
FEATURED WORK
Joe Krutulis

Joe’s use of Indiana hardwoods is part of why he was named an Indiana Artisan. “I love trees, and I love the woods!” he said. “Indiana’s forests have so many beautiful tree varieties—sycamore, dogwood, hickory, maple, redbud, box elder, cherry… all providing material and inspiration.”

For committees across Indiana, here is the answer to the age-old question of how to get rid of the “dead wood” so the organization can be more productive. Take it to Joe Krutulis. To hear him tell it, that’s what people have been doing for years.

His exact words were, “As I have become better-known, people now bring me their interesting dead wood,” so while he might not have the key to improved human dynamics, he has a good supply of material for his wood jewelry, which is the third chapter of his art career.

For years, Joe has made wooden mobiles that have received acclaim. And prior to mobiles, Joe’s medium was sculpture. “I began my art career thinking I would draw and paint as my father did,” he said. “He was a successful commercial artist; however, I discovered I see and create in three dimensions better than two, and I began working with figurative sculpture.” Two of Joe’s sculptures were accepted into Hoosier Salon Annual Exhibits, and a life-size sculpture is on permanent display in the main lobby of the Morgan County Public library.

So turning back to human dynamics, Joe’s work today was based on a suggestion. “I had some mobiles in a show, and the gallery owner, who had mentored me, said the wood elements in the mobile would make beautiful jewelry. Needing a birthday gift for my sister, I crafted a pendant of spalted dogwood. All the ladies present when I gave the gift ‘demanded’ that I make them a pendant. From there, the jewelry line expanded rapidly, with flourishing sales.”

Joe’s time in the woods has expanded, too; and his use of Indiana hardwoods is part of why he was named an Indiana Artisan. “I love trees, and I love the woods!” he said. “Indiana’s forests have so many beautiful tree varieties—sycamore, dogwood, hickory, maple, redbud, box elder, cherry… all providing material and inspiration. I have spent many hours in Indiana forests, always inspired by the beauty and variety of the trees.”

Craftsmanship is the primary reason Joe was named an Indiana Artisan. “I love to discover and then enhance the exceptionally beautiful grain structure in an old discarded piece of wood that would have been burned or trashed,” he said. “I find much of my material on daily walks, and I really like the reaction of people who see my work. I get notes and emails from many who tell me how much they love their jewelry and how much notice it receives from others. It’s all great for my ego,” the retired engineer said with a smile.

Joe visited the annual Indiana Artisan Marketplace at the State Fairgrounds and was impressed by the quality of the work. “There was nothing like my jewelry there,” he said, “so I wanted to see how successful my work would be in relation to the fine quality I saw.” After he applied, the jury panel agreed that his work is indeed exceptional, and today Joe, who is an active part of the organization and certainly not dead wood, says, “I am pleased and honored to be recognized among the best artisans in Indiana.”