I can't even begin to explain the feeling I had when getting the first shirt tied up and ready to ship. To see all of the hemming and hawing and the hours in front of a computer screen come to fruition. To finally put 5+ years of, "I really want to..." to sleep and to see it all tied up with one small piece of red and white twine. There it was. That little shirt... the beginning of something so much larger. I am so grateful. I am so proud. I am so excited to put these on the men and women who continue to follow their dreams every single day no matter who tells them they're being silly.
For those of you who follow me on social media, you may remember me going on and on and on about how I had pulled the trigger on something that I've been wanting to do for a long time now...
Well, INTRODUCING: FOR THE MAKER! New gear to celebrate the handcrafting community! To kick it off, "METALSMITH" tshirts and tanks for all my badass smithies out there! To drop Monday, May 29th!
Also, more gear to follow very shortly, so please stay tuned! Yay!
Shirts will be in the shop at 9AM - ARIZONA! www.ashleyweber.etsy.com
+ The first batch of shirts will be sold in a "update" setting and are ready to ship. Further sales will have more size options and will be sold as MADE TO ORDER and will go on sale later in the week for 2 days only with 3-4 week turn around time and shipping. +
Details for Monday's Update:
T-shirts are Next Level and are available in S-XL
Tanks are Bella brand and are available in S-L
I've been trying to turn my leaves. To redirect myself to the light that helps me to grow. To cover my ears and eyes from the negative things and people that seem like bad tenacious weeds in the face of a positive life.
I've been needing something more. (I feel like that's something that I've been talking about for years). I've been taking baby steps towards changes when I should have been taking leaps. I've been afraid. There are moments of incredible joy and moments where I want to throw in the towel. Owning your own business is a hard thing to do, no one can deny that... staying motivated, taking care of yourself, getting the work done well, feeling creative, moving sore thumbs, doing paperwork, doing TAXES... add in negative people? I seriously can't deal with it.
So I've turned to pottery, to sculpture, to welding, to meditation.
And I really can't say this enough: They have all been magical medicine. Art is magical medicine. Putting yourself in a creative box and not letting anyone else in (for as long as you may need it) is magical medicine. Not asking the opinion of others is magical medicine. Taking care of yourself is freaking magical medicine.
I've been getting lost in a handful of projects. A sculptural series. Huge, HUGE 14 foot steel dress forms for a public art project for a festival, ceramic planters, metal workshops, working the gallery myself and a few ladies have started, working on larger, more intricate metalsmithing projects... I've needed it. I've needed to change my focus.
And at the end of the day, I leave feeling fulfilled, dirty, sweaty, strong... empowered.
I've found a passion for new mediums and new ideas. I know I have deep holes to fill. I know the loss of the past few years has broken me into tiny bits that take time and love to repair. And I hope others take the time to care for themselves the way that they need it. The way that will fill their empty spaces or the spaces that others have ripped away from them. And I also know that at the end of the day, we all need to stop taking ourselves too seriously. And stop living by the internet. Life's too short to not laugh every single day. So get after it.
I told myself last night that I would sleep in "until forever." At 6 am a dog bounced on my head and I was already fighting my brain, which apparently wanted to file this faceted gemstone box I've been working on for the past few days.
I had the pleasure of being Kevin O'Dwyers studio assistant this year in his hollowware workshop. It's a one week intensive where students can basically create whatever their little hearts desire. They can fabricate containers, raise bowls, work on hidden hinges, create lockets, fold form handles, make jewelry, you name it... and they have Kevin there to go through the process, troubleshoot and bring their projects to fruition. It's a wonderful environment (if you can stand hearing 4 people hammer for 5 days straight from 9-5 every. single. day... ahem, ladies and bob 😉 ) to learn something new, to push yourself past what you know, and to be really really frustrated.. (because that's why Kevin's there!) Remember that silver box I created last year? Same guy, same class.
The class is the perfect place to go out on a ledge and really focus on making something that you can learn from and that you normally wouldn't spend the time doing. Although, you're definitely going to see more of these from me; I have at least 2 other gem stone shapes to conquer.
