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Artist Interview: Ashley Weber

I met Ashley Weber last year at her Against the Grain jewelry booth at Frances Crafeteria. I purchased a necklace, earrings and a ring from her. I have to admit the ring I bought from her I wear the most. I’ve received more compliments wearing that ring than any other piece of jewelry I’ve owned. In fact, the people who most often ask about the ring work in art galleries so I thought it would only be fitting to interview her for Culture Seen.

Ashley Weber Resin Leaf Ring from Against the Grain The Ashley Weber ring I get compliments on all the time.

Tell us a little about yourself

I am Maryland born and raised where I pretty much lived my life either outside, or on a boat. When I was in my teens, I moved with my family to Arizona after my dad took a new job in Phoenix. In my first year of college, I was fired from my job after deciding it was more important to go snowboarding than to check and tag someone’s clothes at the local dry cleaners where I worked. That’s how I found metalsmthing. I had been interested in it for a long time, but never knew how to pursue it. My boyfriend at the time worked at a shipping store and helped a customer, and local jeweler, ship her jewelry off to stores each week. I asked him, he asked her, and a week later I was a bench jeweler… or maybe more like a soldering slave. From there I watched videos, read books, tutorials, and just experimented with all sorts of different metals and techniques. I consider myself mainly self-taught, but in the past few years have also been taking casting and other metal forming classes at the Mesa Art Center where I now also teach. I still work for that local jeweler, but put most of my focus towards my own business, “against the grain”. I am working hard and praying that one day, I can live off of my own work alone.

Ashley Weber StudioAshley Weber’s Studio: the majority of her storage was thrifted or bought from Ikea. Her work benches were made by her father.

Ashley Weber Studio: Sodering StationDue to space limitations Ashley’s soldering station is located in her garage.

Do you remember when you wanted, or thought about being an artist?

My family is full of artists. None of whom create for a living, but craft for themselves out of sheer ability and pleasure. My father is an amazing drawer, his father a carpenter and handyman, and his mother an all around Martha Stuart and a spectacular painter. My sister is a blacksmith, a welder, and a potter. There was never really a specific moment where a light bulb went off in my head and I thought, “This is it, I want to be an artist!” In my head, I was always an artist. I can’t remember back far enough to a time where I wasn’t making some kind of something. I can’t imagine living my life not crafting. I don’t even know what that would be like and I have a hard time understanding what people, without art in their lives, even do. It’s a passion that goes far deeper than I can even explain and I believe there is no end to learning, improving, and creating.
What books, or music inspires you?

I don’t think I look to books or music for artistic inspiration per say, but I am inspired by both as a way of living my life. I love powerful women, actresses, and singers. People who color outside the lines, push the envelope, live the way they want to live, and say the things they want to say. Humor is also very important. The singer Pink, for these reasons, inspires me. She’s nothing ordinary, she can laugh at herself, and though most of her music may not have much depth, there is a lot of hidden feeling. Artistically, I would say I am inspired greatly by organic forms, nature, architecture, typography, and almost any décor from the 1950s.

Ashley Weber's Studio: Outside Bench with ToolsAshley Weber’s Studio: Outside Bench with Tools

Ashley Weber StudioAshley Weber’s Studio: Inspiration & Happiness Wall

What are you working on or thinking about now?

It’s time for me to put the pedal to the metal. No more sorrows over the increase in silver and gold prices, no more buying 50 dollars worth of metal at a time, no more hoarding a box full of pieces that I am too in love with to sell, Ok, I will always do that, but maybe a little less often. I am hoping in 2012 I will have a finished website, a catalog, and a larger, more organized wholesale business. In September/October I created a few enamel on copper, resin, and sterling silver pieces that I am smitten with. I have begun to create both with them, and around them, and I think that I have brought a new excitement back to my bench where the flame may have started to dwindle.

Ashley Weber Resin EarringsResin Earrings

Ashley Weber Banner NecklacesBanner Flag Necklaces

What happened with your project runway challenge?

Life. Life happened, but most of my project runway pieces do also. I had planned to post them week-by-week. Then I thought it’d be really exciting to keep them all to myself and present a huge collection at the very end of the show… well, some of those weekly challenges happened, and some did not. I took on double the number of art shows and street fairs this year than I ever have before, and many of them were last minute decisions. I had to put work before play, but I promise that after said shows are all completed, I will show all of the pieces that I created for the challenges on the show.

Ashley Weber Resin BanglesResin Bangles

What will we see from you next?

I don’t even know what I will see from me next. I am working on a lot of pieces that are cast twigs and seedpods mixed with leaves trapped in resin, and enamel on copper. Maybe I should say cohesion. I’ve done a lot of experimenting lately, and I plan to combine those ideas with my ever-broadening skills to bring together a more cohesive collection.

What holiday shows do you have planned for 2011?

I just finished a weekend full of shows including, Homespun at Art Intersection in Gilbert, the Hissyfits Hullabaloo in Glendale, and a private show in Tucson. Last weekend, I found out that I have been chosen to participate in my favorite show of the year, which is Crafteria. Crafteria is the first Friday in December (this year, December 2nd) and it is held in the parking lot of Frances and Smeeks in downtown Phoenix. The show has an amazing assortment of the valleys best artists and crafters, a raffle, live music, great shopping, and wonderful food and goodies. It’s not only a great time to come out and support local businesses, but it’s a wonderful way to spend a night out with friends.

Where is your jewelry for sale?

Right now, I am selling my jewelry at the wonderful Bunky Boutique in Phoenix, and in my own online shop on Etsy: www.ashleyweber.etsy.com. Additionally, I am hoping to have two more locations in the valley carrying “against the grain” within the next month. I can’t unveil where quite yet, but I am very, very excited about both.

 



  1. Melissa (Reply) on Friday 25, 2011

    I love Ashley’s work! I, too, get compliments all the time on her pieces that I own! She makes wonderful, one-of-a-kind jewelry that you can’t find many places. I own earrings, bracelets and necklaces from Ashley and love them all…now I guess I have to work on getting a ring that she has made :)