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 twenty-five years drive his love of making. His quest for the “exquisite object” is reflected in his collection of machines that tell the story of manufacture and invention at the end of the analog age, inspiring him to create artworks that speak to people’s emotional connection to materials and physicality.
Recent public projects made with his collaborator, Michael Brown, include permanent works for the cities of Boise, ID and Bend, OR. David also undertakes major projects with Stanford University where he creates architectural copperwork for the exterior of their historic buildings. In 2014, he built 55 custom scuppers for their Memorial Auditorium and led a team of artists who patinated thousands of feet of gutters and downspouts to match existing metalwork around 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 2012. Speaking engagements and presentations around the Bay Area have included: The Exploratorium, Berkeley Art Museum, Stanford University, the Museum of Craft & Design and the American Society of Jewelry Historians. He is represented by Velvet da Vinci gallery.
Adjunct Professor, Jewelry Metal Arts