He loves the process of wrapping precious and semi-precious stones in lengths of silver wire, be they pendants, rings, bracelets, or just playful crowns for his children.
It began as therapy for his anxiety and the tough attitude of his boss.
"Thirteen years I worked with a company that put down pavers, blocks and bricks, for patios, pool sides, walkways, outdoor kitchens and fancy stuff,” he said. “It was getting to the point where I was going to leave when the boss messed up my check. When I faced him about it, he fired me. That led me to more time with my kids and wife."
It also led him to a festival that brought a major change in life by igniting his creativity when "a vendor coming through asked if I wanted to buy some jewelry. I bought a piece for my wife. Looking at it one day I saw the silver wire wrap that held the stone. I liked the wrapping so decided to try it myself.
“All my life I have drawn a lot, painted, done tattoos, carved wood, soapstone, deer antler, and done chainsaw art. I have always loved collecting stones, too. Later on I realized that my father, his brother and my grandfather were all into rocks and had their own rock collections. My uncle was a geologist who taught at a university. We lived near the Huron River where I could find septarian nodules." Kreps collected them for the crystals inside.
"As I got better at wrapping stones, I got involved with Rio Grande Company that supplies all type of tools, stones, wire, etc. My first order was for $500 of wire and $100 of stones. I keep records and found that $500 turned into five grand. I used my income tax refund to finance this business. This time I invested $1,200 in wire, $600 in stones. The silver wire is 99.9 percent pure, another is 14K gold fill. My goal is to turn this into $10,000.”
"Another goal is to collaborate with other artists, to enlarge my Facebook following and to take up silversmithing. Many artists on-line do what I do, each with his/her own style. I let color and shape of the stone determine the story of what I want to do. As I turn the piece around I sometimes see another way to wrap it, and alter the design."
"I love the stones." Kreps says he "loves turquoise, and opals with their uniqueness, their iridesence in color is more interesting than diamonds". He also likes "the way crystal structures grow with phantom points. Smokey quartz sometimes has air bubbles in a water pocket that moves. He is very excited when he talks about stones and their properties especially as he mentioned septarian nodules. "The combination of their minerals can be very powerful. I need to learn more about Reiki so I can talk about the Star stones."
"I'm very attached to my jewelry. Each one I wrap is a piece of art, one of a kind. All my pieces are guaranteed for life. I'll re-wrap it if necessary." Kreps has done that for people who bought pieces other places which have lost their shape from wear and tear. "I do custom work, too. I've wrapped fossils for some. I'll wrap whatever you have, stones, coins, however you want it. I've done some wedding rings and an arrow head for the son of a friend. I do knob cone, pine slices set with turquoise and opals. After wrapping the next stage of finishing is deciding whether to oxidize the silver, or not. Oxidation gives pieces an antique finish."
"My mom and my wife are very supportive and appreciate my creativity. I set up a table [at a show] where people come and talk to me so I'm getting better about anxiety."
Kreps says he is fortunate to have return customers who collect his work. You can enjoy his show at the Imagine Norwalk events and see more of his pieces at KrepsKreations on Facebook.