A little sap for @silver_river_studios : I'm really grateful to have met you and been able to study with you.. It's wonderful to work with someone who is still laughing at the end of the week after being verbally abused (by me) for 8 hours each day. You've been a huge part of my growth as a metalsmith, a patient teacher, and a great friend. Hopefully I'll catch you in Montana, Slavedriver. One more time for good measure: #kevinodwyertheslavedriver
So, what's the story, morning glory? Well, it goes a little like this:
"Back in the ’50s, a very lucky rockhound unearthed a cache of petrified wood in the Hell’s Canyon gorge. An area that hugs northeastern Oregon and western Idaho. Not long afterward, the Brownlee dam was constructed, flooding the entire area. Meanwhile, the rockhound, not knowing what to do with all that petrified wood, buried it near his house. There it sat, for decades, until it was dug up by his family, who sold what they had in an estate sale."
After being inspected by an expert, the wood was identified as being sequoia. The best of this wood is riddled with vugs of agate, which they believe was created due to dry rot in the tree. See those wonderful holes in these pieces?
The holes in this wood are, "fortified with bands, just like tiny thundereggs, and they are lined with translucent material. Some appears to be milky or clear agate, and some is common opal, while others show sparkly quartz, including tiny crystals. This extraordinary pet wood also has a striking zigzagging herringbone pattern of annual growth rings, clearly showing how the passing of the seasons affected the once-living tree. Each ring representing a year."
The best part? They haven't found any more of this, so once it's gone, its gone!
Please tell me you're as in love as I am?
Have a wonderful weekend!
This morning I made myself a delicious and warm breakfast. I took out my best dishes, my favorite mug, a delicate and beautiful handmade tumbler... I poured myself a rich, dark cup of coffee, and kept my phone in my bag on the coatrack. I ate slowly, mindfully, peacefully, putting my fork down between each bite, paying attention to each mouthful. I thought about friendships and about my grandparents. About the placemat at my spot on the table and how many different things it had been used for since I was a child. I thought about my life now, how much of it has changed, how the loss over the past couple years has left me empty and how I have tried to fill the space. I admired my plants and more so the fact that Austin has graciously allowed our house to turn into a jungle without really any complaints, simply because he knows how happy it makes me. I watched Frank and Indy greet one another at the back door, one coming in, one going out, and marveled at how wonderfully and gently they love on each other. One so large and one so small. I wondered how I'd ever get over losing them. I cried a little. I smiled. I am so deeply happy that I am here. That I get this one tiny moment of life. That I have a family who loves me. That eggs can taste so damn good. That at any moment I have the opportunity to stop, look around, and cherish all of the marvelous, tiny, and beautiful things that are happening all around me.
A little something my brother-in-law shared with me.
Something for everyone to chew on.
Something completely worth watching through to the very end.
Get inspired. Find your true joy.
You start dying slowly
if you do not travel,
if you do not read,
If you do not listen to the sounds of life,
If you do not appreciate yourself.
You start dying slowly
When you kill your self-esteem;
When you do not let others help you.
You start dying slowly
If you become a slave of your habits,
Walking everyday on the same paths…
If you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colours
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.
You start dying slowly
If you avoid to feel passion
And their turbulent emotions;
Those which make your eyes glisten
And your heart beat fast.
You start dying slowly
If you do not change your life
when you are not satisfied with your job,
or with your love,
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime,
To run away from sensible advice…
~ Pablo Neruda
lack of success.
"an economic policy that is doomed to failure"
There are two different routes you can take when you fail.
Your first option is to scream out every profanity in the book, curl up in a ball, and tell yourself that you're terrible... that you're not good enough, to question everything you've done, to cry about the time you've wasted and then throw in the towel. That is true failure. On your part. Because giving up when you fail at something is simply tragic. Allowing your failures to defeat you is one of the worst things that you can possibly do for yourself. You've just paved yourself a road down a very very sad existence, my friend.
Your second option is to accept your failure. To look at what you've done and instead of making excuses for yourself, you say, "Well, here's why I failed...."
"Here's what I could change to make this work."
"Maybe this didn't work as a _____________, but it could still work as a _________."
And move the hell on.
If you look at every single failure as a reason you aren't good enough, as a reason to give up, as an ending to what you've begun, you will never ever grow. You will never succeed, You will never find the magic that is failing.
If you allow yourself to fail, if you turn to failure with open arms and say "What? What is the lesson here?" "What can I do better?" "What can this mess become?" "Where did I fuck up?" (Cause you curse, because you just totally screwed up and your irritated, lets face it, we all do it).
....well, you'll burn. If you're truly passionate about what you're doing. If you want it with every inch of your stardust, if you want to get better... you will ignite. You will. You'll get your saw out and hack off what doesn't work, you'll break off the broken pieces, and you'll build yourself a new place to begin. Because you are amazing, and you know it. Because you believe in yourself. Because you can acknowledge that you are human and imperfect and life. goes. on.
