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.
M E T A L W E R X
10 Walnut St.
Woburn, MA 01801
Accredited Jewelry Instruction