Rent a studio space question?

Trying to find out if there are any places in the USA were you can
"rent a bench" in a fully equipped jewelry studio. More important if
they exist I want to find out what the going rates are. If they don’t
exist the question is what would the service be worth?

The studio would have all the large and expensive items (bench,
torches, casting facilities, rolling mills, bench shears, vices,
anvil, flex shaft, polishers, tumblers, hammers, specialties pliers,
etc) and a user would only have to provide their own small hand tools
(files, sand paper, basic pliers, saw blades, etc).

So, what would it be worth to 1) lease space on a monthly basis to
use it as much as you want for a fixed fee? 2) lease space on an
hourly basis when you need access to equipment you don’t yet own or
are getting started and don’t have anything (seems to be a common
problem for people that take a class. Once the class is over the
access to the school studio ends)?

Thanks in advance for any input on the idea.

[Denver, CO]

Hi Tim, Check out Metalwerx. They rent out studio time, and also
sublet studio space.

Jim, Check out your local gem and mineral society. In Dallas, we have
a complete workshop for members use. We also offer classes to our
members. It’s a great place to work.

Yes, this exists. It sort of exists now at Lillstreet Art Center in
Chicago and Evanston Art Center, where experienced students can sign
up for independent study or open studio.

There used to be a place in Chicago called Morning Glory Studio,
which was run by a woman who studied in Italy. The set up there was
unusual in that it was set up more like a trade shop, with benches,
yet it’s target market was the serious hobbyist. There, you didn’t
have to sign up for a class or independent study, but could just
rent a bench, so to speak. I believe the minimum was 10 hours a

Elaine Luther
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Certified PMC Instructor

Well, Metalwerx ( in Woburn, Massachusetts
offers such things.

I don’t rent a bench myself but they have at least 6 and I think
more like 8 or 9 benches that they rent. I’m pretty sure Metalwerx
offers the benches on a one year lease. There’s almost never a
vacancy. I can’t speak about rent but you could talk to Karen
Christians, the owner; I’ve copied her on this message. Metalwerx
also sells studio time by the hour. You can go here
( to find out about it.

Christine in Littleton, Massachusetts, who wants you to know that no
one deserves lung cancer.

Hi Tim, We are in the process of opening just such a facility in
Scottsdale Arizona. Ill be able to have more for you in a
couple of weeks. We expect to be open the middle of March. We just
put up our temporary web site, . We will be called
Metals Edge Studio and we will be offering a similar program to
Metalwerx in Woburn. (Thank You Karen!) You can contact me offline
for at @jeweler_girl. I’ll be interested in
the responses that you get. Good Luck, Carol

Tim, I don’t know of anyone in the Denver area offering this service.
However, COMA (the Colorado Metalsmith Association) has a news
letter that would perhaps print a request for shop space. I wish I
could give you a current phone number to someone at COMA who could
help you but I don’t keep the letters around. I do have some home
phone numbers of people who could help so if you want contact me
offline and I will pass them along. Also several active COMA members
participate on Orchid so perhaps you will hear from them.

John Sholl
J.F. Sholl Fine (not JC Penney) Jewelry
Littleton, CO

Tim, I read your letter plus Christine’s forward to me.

I have 8 studiomates which are the backbone of Metalwerx. They all
have day jobs, and use the space on weekends and evenings. It is a
wonderful place to be, mostly because I think object makers do well
in an active and vital atmosphere. The rent I charge is really very
low for what people get. If you look at a 4 x 5 foot space and see
that I charge $225, you might say, well gee! That is really
expensive for this little tiny space. But what you are really
getting is 1800 sq ft of space. You don’t have to maintain the
equipment, you don’t have to buy flux or gas. You get great
magazines to read, a place to hang with like people and have the
ability to lurk into workshops for free. What would you pay for

A community metals studio makes great sense. I don’t have to tell
you that a metalsmith covets and collects tools. How many pliers are
on your bench? Do you really have the money to pay for a hydraulic

The hard part is separating your tools from that of the school.
Students and hourly studio renters (yes, we have that too) are very
hard on tools. They don’t think twice about reaching for a
beautifully polished planishing hammer and find a chasing tool to
whack it with. That goes for dapping punches, circle cutters, etc.
Studiomates purchase and pool their own tools. We have a central
area where these tools are kept and are off limits to anyone else.

Many people have asked me, “when are you going to franchise
Metalwerx?”. The thought as crossed my mind, but I rather have
Metalwerx as a working model for other people to go out and do the
same. What I think works best in a cooperative studio is a library
space separate from the studio area. Having a quiet place to eat
lunch, read a book in a comfy chair and have a little down time makes
it all worth while.

So my answer to you Tim is why not find some people in Colorado who
thinking the same lines as you and build a cooperative studio of your
own. If you are in the space of just wanting to rent some studio
time, talk the idea up. Somebody is apt to listen.

Karen Christians
10 Walnut St.
Woburn, MA 01801
Fax: 781/937-3955
Accredited Jewelry Instruction

Finding bench space/studio time available for rent in Denver or
Boulder has been making me crazy (crazier) for the last couple

The metalsmithing school next to The Naja has from time to time been
available on a per day basis, but not all the time. This past fall,
I was able to rent 3 days at $25/day, which seemed like a fair price
to me. Unfortunately, Jack the owner doesn’t fully realize that
there’s a real demand for bench space. Consequently, I’m still
looking for somewhere to work.

If anyone hears of space available in Boulder or North Denver
(anything north of I-70), please let me know. All I actually need is
a clean soldering area, and a propane/oxygen torch for platinum

Karen Hemmerle
Boulder, Colorado

Thanks to all that have posted and provided such wonderful input.
Looks like I should have been more clear in the original posting
though. I am not looking for a studio space to rent, but my wife and
I are in the process of opening a facility that will rent bench time.

What we have planned is actually a tool and supply retail store that
will be targeting the hobbyist and the professional for their
“emergency” needs. Unlike the other suppliers in the area we will
have a fully equipped studio that will be available for rent/lease.
What we have been struggling with is how to offer and price the
studio time. The current leaning based upon the input of the list is
to offer a limited number of full time leases and then rent the
additional bench space on an hourly basis.

At this point we are attempting to get the doors open in March. We
are hoping to finalize the location by next week as that is the major
item holding us up. We will be locating in the south metro Denver
area just a couple of miles from Arapahoe Community College. We will
not only have the traditional jewelers equipment in the shop, but
will also have a CNC mill, lathe, and design workstation with Rhino
and Visual Mill 4. We have the start of the website up at if anyone is interested. If you are in
Denver and are interested in the few full time leases we will be
offering you may want to contact us ASAP as the feedback on the list
seems to indicate they may be in short supply. We will also be
looking for people that would be interested in teaching some
introductory and/or specialty courses. Finally, if anyone can give us
any sage advise we are all ears. Looking particularly for
suggestions in what the retail portion should stock, the equipment
that the shop should have, and great ideas on how to market the
concept and get the word out.

Once again thanks for the great help.
[Denver, CO]

HI all, thought we had a perfect fit for our Yosemite area home(s)
and studios with someone from the jewelry arts education but it was a
no go. We’d still prefer artists to have the place and there is
plenty of room for several couples to live and work in a great
environment with plenty of room, privacy and beauty. Anybody out
there with a fantasy? Marianne and Bill Hunter