Gold, silver, copper, and nickel have been valuable metals for thousands of years, partly because they are rare and hard to find, and also because they are easy to shape and mold into useful items. Metalworking was one of the first skills that could only be mastered by full-time artisans...so for 'Do It Yourself' enthusiasts, it's a poetic thing to learn as a hobby.
Benches on Division, a metalsmithing studio located on 2017 W. Division St, hosts workshops and private for novices, hobbyists and professional artists alike. It's staff of jewelry artists teach these workshops, make custom jewelry for customers on commission, and also offer repair services for old jewelry, watches, and family heirlooms. Open benches and workspaces are available for artists working on their own projects, with sanders, polishers, hammers, drills, and other tools of the trade available for use.
The 5 week introductory course teaches aspiring metalsmiths the fundamentals of designing, drilling, sanding, polishing and shaping metal, students using the techniques they learn along the way to craft a personal item. The 10 week course follows the same format initially, later expanding to cover advanced techniques such as soldering, stone setting, clasps, and hinges, working with rare metals, etc. Private lessons can be negotiated on a case by case basis with the staff.
The store also offers a selection of jewelry and other metal-adorned items for sale, crafted by various local and international artists. Among the items are rings, necklaces, decked out skeleton keys, bracelets, etc.
The arguably coolest items for sale are a set of three-stringed electric guitars with bodies made of cigar boxes, adorned with brass and nickel, and with hand-carved oak necks. These instruments were made by in-house artisan Jeremiah, who tuned the strings to the notes of G, D, and G, allowing them to be played flat on one's lap 'Delta Blues' style with a metal slider, or more like a normal guitar 'Crunchy, Swampy Jack White' style, in his own words. The instruments play beautifully and smoothly, making them both practical instruments and beautiful wall decorations.
Benches on Divison is a place where you can buy fine examples of metalwork, learn how to metalwork, or simply learn about the basics of metalwork from well-informed and helpful staff members.