Instructors

Jen, owner of Silver Peak Studio, teaching students

We're thrilled to provide you with a great team of experienced jewelry metalsmithing instructors, who are professional, patient, and fun!  Read the bios below to learn more about each team member. 

Questions?  Contact us anytime, we'd love to hear from you!  

Jen Lesea-Ames, Owner

Jen LeseaAmesEducation: 
  • B.S. Exercise Science, UC Davis
  • M.S. Kinesiology, CU Boulder
  • Denver School of Metal Arts, 2012-2016
  • Accredited Jewelry Professional, GIA (Gemological Institute of America)
Experience:
  • Owner, Jen Lesea Designs
  • Over 20 years of teaching and coaching experience
Superpower: A supportive visionary
My "why":  I wanted to create a fun, supportive, drama-free space where people can tap into their inner creative and fall in love with metalsmithing
Favorite process: Fusing sterling silver and incorporating gemstones
Favorite Tool: my torch
Pet Peeve: Getting interrupted while talking
Favorite Color: Cobalt blue
Favorite Food: Pizza
If I could live anywhere, it would be: Hawaii (Big Island or Kauai)
In my free time, I... spend time outdoors running and hiking, travel, and relax with my fur babies, Addie and Stevie.

Kenzie Nelson, Assistant Manager

Kenzie NelsonEducation: 
  • BFA Metalsmithing with a concentration in jewelry making, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Magna Cum Laude
Experience:
  • 2015-2021: Art education K-12, museum education classes, and collegiate level metalsmithing courses
  • 2021-present: instructor at Silver Peak Studio
  • Owner: Kenzie Alysse Designs.
  • Exhibited throughout the U.S. in curated and juried exhibitions, most recently in The Feminist Art Museum’s Protest and Protect and the Greater Denton Arts Council’s Materials: Hard and Soft.
Superpower: Making even the wildest of color pallets work
My "why": I teach to share my passion for metalsmithing with others. It has provided me way to express and understand myself through the act of making and I hope to share that with others.
Favorite process:  Enameling; specifically Champlevé
Favorite Tool: Kiln
Pet Peeve: Snowy weather
Favorite Color: Safety yellow and neon pink
Favorite Food: Thai curry
If I could live anywhere, it would be:  Somewhere with land to have a garden and tiny farm. Maybe Oregon or Washington.
In my free time, I... play video games, experiment with makeup, thrift, trail run, and hang out at coffee shops. 

Michele Throne

Michele ThroneEducation:

  • BFA with a concentration in Drawing and Large Installations,Florida State University

Experience:

  • 1998-present: teaching art and since 2012, metalsmithing
  • Owner, Sidhe Designs
Superpower: Sawing and, finding the best in people and see what they have to offer
My "why": I like creating meaningful jewelry with a story. I’ve found sawing imagery to be the best way to express this so far! 
Favorite process: sawing and sweat soldering
Favorite Tool: my jeweler's saw
Pet Peeve: Disingenuous behavior and my own space cadet state of mind.
Favorite Color: maroon and aqua blue
Favorite Food: a tie between Thai and Indian
If I could live anywhere, it would be: Where I’m at-minus the fire danger and in a house with a bigger studio! Ireland would be magical too, but I think the rain would lead me to drink.
In my free time, I... play as much as I can outdoors! Rock climb, hike with my neighbors and our dogs, mountain bike a little. 

Chris Weston

Chris WestonEducation:

  • A.A.S. degree in Professional Crafts/Jewelry, Haywood Community College in North Carolina
  • B.A. English, Dartmouth College
  • M.A. TESL/Secondary Education, University of New Mexico
  • Studied goldsmithing with Graziano Visintin at the Istituto Pietro Selvatico, in Padova, Italy

Experience:

  • Teaching since 1985
  • Teaching jewelry since 2001
  • He has taken workshops around the country from notable jewelry artists that include Charles Lewton-Brain, Carrie Adell, Julia Turner, Chris Darway, and Sarah Obrecht, among others. 
  • Owner, Weston Metal Studio
Superpower: Patience
My "why":  A desire to share the wealth of knowledge I received from my first teacher.
Favorite process: Sawing 2D shape from sheet and manipulating it into a 3D form. 
Favorite Tool: Jeweler's sawframe
Pet Peeve: People talking while I'm teaching.
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Food: Thai food
If I could live anywhere, it would be: New Zealand
In my free time, I... Ski, read, take walks in nature.

Emily Ehr

Emily Ehr Silver Peak Studio Instructor

Education:

  • BFA Metalsmithing/Jewelry Design and Communication Design, Metropolitan State University, Denver
Experience: 
  • 33+ years of working with metal
  • Owner, Emily Ehr Designs 
  • Studied under notable metalsmithing artists that include Andy Cooperman, Ira Sherman, Elliot Pujol, Deb Stoner, Jerry Scavezze, David Norrie, Kirk McNeill, Hoss Haley, Richard Sweetman and Craig Wright among many others.
Superpower: Making any mistake into a 'design decision'
My "why":  because making beautiful things is important to me and needs to reason
Favorite process: copper with patina
Favorite Tool: Anvil
Pet Peeve: those with no patience for the process
Favorite Color: olive green
Favorite Food: Ceviche
If I could live anywhere, it would be: Dominican Republic on the beach
In my free time, I... Either building something or hiking and outdoors with my Aussie Rip!

Tony Finocchio

Tony Finocchio

Education:

  • Studying metalsmithing since 2009 with master metalsmiths in Boulder and the surrounding area in Colorado

Experience: 

  • 2018-present: Instructor, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Telluride, CO 
  • Owner, Metalrock Designs

Your "superpower": Getting in the "zone" while creating
Your "why": I enjoy helping others express their creativity
Favorite Process/type of jewelry to make: Forging jewelry from scraps
Favorite tool: My Anvil
Pet Peeve: Rising gold prices
Favorite color: Orange
Favorite food: Truffle fries
If I could live anywhere, it would be... Hmmmm...
In my free time I... Play guitar

Jenny Kenyon

Jenny Kenyon

Education:

  • 2001-2009: Goldsmith apprentice in Colorado Springs, learning the lost wax casting trade

Experience:

  • 2010-2014: Manager, Denver School of Metal Arts
  • Assisted Metal Masters such as Travis Ogden, Michael Good, Amayak Stepanyan, Eric Burris, Carol Webb, & Michael Zobel to name a few.
  • Instructor Denver School of Metal Arts:  Lost Wax Casting, Wax Carving, Riveting, Etching, and Metals 1
  • Owner, River Wilding
Superpower: Wax Carving My "why":  It's part of my soul, who I am
Favorite process: Lost Wax Carving
Favorite Tool: One of my wax tools made from the goldsmith I apprenticed under  
Pet Peeve: Stepping in something wet with my socks on
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Food: Tacos
If I could live anywhere, it would be: on a warm beach with snowy mountains nearby
In my free time, I...hike, shop at thrift stores, snuggle with my sweet girl, do road trips, and camp.