And you'll shine the way we all know you can. The way you know you can.
Stop crying about your weaknesses and turn them into your strengths. Turn your failure into your power. Stop wishing. I truly hate "wishers." STOP WISHING. Wishing gets you nowhere. Work. Work for it!
I am where I am today because I failed. I failed so terribly. And though it's still a conversation that sends pings of pain through me to this day.... it still makes my eyes swell and my throat hurt...Still, ten years later.... I can't help but to smile. To be so damn grateful. Shit, I am proud of myself.. I won't lie. I'm not proud of that failure, but I am proud of how I handled it. How I turned it all around. I'm thankful for the drive that it gave me. I'm thankful for the strength it continues to give me. It taught me more than a single success ever could. That couldn't be more true.
(You know you are allowed to be proud of yourself, right? You can still be humble, while being proud of what you've accomplished).
And it brought me here. To metal. To something that I love with all of my heart. To something that challenges me. To something that has taught me extreme patience. To something that excites me from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed. It wasn't easy, but damn, it was so worth it.
Failure. Failure changed my life. And I could't be happier about it.
This little baby was a ring two days ago. I put so much time in. When I went to set the turquoise on the band, I don't know, was I drunk? It was a disaster. It couldn't be saved, it couldn't be sold, frustrated with the waste of time and energy, I tossed it into my "all the messed up shit" bowl on my bench and had a beer. The bezel and the sand dollar were so much work alone, now they were wasted. I'd have to cut it all apart and start over.
The next day I looked at it, still pretty much pouting that all of my beautiful work would have to be torn apart. ::Record scratch:: Or not... Cue like some great motivating song and picture me at my bench, hair blowing in the wind like I just jumped on a motorcycle and was about to go crash a wedding to win back the love of my life.. yeah, welcome to my world...
I sawed the band off and it was like any great action movie when a huge explosion happens and the hero just, in the coolest fashion, turns his back and walks away. You know what I'm talking about.
And then I drilled straight through that bastard, dropped a chain through it and tossed it around my neck and I was Michael freaking Phelps. Winning my 4th gold medal. Gon' brush your shoulders off.
And then I smiled the happiest and surly the most dumb looking smile ever. Because I loved it. It was simple, and it was saved, and it made me happy. And then instead of a self pity beer, I had a damn-i'm-a-gangsta beer.
And life. went. on.
Failure looks good on you, darling. Fist bump.
There are tiny broken pieces in all of us. Some of us suffer so deeply from the parts of our past, from the losses, from the realizations, from life growing and changing and shifting around us... from losing something or someone that we once loved. Someone who made us feel understood and cared for turning their backs on us. Small things remind us daily of the places we hurt and sometimes we leave those pieces behind to become dark shadows inside our bones. We carry them on our shoulders day in and day out. They become so heavy and our hearts are so lonely that sometimes hopelessness knocks on our soul-doors. We question our entire being. When my grandfather died I lost pieces of myself. Pieces that were warm, pieces that were soft, pieces that were giving. I questioned abandoning my craft. I wondered if the hole and the empty would fill. I wondered what my purpose was... I still do. My mantra became, "you can grow from the pain." I repeated it to myself daily, not always believing my own promise, but making sure that I at least tried to convince myself that there was some sort of recovery in my future. I've left this note under each and every stone here, from me to my wearer. "You can grow from this." Succulents grow from the dark silver band that hold the beautiful color that is your existence... and at the tips they lighten, they sparkle, they shine. A metaphor, if you will.
I cried all day yesterday while finishing these pieces- I'm crying now as I type these words... because the truth is, I still have 100 tiny shards that ache every single day. I don't expect them to never exist, I don't expect life to ever get easier, I just know that if I can create something... If I can say something that has any positive effect on another hurting body.. then I'm doing something right. Something worth it. You are not alone. You can grow from this.
And just when you think there's nothing left, a new piece of you blooms. You come alive in a place that had started to turn dark. You pull from ash and memory and you build something from every branch. Something too good to hide away. A gift for the part of yourself that you wore too thin.
A letter saying, "I'm sorry."
Where did March go? I know I haven't been an A+ at updating my blog, but I really don't have any excuses... I just haven't done it...
But here's what I have done and what I've been working on! I'm hoping to have these in the shop this week with a whole slew of other great items! It's succulent season baby! And ombré, a whole mother-lovin' ton of ombré!
Did I mention some GOLD happened? 14K solid gold succulents! Soon to be paired with rose cut diamonds! Mmmhmmm... feel free to drool.
