Instructors

We're thrilled to provide you with a great team of jewelry metalsmithing instructors! Read our bios below to learn more.  Questions?  Contact us anytime, we'd love to hear from you!  

Jen Lesea-Ames

Classes: All business classes for artists, such as How to Sell Your Art Online with Shopify and Email Marketing with MailChimp

Jen Lesea-Ames

A former exercise physiologist and triathlete, Jen retired from her fitness career after receiving a diagnosis of hip dysplasia and decided to go full-time with her jewelry business in 2014.  Wanting more of a challenge after stringing beads for three years, she studied metalsmithing at the Denver School of Metal Arts (now called Denver Jewelry Studio).  Since 2009, she has grown her part-time jewelry business to full-time to being able to support her family, with jewelry sales being their only source of income since 2017.

The creative visionary behind Silver Peak Studio, it is her intention to provide a safe, clean, and professional environment where students can grow in metalsmithing and in business.  

A few of Jen's favorite things: cats, pizza, and outdoor adventures.

Sara McGraw 

Classes: Intro to Metals, Stone Setting 101, Advanced (Troubleshooting) Soldering, Split Shank Statement Ring, Spinner Rings, Bangles

Sara McGraw

Sara McGraw graduated from The Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Lakewood, Colorado in 2012 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture. Since then she has explored working in various mediums including painting, film and photography, electronics, drawing, and ceramics before choosing to work mainly in the jewelry and Metalsmithing field.

She has learned her craft through the combination of individual exploration and attending workshops through local Colorado studios and metalsmithing associations. Her primary medium is vitreous enamel but she is constantly growing and evolving as a metalsmith and is not averse to incorporating new metalsmithing techniques into her enamel work. Sara has been fortunate enough to take workshops from nationally renowned metalsmiths, jewelers and enamelists including: Ken Bova, Eric Burris, Harlan Butt, Andy Cooperman, Patsy Croft, Linda Darty, Joanna Gollberg, Anne Havel, Amayak Stephanyan, and Carol Webb.
 
Sara began instructing students in 2015 and is currently works as a full-time, freelance instructor and metalsmith. She has worked as an instructor for the Denver Jewelry Studio since 2018 and taught a Cloisonné workshop for the Jewelry Club at Arapahoe Community College in February 2020. Sara previously worked as an Office Administrator and Instructor at the Denver School of Metal Arts and was the Shop Support Administrator for Hyde Park Jewelers.

A few of Sara's favorite things:  coffee, peanut butter and jelly, and her dogs

Michele Throne

Classes: Keum-Boo "Attached Gold", Heat Zone Method (Advanced Soldering), Textures in Metal

Michele Throne Sidhe Designs

Michele’s first dip into metalsmithing started with a high school class. She then picked it back up after getting her BFA at Florida State University. She’s been a full time jeweler for 11 years, (Sidhe Designs), and has been teaching art since 1998 and metalsmithing since 2012. She has taught workshops in Estes Park, at Boulder Metalsmithing Association, and now at Silver Peak Studio.

Her deep love and appreciation for everything outdoors and love for people inspire her to create jewelry focused on nature and the human experience. 

A few of Michele's favorite things: rock climbing, unlikely animal friendship videos, and chai tea on her back deck on a summer morning.

Chris Weston

Classes: Marriage of Metals, Advanced Sawing Techniques, Cold Connections (Riveting), Classic Chainmaking

Chris WestonChris Weston graduated from Haywood Community College in North Carolina with an A.A.S. degree in Professional Crafts/Jewelry. He also has a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College and an M.A. in TESL/Secondary Education from the University of New Mexico. He has taken workshops around the country from notable jewelry artists that include Charles Lewton-Brain, Carrie Adell, Julia Turner, Chris Darway, and Sarah Obrecht, among others. In 2000, he attended The Istituto Pietro Selvatico, in Padova, Italy, where he studied goldsmithing with Graziano Visintin.

 

He began his teaching career in Japan in 1985, and eventually transitioned from teaching English as a foreign language to teaching high school art in 2001, when he became a high school art teacher for Las Cruces Public Schools. While in Las Cruces, he also started teaching adult jewelry classes in the continuing education program for Dona Ana Community College.

Since moving to Colorado in 2016, he has taught jewelry workshops for Boulder Metalsmithing Association and Life Long Learning. He is currently teaching Metals I for Boulder School of Metals and specialty workshops at his studio, Silver Peak Studio.

A few of Chris' favorite things: Skiing, pizza, and dogs