Lauren Tobey

((  designer/artist  ))

a s      a      y o u n g s t e r :
I immersed myself in jewelry-making projects.  My obsession with creating millefiori clay beads, knotted friendship bracelets, woven beaded bracelets on my beloved bead loom, and wire twisted necklaces amounted to hours spent sitting on my bedroom floor twisting the tiny loops to create chains; my nail clippers were the perfect wire cutters…
My teenage life took a turn when I was gifted a basic metalsmithing tutorial with a local Baton Rouge jeweler.  In his magical garage studio I experienced for the first time the joy of the rolling mill, basic soldering, and shaping a piece of real silver into a band for myself! 

t h a t     w a s     i t ! 

I needed to get closer to the mecca (in my mind) of metalsmithing.  I relocated to Albuquerque, NM to attend the University of New Mexico, where I completed a bachelor’s degree in Music.  During this time, I worked as a bench jeweler for a local Albuquerque jewelry artist, and honed my fabrication skills.  I loved it more than anything.
p o s t     c o l l e g e     i     n e e d e d     t o     e x p l o r e     t h e     g l o b e :

 I became certified to teach English as a second language at a certification program in Barcelona, Spain.  Soon after, I moved to Costa Rica where I taught English for two years at a gorgeous sustainable eco-friendly resort in Guanacaste.  I lived right by the divine ocean.  I met amazing friends.  I immersed myself in the rich culture, and collected lots of tiny seashells.  Despite the incomprehensible beauty surrounding me, I longed for my jeweler’s bench. 
And my torch. 

August, 2006:

I moved back to Albuquerque, NM


October, 2006:

I opened Meltdown Studio. 

Meltdown Studio is Albuquerque’s premier jewelry school / open studio work space which offers classes and private instruction at all levels, provides a fully-equipped studio for people to utilize, and offers ten permanent bench rentals for jewelry artists.  It is a community of creativity, challenge, fire-loving individuals, and support.  I have devoted the past ten years to teaching hundreds of students, fostering the passion of individuals who claim, “I’m not that creative, but…” and providing a safe and supportive environment that is accessible to anyone interested in this mesmerizing art form.
m e l t d o w n     s t u d i o     i s     m y     p r i d e     a n d      j o y
I have been able to create jewelry (to a certain extent) during this time, selling my work in a handful of galleries and museum shops, local farmers markets and art shows.  But as the years slip by, I realize my joy, much like my students, comes from creating.  Thus, I have made the decision to devote my time to the production line of Meltdown Studio Jewelry, as I did ten years ago with Meltdown Studio and jewelry school. 

My passion for educating others and providing opportunities for emerging jewelry artists is now in the context of apprenticeships and production assistant/maker positions at Meltdown Studio. 

t h i s     l i f e     |||     t h i s     j o u r n e y

this creative opportunity has been such a humbling gift, for which I am eternally grateful.  This is what my jewelry represents: an expression of devotion to my craft, and to each and every person who has impacted my experience along the way.