Sunday, May 19, 2013

Buy Handmade vol 60 PLUS GIVEAWAY!!

This week we head to Tempe, AZ

Name: Ashley Lauren Weber
Age: 28
Occupation: Metalsmith/Jeweler

Tell us a little about yourself.
Hello! My name is Ashley. I’m a dog-loving, tool-obsessed, nature-inspired, Arizona-dwelling jeweler. My passion for handmade art usually keeps me awake far into the wee hours of the night and there’s really nothing I’d rather do than bring my ideas to life through metal. Rings are definitely my favorite. I consider myself a skill collector. I love love love learning when it comes in the form of artistic medium or technique.

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
I started my business somewhere around 2005/06 and I opened my etsy shop in 2007. It took quite sometime collecting tools, materials, and a space where I could run a functional business.

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
I had saved a foil from a dove chocolate that had sat on the dash of my car all through college. The foil said, “go against the grain.” One day, on my way home, (after thinking about a business name during class) I saw the foil sitting there, as I did every day, and that was it. It was perfect. Against the grain has a lot of meaning behind it for me. Going against the grain was about the path I had decided to take in my life. I was in college and getting my degree, but I was conflicted. Against the grain is about me swallow my pride, grabbing my courage by the horns, and diving in against all odds. Against the grain is about me perusing the life that would make me the most happy.

Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be? 
It is very very close. I think 2013 is my year. My dream is to keep my etsy shop up as my retail space as I grow my wholesale business. I love etsy because it keeps me creative. I get to offer anything and everything and it’s 100% me. I have wonderful supporters, th sweetest customers, and it’s available to people around the world.

How would you describe your creative process? 
My creative process almost always starts with a plan and ends in something completely unplanned. I like to keep my mind open. The minute an idea isn’t flowing from mind to hand to metal, I stop. I never like a piece that I had to force. And forced piece never sell. There has to be complete fluidity, and sometimes that means being pushed to the side for days/weeks/months/even years. The nice thing about working in metal is there is really no time cap, no shelf life of the material. It will always be there waiting. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Nature. How can anyone compete? The forms are more perfect than anything I could ever imagine. I love the water, green grassy places, all of the symmetry and movement, sprouts, pods, the whole circle of life.

Do you also sell your work at craft shows? 
I do a lot of local street and trunk shows. A favorite of mine that I do every year, during Christmas, is called Crafeteria, which is at a local downtown boutique in Phoenix that also carries my work.This year I did my first really big weekend shows.Scottsdale Artfest a two-day show and Tempe Festival of the Arts, a three-day show, right down the street from where I live. I will hopefully be doing Tempe again this December.

• How long does it take you to prepare for a show? Do you have any special methods of getting ready?
It really depends on the show. Bigger shows take months. I try to work constantly to keep myself from having to be completely focused on working just for the show. I feel like it keeps my work more inspired and less forced.

• Describe an experience from a show (good or bad) and why that pushes you to continue with your work
The customers and the comments and the compliments. I have so many kind people tell me how beautiful my work is, how it’s some of the best they’ve seen in years, how happy it has made them or a friend or family member and that keeps me going. It makes me realize that I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and that my work is making some kind of difference. I love knowing that something I make can make someone so happy. I love knowing that I can make a living by doing something that I really truly enjoy.

What is your most cherished handmade item? 
I am lucky to come from a family of artists. I can’t say that I have a single item. I have furniture from the time I was born, made for me and my sister by my grandfather, I have blankets from my grandmother, metalwork’s from my sister, drawings from my boyfriend… handmade means the world to me. It’s time, and skill, and love… and it’s everything to me. 

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do? 
I love spending time with my family and my dogs. We take them to the lake, on hikes, camping, road trips… I really love nature and being around water and I love photographing it all... Usually as close up and macro as I can get.

If you weren’t an artist creating your craft, what would you be and why?
I would love to do art therapy and work with children or other less fortunate.

Five years from now you will be… 
right here, just with a bigger, healthier business, living off of my craft.

Describe yourself in five words:
energetic, warm hearted, always ready.

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your <insert whatever type of music player you use here>, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list? 
Oh man, I don’t even know… I guess Katie Nash, Lilly Allen.. I’m on this light-hearted, British kick right now… Sara Bareilles, Jason Mraz, the Lumineers… I can’t work while listening to anything with too many intense sounds or beats or it completely throws me off. I usually just let my Pandora station decide for me and I’m ok with that.

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows? 
Do it. You will never know unless you try, but you have to give it all you’ve got. 

Have you fallen in love with Ashley's work? Ashley is offering one lucky Veranellies' reader the chance to win a gorgeous pair of her earrings: (must be a reader/follow via either GFC or bloglovin to enter) Good luck everyone!

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