When I was ten years old I wandered into my father's studio one summer day and complained of having nothing to do. My father told me he would teach me how to make jewelry, but only if I put all of my effort into the process. He taught me the necessary skills of sawing, filing, soldering, and polishing, and left the design process to me. I understood that he was known for his lapidary work, and I felt that I should do the same, but instead of teaching me the process of stone polishing he gave me a set of stamps, hammers, and files to experiment with. It was then that I took these tools that would help me develop the overall style.
While I continued to refine my jewelry design techniques throughout my high school years, I also began to take an interest in filmmaking. Through a student career development program, I had the opportunity and benefit of working for the Systems Administrator of the Santa Fe Indian School. In this position I learned the various aspects of maintaining the school’s network. I would also eventually be asked to film and edit documentaries for two Intel sponsored projects, a student computer building program at the Indian School, as well as the building and launch of a new computer lab for The Boys and Girls Club of Santa Fe.
After graduating from the Santa Fe Indian School in 2001, I was accepted into Georgetown University in Washington, DC. While there I majored in studio art with an emphasis in digital media. This major encompassed filmmaking, photography, as well as the development of skills in desktop publishing, web and photo editing. While I enjoyed digital media, it would actually be the art of printmaking that would ultimately become the final focus of my studies at Georgetown. My printing professor encouraged me to move beyond what was being taught in class and experiment with other types of printmaking mediums. I moved from aluminum plate lithography to intaglio etching, and finally to woodblock printing.
After graduating from Georgetown in 2005, I knew I wanted to continue my career as a jeweler, but my father felt it was important if I were to be a professional metal-smith, that I have a “formal” training to compliment his own. So in 2006 I took part in the Graduate Jeweler program at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco, California. The program took me from basic fabrication to gemology, and in the beginning, while I thought I knew all there was to be known about fabrication, I found myself re-learning many of the fundamentals.
Upon my return from San Francisco, my father and I officially established Chavez Studio. In the years since, Chavez Studio has continued to evolve, and will continue to do. I continue to explore design possibilities in my metal work, and also maintain my passion for printmaking, taking it up whenever I have the time to do so. I have also recently taken up the documentary process once more with my father’s and my Coral Legacy Series of projects.
These projects along with my father and my continued collaborations on certain pieces have brought our work to an entirely other level. Both of our exacting standards continue to show our dedication to our craft and the excitement we have with every design that we bring to fruition.
Recently my wife and I have welcomed our first born son, and it's really exciting to think of all that lay ahead of him in life. Whether or not he takes up an interest in the studio, or goes in an entirely new direction, it's my hope that he finds a passion and dedication in whatever he chooses as a career, as I have found my own passion within the world of metalsmithing. My family and I are very thankful for all that we have achieved, and for all those that continue to collect and appreciate our work. It's my sincere hope the we continue in our path of the highest quality of standards and design for all that we create.