And here's a little bit of what happened earlier this month. Hoping to get some more match boxes and tubes out very soon! And some vertebrae will be back in the shop in the next update as well.
Feel free to check out my flicker for more photos. You can find the link under "connect" at the top of my page.
Have a wonderful week!
I received a scholarship this year to study at Mesa Arts Center with an amazingly talented and internationally known metalsmith, Kevin O'Dwyer. The class was a two week intensive on hollowware and hollow form jewelry... it has left me incredibly inspired, but has made me feel as though my heart is shifting. I spent the morning looking back at works past and feeling no longer peacefully planted here, where I am. Maybe it's because I'm advancing, maybe it's because I've been feeling suffocated by others, maybe it is because it's Saturday and quiet and all I can hear are the birds singing about being alive. Whatever it is, I'm ready.
Here she is! The box in all of her glory - 10 full grams of sterling silver! I'm so incredibly pleased with how this project turned out, it definitely made me work for it. I'm hoping to post the other projects soon and study with Kevin again in the future.
We have been applying every month for the past six months to win a permit to hike to "The Wave."
"The Wave" is an amazing sandstone rock formation located near the northern boarder of Arizona and Utah sitting on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness of the Colorado Plateau. Or you know, located on your Windows computer under "desktop backgrounds."
There have been countless stories posted of people who have applied for 4 and 5 years never receiving permits, and even though we figured our chances were slim, Austin started applying late last year.
The wave is known for being a hike that gets many trekkers lost, dehydrated, and unfortunately killed from the draining desert heat and lack of water. We packed half in confidence and half like we were possibly going to be facing the zombie apocalypse.
The landscapes were utterly gorgeous. With a lot of the hiking being on rocky mountain terrain with steep grades, there is no set foot path like you would find on most trails. You also only receive a map with about 10 photos when you do gain entry. There are little to no trail markers, so paying attention to landmarks around you is key.
The hike was almost a full ten miles, but you become so focused on landmarks and so distracted by the beauty of everything around you and under your feet that you really start to lose track of time. Plus, in February you find yourself constantly playing "wait, now I'm hot... wait, now I'm freezing" as you traveled from sun to shade and back again.
And then just when you wonder how much further it could be, your whole deep sandy world flips upside down, and you see one of the most gorgeous things you've ever laid eyes on.
We sat and ate sandwiches on a steep ridge of the wave wall, taking in all of its beauty and laughing with our dear friends, eating sandwiches from the grocery store we bought the night prior and munching on homegrown carrots. I couldn't fathom anything more beautiful, or perfect, or memorable.
...And just when I said to myself, "this couldn't be a better, more beautiful life," the man whose hand I've had the pleasure of holding in mine for so very long got down on one knee...
and asked, with a ring that he had made himself, if I was happy enough to marry him.
(A huge thank you to our good friends Brynne and Mike Payne for getting photos of this amazing moment for us - and for freaking out in the most genuine way only real friends could. We will cherish this photo forever).
WE'RE GETTIN' HITCHED!!!
"Go." My chosen word for 2016 - that started earlier this week. A push to follow heart. To motivate. To be and to live. To discover. To adventure more. To not push living aside. To not push the call of my heart aside. An answer for when I question myself: go.
I've never chosen a word before... I've had plenty of people tell me theirs, who have asked me what "mine" was... at that time, I had no idea what the power of that kind of decision could give me, but I knew I needed to choose wisely. I needed to ask myself what do I find myself wishing for most often? Do I walk with regret and if I do, is there a word that could remove those kind of regrets from my shoulders? And so I've chosen... To go. To stop saying, "I wish" to stop saying, "I should" and to pick myself up and take myself to every tiny place that feeds my wander, my health, my soul.
I don't know how your year went, but if you've hung out around here at all this year, you probably understand why I'm throwing up some double-dueces and maybe a quick flash of both my middles and am leaving 2015 behind before it can even end. Peace out 2015, you were a bitch. Sorry, not sorry.
It's been irregularly cold here for December. Like, wake-up-in-the-morning-and-scrape-ice-off-the-windshield cold. Yeah, for real. Meanwhile, you east coasters are probably wearing shorts and celebrating warm afternoons on your front porches while your christmas trees sweat off the rest of their needles. The world is losing its mind, I swear... but there's something about the cold days that make me incredibly introspective.
