Metalsmithing machines at UNM-Taos are about to be put to work as leadership has found a new instructor Kimberly Thompson for jewelry-making and small metalwork.

Thompson, a California native, is a professional goldsmith specializing in producing jewelry inspired by cultural relics and sacred geometry. Over the last decade, she has studied numerous techniques from around the world in the classical tradition of metal arts and jewelry fabrication.

“I really felt her down-to-earth, approachable, and friendly personality will fit well here. She’s a professional goldsmith, so she’s bringing a level of expertise we’ve never had before,” said Sarah Stolar, UNM-Taos chair of Fine Arts and Digital Media.

Through her work as an instructor of small metals and metalsmithing, Thompson passes on her knowledge of the craft to the next generation of artists. After receiving her master’s degree in art history from California State University, Sacramento, Thompson committed herself to the continual education and promotion of craft-based arts.

She described her instruction style as “a multifaceted approach to teaching (jewelry pun intended) with a strong focus on establishing technique fundamentals. The majority of my instruction is verbal direction and process demonstration, as well as establishing expectations through visual examples. All that being said, students learn most through executing techniques themselves.”

She has taught both art history and metalsmithing at multiple college campuses throughout California. But it was Taos that caught her attention while searching for a new place to land.

“I needed a change and was looking to get out of California, I was looking for a school with a program that values metal arts,” she said.

Her affinity for handmade items started at an early age. She says she comes from a line of strong, artistic women who taught her that art should be valued, even prioritized, and that being an artist — although she thinks of herself as a craftsperson — is a perfectly honorable life path.

“I found joy in the art of craftsmanship and an appreciation for the handmade,” she said.

Her classes begin this fall at Klauer Campus. Check for courses.