Instructors

Silver peak studio class instruction

We're thrilled to provide you with a great team of experienced jewelry metalsmithing instructors, who all 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!  

Liz Covert

Classes: Barware Accessories, Fold Forming, Beyond the Bezel, Keepsake Container, Intro to Metalsmiting, and Stone Setting 101

Liz Covert

Liz honed her skills while earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in small metals and sculpture from the University of Texas Arlington. She also has an AAS in small metals and jewelry from Dallas College.  Inspired by the world around her, she continued her education with a Masters in Cultural Studies from Southern Methodist University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude from both colleges.. Liz’s extensive experience in metal work includes welding, blacksmithing, and a career in sculpture conservation, including working at the Smithsonian. Her teaching background ranges from first grade art classes to private jewelry lessons and has spanned over a decade. 

Liz is the owner and creator behind Covert Metals, a one-woman metal working studio located in Denver, Colorado that has roots reaching from New York to Texas. Covert Metals emphasizes unique one-of-a-kind design that melds contemporary styling with hand-forged detailing. 

Some of Liz’s favorite things are printed books and sci-fi in all forms. When she’s not at the bench she’s outside hiking, running, or cycling. Liz also loves food in all forms and flavors, and especially likes to cook. Her work is a reflection of all the things she enjoys wrapped up in the importance of quality over quantity.

Jenny Kenyon

Classes: Saltwater Etching, Wax Carving for Casting, and Leather Cuff Bracelet

Jenny Kenyon

Jenny began her metalsmithing journey 20 years ago as a goldsmith apprentice in Colorado Springs. There she spent 7 years learning the lost wax casting trade. She immediately fell in love with the organic style & old world feel of wax design and casting - this has remained her focus and strength over the years.

After spending some time working in a jewelry repair shop, she relocated to Denver and began her 4 year employment at the Denver School of Metal Arts. There she worked with and assisted Metal Masters such as Travis Ogden, Michael Good, Amayak Stepanyan, Eric Burris, Carol Webb, & Michael Zobel to name a few. In addition to running the school, she taught several classes and intensives such as Lost Wax Casting, Riveting, Etching, Metals 1, & Wax Carving.

Jenny now lives in the mountains of Colorado where she homeschools her sweet girl & runs her jewelry business: River Wilding. Her work is largely influenced by her life out West. She feels the quiet solitude of the mountains is the perfect backdrop to slow down, tap into her wild creative flow and create her one of a kind pieces with intention. In addition to designing, she teaches “experience” metalsmithing classes to small groups of out of town visitors.

Some of Jenny’s favorite things are hiking & hunting for rocks, spending time on the river, road trips to the desert, and slow mornings with coffee. This summer she plans to spend a lot more time on the river learning the art of fly fishing.

Jen Lesea-Ames

Classes: Fusing Sterling Silver, Stone Setting 101, Tube Setting Faceted Stones, and business classes for artists.

Jen Lesea AmesA former personal fitness trainer and certified USA-Triathlon coach (B.S. Exercise Science, UC Davis and M.S. Kinesiology, CU-Boulder) with over 18 years of teaching experience, Jen retired from her fitness and coaching career after receiving a diagnosis of hip dysplasia and underwent two major hip surgeries. Wanting more of a challenge after stringing beads for three years, she studied metalsmithing at the Denver School of Metal Arts (now called Denver Jewelry Studio) from 2012-2016. She decided to go full-time with her jewelry business in 2014 and opened Silver Peak Studio in July 2020.

She is the owner, designer, and metalsmith of Jen Lesea Designs, (2009-present); her jewelry is sold in over 30 stores, including Fallingwater Museum Store, the Denver Art Museum Gift Shop, and the national catalog Uncommon Goods. Her experience and work has landed her local and national press. Jen is an Applied Jewelry Professional from the Gemological Institute of America GIA and she is currently pursuing her GIA Graduate Gemologist certificate.

Her fun and friendly nature is apparent in everything she does, whether its teaching metalsmithing, talking to art show patrons, or motivating people to try something new, like stand up paddle boarding!  

As the owner of Silver Peak Studio, it is her intention to provide a safe, clean, professional and fun environment where students can grow in metalsmithing and enjoy the journey.

