David Cole profile image

David Cole is a practicing metalsmith based in Oakland, CA. His work ranges from fine jewelry, made with precious metals, to large-scale public art and architectural details for historic buildings. The importance of craftsmanship and a sense of stewardship for the techniques and tools he has acquired over thirty years drive his love of making. His quest for the “exquisite object” is reflected in his collection of machines and devices that tell the story of manufacture and invention at the end of the analog age. They inspire him to create artworks that speak to people’s emotional connection to materials and mechanisms.

Recent public projects made with his collaborator, Michael Brown, include permanent works for the CoorsTek Center at Colorado School of Mines and the cities of Boise, ID and Bend, OR. Current commissions are underway for Orchard Elementary School in Richland, WA and the City of Lafayette, CA. David also undertakes major projects for Stanford University where he creates architectural metalwork for their historic buildings. In 2014, he built 55 custom leader heads for their Memorial Auditorium and led a team of artists who patinated thousands of feet of gutters and downspouts to match existing metalwork on the campus. In 2016, he designed and installed an original handrail for Hanna House, an important Frank Lloyd Wright building on the Stanford campus.

David’s 13-year project to document the work of Marie Zimmermann, an important but nearly forgotten American metalsmith, contributed to the production of a major monograph published by Yale University Press in 2011. Speaking engagements and presentations around the Bay Area have included: The Exploratorium, Berkeley Art Museum, The Revere Academy, Art Jewelry Forum, Stanford University and the American Society of Jewelry Historians. In 2014, he curated an exhibition at the SF Museum of Craft + Design and is working on another exhibit for 2019. David is also an instructor at Autodesk’s Pier 9 Global Technology Center.

Senior Adjunct Professor, Jewelry Metal Arts


BA, Dartmouth College; MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art