STACEY WEBBER

Stacey Webber
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STACEY WEBBER



Written by Rebecca Fulleylove
Photos and illustrations by Stacey Webber
04 Sunday 04th September 2011

How did you start working in metalcraft? It’s a pretty specialised skill.  

I started by taking an 'Intro to Metals' in college at Ball State University.  I had a wonderful teacher, Patricia Nelson, and fell in love with metal and handwork.

Creating the metal sculptures yourself, do you think people should appreciate metal more?  

I think that more people should be aware of the influence of the value of metal- precious and non-precious in our society.  I hope that my work may lead some people to start thinking about alloys and properties of metal with coins.


The Craftsmen Series (detail)

What drew you to working with coins? Are the coins used, found or do you make your own?  

In a quest to make artwork about the struggle of American blue collar labour and the decreasing value of handwork, I started experimenting with coins. I was initially drawn to their scale and iconography and inherent function as a value system.  

I use different kinds of coins for different projects. For the penny sculptures, I buy pennies from the bank and separate the rolls into pre-1982 pennies which are made of pure copper.  I can solder the copper pennies with a higher temperature allowing the material to be more malleable. For the silver coin sculptures I am buying vintage silver dimes, nickels, and quarters online and fabricating them with traditional jeweller's tools.


The Craftsmen Series: Silver Collection

How long does a sculpture take?

Every sculpture is a one-of-a-kind piece and does not get duplicated, thus each piece has a different timeline. The larger penny sculptures, ladder and shovels, took the longest ranging on 4-6 months full time with multiple workers.  

In The Craftsmen Series you use domestic tools as the subject matter, what made you choose these types of objects?  

The Craftsmen Series depicts the hand tools of an everyday American; the kind of tools that are hanging in your garage or are stuffed in your tool box. The objects depict the heart of the working class heroes.

What connection do the objects have to the coins used to create them?  

The coin material is used in my sculptures to highlight the ranging value systems of hand labour. In my newest series, God Bless America, the objects are rendering the nostalgia in the same blue collar family neighbourhood- flags, ribbon, fire hydrant. 

Is there a favourite metal you like to work with?

I like every kind of metal, from steel to gold.  They are all challenging in different ways and force you to manipulate their strength.


God Bless America Series

All the tools featured are ones that require physical strength with no reliance on electricity. Do you think we should return to a simpler time and rely less on technology?

I love technology!  No way do I want to return to a simpler way of life, but I do wish that people would honour and cherish handwork the way they once did.  I would love for the world to return to doing business with their local woodworkers, metalsmiths, jewellers, etc.

Your sculptures change these domestic objects from functional to highlighting only their aesthetics; was it your intention to allow people to see the object away from its job, and more for the craftsmanship of the actual tool itself?

Exactly.


The Craftsmen Series

You grew up in Indiana, has where you grew up or your upbringing had an impact on your work? What about where you live now in Philadelphia?  

Indy has of course shaped the way I am today. I grew up driving through the farmlands of southern Indiana, contrasted with living in a suburban neighbourhood in north-eastern Indianapolis. I definitely saw the shift  from blue collar to white collar. Today in Philadelphia, I am using the landscape of my own blue collar neighbourhood, Port Richmond, to directly pull objects for my God Bless America series.


The Craftsmen Series

You have said your work celebrates the working class of America, is this important to you? Do you think other people will be able to relate?  

This is very important to me. I want my father, mother, sisters, grandparents, friends, artists, academics, collectors, museums, and art dealers to all relate to everything I make in one way or another.

What projects are you working on now?

Fire hydrant!


The Craftsmen Series: Silver Collection

 

For more of Stacey's awesome metal work, visit her website here.

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