When Jen is not at the studio, you can find her running on Coal Creek Trail, hiking the South Boulder trails, skiing when it's a bluebird winter day, or relaxing at home with her kitties, Addie and Stevie. This summer, she is particularly excited to start biking to work and traveling to see her family. 

Sara McGraw

Classes: Troubleshooting Soldering, Split Shank Statement Ring, Spinner Rings, and Bangles

Sara McGraw

Sara McGraw graduated from The Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Lakewood, Colorado in 2012 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture. Since then she has explored working in various mediums including painting, film and photography, electronics, drawing, and ceramics before choosing to work mainly in the jewelry and metalsmithing field.

She has learned her craft through the combination of individual exploration and attending workshops through local Colorado studios and metalsmithing associations. Her primary medium is vitreous enamel but she is constantly growing and evolving as a metalsmith and is not averse to incorporating new metalsmithing techniques into her enamel work. Sara has been fortunate enough to take workshops from nationally renowned metalsmiths, jewelers and enamelists including: Ken Bova, Eric Burris, Harlan Butt, Andy Cooperman, Patsy Croft, Linda Darty, Joanna Gollberg, Anne Havel, Amayak Stephanyan, and Carol Webb.
 
Sara began instructing students in 2015 and is currently works as a full-time, freelance instructor and metalsmith. She has worked as an instructor for the Denver Jewelry Studio since 2018 and taught a Cloisonné workshop for the Jewelry Club at Arapahoe Community College in February 2020. Sara previously worked as an Office Administrator and Instructor at the Denver School of Metal Arts and was the Shop Support Administrator for Hyde Park Jewelers.

A few of Sara's favorite things:  coffee, PB & J, and her dogs.

Kenzie Nelson

Classes: Enameling 101, Torch Fired Enamel, Intro to Metalsmithing

Kenzie Nelson Instructor Silver Peak StudioKenzie has been enveloped by art and art making her entire life and loves nothing more than connecting with others through the act of creating. After taking an introduction to metalsmithing class in her first year of college, she became infatuated with the medium. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Colorado State University (Magna Cum Laude) with a concentration in metalsmithing and jewelry making. She loves sharing her passion with others and has teaching experience ranging from K-12 art, museum education classes, as well as collegiate level metalsmithing courses since 2015.

Her work has been 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.

Some of Kenzie’s favorite things are colorful eyeshadow, animals, and coffee. Making art is her favorite activity, but she and also enjoys going to flea markets, gardening, and being outside.

Michele Throne

Classes: Keum-boo "Attached Gold", Sweat Soldering with the Heat Zone Method, Textures in Metal, Advanced Keum-boo

Michele Throne Sidhe Designs

Michele’s first dip into metalsmithing started with a high school class. She then picked it back up after getting her BFA at Florida State University. She’s been a full time jeweler for 11 years, (Sidhe Designs), and has been teaching art since 1998 and metalsmithing since 2012.  Her specialty classes are enjoyed by students of all levels.

Her deep love and appreciation for everything outdoors and love for people inspire her to create jewelry focused on nature and the human experience. 

A few of Michele's favorite things: rock climbing, unlikely animal friendship videos, and chai tea on her back deck on a summer morning.

Chris Weston

Classes: Marriage of Metals, Cold Connections, Classic Chain Making, Mobiles, Applications in Hydraulic Press, and Creative Stone Setting.

Chris WestonChris Weston graduated from Haywood Community College in North Carolina with an A.A.S. degree in Professional Crafts/Jewelry. He also has a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College and an M.A. in TESL/Secondary Education from the University of New Mexico. 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. In 2000, he attended The Istituto Pietro Selvatico, in Padova, Italy, where he studied goldsmithing with Graziano Visintin.

He began his teaching career in Japan in 1985, and eventually transitioned from teaching English as a foreign language to teaching high school art in 2001, when he became a high school art teacher for Las Cruces Public Schools. While in Las Cruces, he also started teaching adult jewelry classes in the continuing education program for Dona Ana Community College.

Since moving to Colorado in 2016, he has taught jewelry making at Boulder School of Metals and Lifelong Learning. 

A few of Chris' favorite things: skiing, pizza, and dogs.