Sum & Substance: Stacey Lee Webber

Sum & Substance: Stacey Lee Webber

Stacey Lee Webber Screw Rings

Screw rings, 2013, silver, bronze, powder coat; Photo: Joseph Leroux

Stacey Lee Webber, says Arthur Hash, “uses an often predictable material, coins, in surprising ways. The objects she constructs have a certain level of absurdity that I continue to find interesting with every new piece she constructs.”

How she got started: Pat Nelson, professor of metals and jewelry at Ball State University, swayed me into the jewelry field with her high energy and relentless excitement for lighting a torch. I was creative and eager to make art from an early age, but it was Pat who taught me the magic powers of the metals field and the drive and work ethic to be a successful jeweler and metalsmith.

Her training: I earned a BFA from Ball State University in 2005 and continued on to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning an MFA under Lisa Gralnick and Kim Cridler in 2008. Then I completed a one-year residency under Pam Robinson at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago. And for the past five years I have been training on the job as a fine jeweler at Bario Neal in Philadelphia, working on engagement rings and wedding bands while developing close relationships on Philadelphia’s Jewelers’ Row.

Why she makes jewelry: I often make jewelry to capture a moment of one of my more elaborate sculptural pieces.

Her biggest challenge: The struggle to stay inventive and cutting-edge while making a living selling my artwork and jewelry.

Her biggest reward: The biggest reward is that short personal moment in my studio when I get a new piece finished and I can breathe a sigh of relief; it’s just me and the art for a very small moment. After that moment, the piece gets released to the wild, and the opinions start coming. I live for that five minutes with a newly finished piece.

How she describes her work: My work is earnest; it is a sincere expression of the struggle of the American working class. I use specific materials such as coins and screws and symbolic objects such as hand tools and flower arrangements to relate to a broad audience about their own personal journeys of finding success through long hours of manual labor.