Featured Member

Each month a new Featured Member is chosen from the completed member profiles on our website. Their interview and work is highlighted on our blog and social media. Visit our archive of past Featured Members.

March 2023

Chimera Arts

Website: www.chimeraarts.org

Instagram: chimera_jewelry_studio and chimeraarts

  • Chimera logo
  • Chimera Arts Wax Modeling
  • Chimera Arts Studio pic
  • Chimera Arts Student Pic
  • Chimera Arts Stone Soldering
  • Chimera Arts Setting Student
  • Chimera Arts Mold Making
  • Chimera Arts Bench Pic

1. Tell us a little about your school or program. When did it start? What format do you use (online/in person)? How many students per class?

Chimera Arts is a member-supported nonprofit community maker-space located in Sebastopol, CA. We provide resources, education and community to creative people in Sonoma County and California’s North Bay & beyond. We offer training, tools and services to our community.

The jewelry program at Chimera has been an active and impactful program in the community since 2015. We have 8 benches in our fully equipped studio for in person classes. Most classes have a limit of 8 students so we can provide in depth individual attention to each student.

2. What range of classes do you offer? Does your program have a focus or area of special study that is unique?

We offer beginning, intermediate and advanced classes in the craft such as Wax Modeling, Precious Metal Clay, beginning metal fabrication, intermediate/advanced skill building classes, metal etching, stone setting and casting. We are always working hard to improve & expand the classes and are always looking for guest instructors.

We provide affordable monthly memberships for members to work in the studio when classes are not in session but also provide information and support for students who want to create a home studio.

What makes our jewelry department unique is that it exists within a makerspace that includes laser cutters, blacksmithing tools, woodworking, CAD and more.

3. As an educational program, what do you hope your students learn about jewelry and metalsmithing outside of making it?

Our students learn that the metalsmithing community is a supportive one, whether you are coming as a beginner, a hobbyist or a professional. There are so many processes to learn in this industry and our students find the encouragement to take the next step from instructors and fellow students.

4. What are some of your students’ favorite tools or skills? What materials do they work with the most?

Torch work is usually the fire that draws new students to our metalshop and keeps people coming back. Wax modeling has become a popular class that we offer, as well as beginning metalsmithing classes, both of which are project-based. Students work in a variety of materials including various types of silver, bronze and gold.

5. What is the biggest challenge that your students face and how do you help them overcome it?

Learning something new can sometimes be intimidating. But our program walks students through at their own pace to understand the foundations, the tools and materials needed and how to go from design concept to execution. We teach technical skills, provide samples, literature, resources and videos. Through learning jewelry & metalsmithing techniques our students gain self confidence while building new skills and exploring creative ideas.

6. What piece of advice do you give students who are just starting out in metals?

Explore new things. It’s ok to make mistakes. You will get better the more you practice. Take the pressure out and have fun surprising yourself with what you can do when you have a supportive community showing you the right tools and techniques.