History

In 1998, metalsmiths Karen Christians and Jeff Bowie came together to create a space where education and community would be united under one roof. This concept is still the driving force behind our mission; to be a forward-thinking organization dedicated to supporting jewelry creation and the metal arts through educational programming that fosters artistic and technical development while encouraging community growth and arts appreciation.

Metalwerx started out in a humble 450 sq. ft. store front in Woburn, MA with a small studio, jewelry retail area, and a few classes to engage the local community. In just a year, the classroom was bursting at the seams. Karen and Jeff decided to upgrade to a space triple the size right across the street. They invited nine friends to join the newly renovated studio, each with a personal jeweler’s bench and some storage for a reasonable rent…the Metalwerx Studiomates community was born.

Continuing to grow and needing more space Metalwerx moved to our current location in Waltham, MA in 2002. Metalwerx became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2006. This opened the door for grants, scholarships, and more opportunities to serve the public. One year later, Karen “passed the torch” to the current Executive Director, Lindsay Minihan, who has been with Metalwerx since 2006. Along with Karen and Jeff, she shares a strong passion for working with metals and a dedication to community development. She continues to focus on steady growth; adding classes, workshops, events, scholarships, and new programming to better serve supporters, local friends, and the metals community at large.

Since Lindsay began as executive director the curriculum has doubled in size, with more than 75 workshops, 10 master classes, and 45 weekly classes presented annually. Courses cater to students at every skill level covering as many metals techniques possible.  Metalwerx brings instructors from across the country and Canada to teach in our weekend workshops and 'Summer with the Masters’ programs. We also are fortunate to work with a strong core of local, talented jewelers. They keep our weekly class curriculum fresh and inspiring. We seek out teachers who excel in a specialized jewelry or metalworking technique and desire to share their expertise with our students. Our world-class faculty includes Michael Good, Cynthia Eid, Andy Cooperman, Pat Flynn, John Cogswell, and many others. Our students hail from across the globe to study with these local and internationally renowned artist-educators. We have invested in cutting edge tooling and equipment has kept up with this growth.

Scholarship and volunteer opportunities are integral to Metalwerx's programming. Since 2010, through the generosity of individual supporters and local businesses, we have offered more than $8,600 worth of financial aid toward defraying the cost courses at Metalwerx. The awards are intended to offer dedicated and aspiring metalsmiths the opportunity to expand their skill sets. Recipients are typically chosen based on images of their metalwork that demonstrate excellence in craftsmanship and design, as well as information provided on the application form. Please refer to the scholarship section of our website for current offerings.

An important part of the Metalwerx community is our Studiomates. This group of professional and semi-professional metalworkers rents studio space and time. They bring their expertise and their work and have access to a myriad of tools and equipment. It’s an exciting place with informal critiques, expert advice and shared experience. We now have 29 full and part-time Studiomate members. Many participate in local events including Waltham Open Studios. Metalwerx participates in national, regional, and local events to connect with the public.

This is an exciting time for Metalwerx. Recently we received a $10,000 grant from the MetroWest Foundation to implement a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program. This system will allow our staff to more efficiently manage our content and programs, identify and steward new donors, and market our programming to new audiences. In addition this system will enable opportunities for outreach and engagement in our community and the greater MetroWest region.

We are also actively working with a strategic planner to help us make important decisions about the future of Metalwerx. We have had many meetings with students, teachers, Studiomates and board members in order to understand what changes would be most beneficial for our community. In the process we have refined our mission statement as follows:

MISSION

Metalwerx promotes the art of jewelry and metals through high quality classes, workshops, studio space outreach programming and events for professional and personal enrichment within a supportive community of artists and learners.

Throughout this continued development period, staff and board members keep Metalwerx’s mission close to their hearts, taking the time to slow down and thank our amazing community of artists, students, instructors, patrons, donors, art lovers, volunteers, studiomates, members of the board, and members-at-large.