Get your art jewelry fix at NoBo’s First Friday


By Tyra Sutak For the Camera

Posted:   09/29/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT


If you goWhat: NoBo Art District First Friday


When: 6-9 p.m. Friday

Where: The NoBo Art District runs along Broadway from Lee Hill Road south to Pearl

Info:, or

Ask any gallery owner in Boulder which medium of art is their bestseller, and nine of 10 responses will be “jewelry.”

Wearable art, or art jewelry, has become a fashionable and affordable way to support local artists and galleries. And when it comes to jewelry, it’s the one-of-a-kind pieces with contemporary flair that are highly sought after. And that is exactly the kind of artistic touch that local metalsmiths are working to create.

When artisan jewelry designer Beth Merckel made the move to Boulder in 2009, she fell in love with the city but realized one thing was missing: the support from fellow metalsmiths she had come to know while learning her craft in Northern California.

“There weren’t a lot of options for a ground-floor metal work in Boulder,” Merckel said. “I always wanted to live in Boulder — and when I moved here, I realized that the only thing missing were my metalsmithing friends back home.”

So Merckel went to work creating her own network in Boulder by founding the Boulder Metalsmithing Association. Her first meet-up group consisted of only four local metalsmiths, including herself. But since that initial gathering, that group, plus nearly 160 additional members, have been meeting and connecting on a monthly basis to discuss new techniques, artwork and opportunities.

With the Boulder Metalsmithing Association creating so much interest in metalwork, Merckel sought out a location where the group could display its work.

Then came a case of what Merckel describes as “people who know somebody helping people who need something.” She was connected with Jerry Gehringer of the North Boulder Metalsmithing School, where Merckel and other members of the Boulder Metalsmithing Association have been displaying their work during NoBo Art District First Friday events since January.

“People are interested in art jewelry and in the school and what we do,” said Merckle, who mostly works with silver, gold and gemstones to create strong, yet feminine pieces. “Our first showing was really positive. It’s difficult to find a venue for showing jewelry, and we’re delighted to be part of the NoBo Art District’s First Friday.”

Look for Merckle and fellow jewelry artists such as Carrie Appel, Mollie Stauss, Barb Amador, Shar Louis, Amy Sanders and Michele Conn at the NoBo Art District’s First Friday next weekend.