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Silver Peak Studio & Gallery: A New Chapter in Old Town Lafayette

Silver Peak Studio & Gallery has recently opened its doors in Old Town Lafayette. This new addition to our community caters to all levels of craftsmanship in the jewelry arts, from novices to seasoned artists, offering a wide spectrum of jewelry classes including beading, wire-work, metalsmithing, and specialized workshops like Ladies’ Night Out and a Master Series for seasoned metalsmiths. Beyond education, the studio features a retail space with a collection of handcrafted artisan and fine jewelry, 2-D and 3-D original art, and unique gifts crafted by Colorado artists.

At the forefront of Silver Peak Studio & Gallery is the founder, Jen Lesea-Ames, a Northern California native whose early fascination with rocks and minerals laid the groundwork for her eventual career in metalsmithing. Jen reflects, “I was very creative as a kid. However, I was also very good at science, which influenced my educational path. I actually have a master’s degree from CU Boulder in Applied and Integrative Physiology. I had a very successful career for 18 years as a personal fitness trainer and triathlon coach.” However, in 2009, shortly after the economic downturn, Jen sought a creative outlet unrelated to her work and turned to stringing gemstone beads into jewelry. This is when Jen Lesea Designs was born. Her growing passion for this craft led her to pursue formal training in metalsmithing at the Denver School of Metal Arts (2012-2016), where she solidified her skills and eventually transitioned into jewelry making as a full-time career.

Jen Lesea Designs has blossomed from a side hustle, selling jewelry to friends and family, into a full-fledged creative business. After the economic shutdown of 2020 and 32 of her art shows were canceled, she had to pivot. Once businesses started to reopen, she started teaching one to three students, and her small teaching studio became Silver Peak Studio.

Since its inception in Boulder in 2020 and now its move to Old Town Lafayette, the studio has unlocked new possibilities, including larger dedicated spaces specifically designed for teaching. The most significant addition to the new space is the children’s workshop area, run by partner, jewelry designer, and instructor Jen Barnhart, who will offer jewelry-making classes tailored for youngsters ages 7 to 13. She will also teach beading, wire, and metalsmtihing jewelry classes for adults.

Another main addition is permanent jewelry services, offered by partner, instructor, and jewelry designer Samantha Chang, which is one of the most popular services in the jewelry industry. Samantha worked for the company in NYC that originated this permanent jewelry trend. Not only is Samantha an expert in permanent jewelry, she is well versed in pearl knotting and metalsmithing, and will be leading the Ladies’ Night Out workshops as well as full-day metalsmithing classes. In addition to Jen Barnhart and Samantha, Jen is supported by three other instructors (Alec Schweiger, Michele Throne, and Cheyenne Hughes), each with their unique metalsmithing specialties, enhancing the studio’s diverse jewelry educational offerings. All the instructors will have their jewelry for sale in the gallery, along with local emerging jewelry designers.

In addition to artisan jewelry, the studio and gallery will also offer a selection of Colorado-crafted small gifts, such as hand-poured candles, artisanal body products, locally-designed handcrafted greeting cards, and more. Jen has personally curated these items, ensuring that Silver Peak Studio & Gallery provides an eclectic range that can’t be found just anywhere, with prices starting at $4.50.

Silver Peak Studio & Gallery invites everyone in Old Town Lafayette and beyond to explore the joy and artistry of jewelry making. Whether you are looking to develop a new hobby, create your own jewelry, or simply appreciate the work of local artists, Silver Peak Studio & Gallery offers a welcoming space for all. Now, in a full-circle moment, Jen, who once turned to jewelry making as a break from life’s pressures and a means of a creative outlet, extends the same opportunity for inspiration and creativity to others through her studio. For more information on Silver Peak Studio & Gallery and to explore their offerings, visit their website.