The making of a silversmithing studio

I started Pixel + Torch in the spring of 2014. Since then I've gone from creating jewelry for mostly family and friends to exponentially growing into something where I knew I needed a commercial place to accommodate that growth. The process of finding and making a silversmithing studio has been an interesting, at times hair-pulling experience but mostly a very rewarding one. I have learned a lot these last few months.

I began looking for a studio last spring and I admit it wasn't easy to find just the right spot. I'm pretty picky about what I like and I had a vision in my mind's eye about what I wanted to find. I was hoping for a place industrial enough for an open workshop of hammering and soldering metal. Simultaneously a space where if I was a customer, I would want to visit. A place with great light, good design, wall space for my photography with a pleasant vibe. Ultimately a place that inspired creativity and where you would want to spend time.

After months of looking and growing increasingly frustrated, I finally stumbled over a space just a few blocks away from my house. It had rough dark floors, almost like a parking lot, and matte black ceilings and cold turquoise walls. But the second I stepped inside all I could see was the huge wall of windows, the light from north and south and the possibilities of what the space could become. I signed the contract and started the construction of making it the new home of Pixel + Torch.  

It was a learning experience to deal with all the ins and outs of creating a brick and mortar store. The contractors, the city inspectors, internet providers, security firms, etc. I learned as I went and I won't bore you with all the details and hiccups along the way.  Slowly but surely, the space started taking shape and looking like what I had envisioned all along.

I had the floors ground down to the original concrete. A wall moved, which opened up enough space for my work area. The idea all along had been to create an open studio space where people could actually see the process of hand making jewelry. Many have lost touch with the work that's involved with creating by hand. I wanted people to have a sense of connection to the handicraft, to each step that is involved, from cutting rocks to forging a piece of silver and to actually see the love, attention, and yes time,  that goes into each piece.

Since it is important to me that people value what I make by hand, it also felt very important to incorporate and hire other local makers and artists in the creating of this space. I found a wonderful couple who hand-built my furniture with great attention to detail and a sign artist who beautifully handpainted my signs and lettering in the windows. They truly helped me create a one-of-a-kind place and left their artistic fingerprints on the studio, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Quality over quantity. Uniqueness over homogeny.

I opened my doors on December 18th, 2015 and am so excited to share this space with all of you who find yourselves in the Salt Lake City area and looking for unique jewelry in a one-of-a-kind studio space.

 This is what the studio looked like when I first found it. Dark floors, black ceiling and an open doorway into the backroom.

This is what the studio looked like when I first found it. Dark floors, black ceiling and an open doorway into the backroom.

 A before view from inside the studio looking towards the entrance.

A before view from inside the studio looking towards the entrance.

 Here we moved the wall in to make space for the workshop area to the right. This also allowed for the sliding barn door I had in mind for that door.

Here we moved the wall in to make space for the workshop area to the right. This also allowed for the sliding barn door I had in mind for that door.

 After the new wall/door way was built. White paint on walls and ceiling and floors ground down to the original concrete.

After the new wall/door way was built. White paint on walls and ceiling and floors ground down to the original concrete.

 And here's a view of the finished space. My silversmithing desk to the right, my stump where I hammer, the torching station by the window and my workbench with tools. In the middle, the custom-built display cases and table, my abstract photography on the walls. 

And here's a view of the finished space. My silversmithing desk to the right, my stump where I hammer, the torching station by the window and my workbench with tools. In the middle, the custom-built display cases and table, my abstract photography on the walls. 

 The east wall of the store, showcasing the shelving holding imported Swedish apothecary items and Linnéa candles together with other items for sale in my store. On the walls photography and greeting cards. To the right my custom-built checkout counter.

The east wall of the store, showcasing the shelving holding imported Swedish apothecary items and Linnéa candles together with other items for sale in my store. On the walls photography and greeting cards. To the right my custom-built checkout counter.

 My open workshop. The stump I found in Idaho where I hammer, the workbench in the back that houses my many tools and machines, the soldering station to the right, the sliding barndoor that goes into my storage room and the hand painted Swedish saying of "Lagom" on the wall. 

My open workshop. The stump I found in Idaho where I hammer, the workbench in the back that houses my many tools and machines, the soldering station to the right, the sliding barndoor that goes into my storage room and the hand painted Swedish saying of "Lagom" on the wall. 

 And here I am in my new space. 

And here I am in my new space. 

If you're interested in details about the process or any of the awesome people and businesses who helped create it, please don't hesitate to ask. I have a list of the wonderful people who helped and will happily refer them to you if wish.