I want to fill this year up. I'd rather exhaust myself soaking in and exploring every beautiful and weird thing that surrounds me every day than spend one more day wasted on wishing. I don't want my day dreams to be doggy-eared in a travel magazine or screen-shot off someone's instagram.
But it's not just that. It's the small things too. It's coffee with friends, it's taking the dogs for a hike, it's learning to fly fish, it's going to the gym or to paddle board on the lake. It's exploring those 'weird-ass' structures down in Casa Grande. It's everything.
I know we all say it, "This year I'm going to: ___________." Right?
And so, for me, "go" isn't only for this year. It's for this lifetime. It's now and it's next week and it's to remember that no one is going to promise to give me the sunrise tomorrow, but I can sure as hell hope that I'll see it and I can sure as hell promise myself that I will live the ever-living-shit out of each and every one that I am given. Because excuses are ugly. Because every day is a new beginning. Because I was put to every single test this year, and I'm still standing.
Com'on 2016, lets see what you're made of.
For the days I worry I wont get past.
From the words of others that are hurtful as they resonate.
When each and every bone feels the reverberation of your loss.
When I remember his face. When my knees hit the ground. When my world flipped and I spun sideways.
How do I leave it behind? How do I lighten the load? How do I not feel it in each and every unforgiving, deep step of every moment?
How do I leave it behind? What new way will it hurt this year?
When the touch of cold skin pulls me right back to that moment.
When I saw her soul leave her body behind. So deeply pushed to the back of my memory, yet floating on the surface of every move. Now where do I go from here?
How do I leave it behind?
From the loss that remains. From the emptiness. From the feeling of misunderstood. From the feeling of alone. From this small space around me not even being mine.
I cried that night. At the campsite. I smelled your life on the raincoat. I drowned there. I'm still drowning. I'm still waiting for the sun to lower its rays, to pull me from that darkness I found, to warm the hand you left.
How do I come to understand that you'll never be back here... How can I still not understand that.
I took your Blue Nude Picasso. I realized after all this time of loving her, that it was because she's me. She has always been me.
My shows are over and I have an amazing amount of items still available for my online shoppers. I will be spontaneously adding items my shop for the rest of the week! I will be posting to my Facebook and my instagram as things are listed. You can find links for both of those under the "connect" tab.
www.ashleyweber.etsy.com or simply click on the "shop" tab.
-Here are a few things that have gone up so far this week-
I'm not here because I've never fallen.
I'm here because I always, always stand back up.
I'm proud of that.
I have so many ideas swimming in my mind from my latest adventures and I'm participating in two of Phoenix's biggest holiday shows- PHXFLEA and Crafeteria... my head will be in the sand for a while.
I think sometimes I find myself in a mental space that I never planned on going. I suddenly see myself in an almost outer body experience, I get a tight grasp on the thoughts that are spinning themselves seemingly without my permission, the ones that have finally grown to a size that beg for me to take notice... "Damn, why am I here again?"
I've been in a place where I can't seem to find balance between being easy enough on myself not to hurt, but hard enough on myself to grow and get things accomplished. I've had to hold out a hand to myself time and time again this month and offer balance as I tip toe and hop one stone at a time. "Take my hand, you can do this. I won't let you fall."
I'm overwhelmed, I'm underwhelmed. I'm lost, I'm found. I know we all ride these waves. I know we all have a hard time steering sometimes... but shit, sometimes I wonder how it hasn't ended yet. Exactly how long is this ride?
And so I had to let myself escape. I needed to be myself, in a place that I love, with the person I love, and I needed to leave the rest of my questions for time to answer. I needed to forget the tangled webs, I needed to forget the other voices, the outside influences, I needed solitude.
I needed time to reflect. I needed time to heal with only the sound of the most natural things around me. I needed to laugh. I needed the baptism of that freezing cold water.
And I needed to smile... because life really isn't quite as hard, or complicated, or rough or important!) as we make it out to be. I'm not sure many people know that. I wish more people knew that.
And so I did just that.
And we took time to focus on just living. On spending a day without any other worries. On having lunch on a rock in the middle of the creek down in the gorge and being simple, and happy, and humble.
And it was exactly what we needed.
Excited doesn't even begin to explain how I feel about this, but I've been chomping at the bit to share this news ever since I found out!
I'm so grateful to say that I have been featured in Phoenix New Times: Best Of Phoenix 2015! You can nab a copy today from newsstands around the valley or read it online: here.
Thank you all, once again, for your amazing and continued support. This has been such an incredible journey for me and I couldn't have made it here without each and every single one of you cheering me on! You're absolutely wonderful!