We had the good fortune of connecting with Chayse Romero and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chayse, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’m Chayse Romero, the creative mind behind Frontera Silver. I found metalsmithing, or rather metalsmithing found me back in 2015 when I was studying in central Mexico. Once my eyes fell upon silver, stones, and flames of Sterling Quest’s metal shop, there was no turning back for me. It was love at first sight!
The concept of ‘Frontera’ was birthed slightly after being introduced to silversmithing. I was traveling through Southern Mexico in the beautiful colonial town of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas. Most afternoons when monsoon rains would sweep over the mountain town and turn the markets into small creeks, my travel companion and I would rush into small cafes. I would order an americano or warm cacao and get to sketching jewelry designs. It was during one of those afternoons in a local coffee shop, sipping a warm cup of cacao that I envisioned a new life path, one where I would pursue the medium that took my heart away. I chose the name Frontera, which means borders in Spanish, to represent my jewelry business and this creative life I have chosen to take. Frontera Silver is more than just a business name, it also represents a vow I made back in that coffee shop to never stop crossing borders. Whether it be stepping out of my comfort zone in the studio, traveling to foreign places, climbing 5,000+ feet to summit a volcano, exploring deep red rock canyons…they are all one for me. Experiences assist me in being a better human and better artist in the studio.
Although the idea of “Frontera Silver” started in that coffee shop in Mexico, there have been many occasions where it was reborn or redefined. Those were occasions where I decided I wanted to double down on my passion.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As an artist, I pride myself in creating from a place of authenticity. I take the time to create each piece of wearable art with meaning verse producing mass production. Each piece is inspired by elements from nature, silhouettes, the textures and patterns in stones to the design of the final product. As Frontera Silver grows, my work will continue to bring light and positivity into the world of fast fashion and consumerism because this is what the world is in need of.
In the studio, I create wearable works of art that are designed for the bold and inspired by the great outdoors. I create pieces that tell stories whether it be a custom wedding bands featuring one’s favorite mountain range or a bracelet to commemorate your loved ones last big climb. I create empowerment pieces like bolo ties featuring stones of louder vibrations and bolita chokers to help women embrace their inner beauty. I also create pieces inspired by the sacred, stillness of Mother Earth including herbal prayer cuffs and some floral pieces.
Overall Metal is a curious medium that requires patience & trial and error. I honor the challenge of working in these mediums through innovation & resilience. Being an artist in an industry that is over saturated can feel overwhelming some days, but shoots being a full time artist in any industry is challenging.
It has taken me five and a half years of practicing this medium to get me to a place where I felt I could trust myself and “send it” full time. For years I was a college student, barista, waitress, and a Spanish teacher to 200 beautiful students. For years, I worked 50+ hour work weeks. I cried and contemplated but passion, curiosity and perseverance helped me keep going.
It is safe to say that every piece I have created is a labor love. And my heart cannot express how grateful I am to EVERY SINGLE SOUL who has purchased my art, for it is they who keep my dream alive!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Durango is such a rad town full of old-timers, outdoor enthusiasts, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs and our beloved tourists. So my friend you are in for a treat! I would take you first to see the Animas River, the heartbeat of our town and the beast that carved this valley. I would bring you to 11th Street Deli for a drink and live music, The Office so you can experience our historic side, and maybe catch a live bluegrass show somewhere. I would bring you to my shop of course and the many dozen other art studios. Then at sunset we would hike up my favorite trail which overlooks this entire valley and howl at the setting sun.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
HUGE shoutout to my parents for giving me a $500 to help me pay for silversmithing school in Mexico. Without that $500, who knows where I would be. Cheers to following the dream!
Another HUGE shoutout to the Four Corners Gem & Mineral Club for allowing me to practice this craft once returning to Durango. For those of you who don’t know the Four Corners Gem & Mineral Club is the best hidden gem in Durango and we are about to hit 75 years of existence. It’s a wonderful community of metalsmiths, rock hounds, and lapidary artists who create in a communal studio, support one another’s creative endeavors, rock hunt together and more. Without access to this VERY affordable studio and the communal expertise, I would not be where I am. Cheers to cool rocks!
And one more shoutout to my husband, who was my boyfriend until recently, who has been with me almost every step of the way. Thank you for supporting me in late night studio sessions, for encouraging me when things were hard, for holding me after 50+ hour work weeks, and for now being my personal rock cutter! Cheers to supportive partners!