She admits that the transition to being her own boss full-time is terrifying. But the self-taught metalsmith says that this year she wants to challenge herself to see what she can really do.

"Against the grain is about me turning in the direction of my dreams, grabbing my courage by the horns, and diving in against all odds," Weber says. "It's about taking the road less traveled."

That means paying "crazy attention to detail" with every handmade item to ensure that she's making jewelry as well as she can.

Kristopher Pourzal, Performing Art
Janessa Hilliard
Kristopher Pourzal, Performing Art
Kristopher Pourzal, Performing Art
Janessa Hilliard
Kristopher Pourzal, Performing Art
Scott Biersack, Design
Katrina Montgomery
Scott Biersack, Design
Scott Biersack, Design
Scott Biersack
Scott Biersack, Design
Manny Mares, Design
Janessa Hilliard
Manny Mares, Design
Manny Mares, Design
Janessa Hilliard
Manny Mares, Design
Ashley Weber, Design
Becky Bartkowski
Ashley Weber, Design
Charleen Badman
Lauren Saria
Charleen Badman
Ashley Weber, Design
Ashley Weber
Ashley Weber, Design
Lisa Sette
Andrew Pielage
Lisa Sette
Lisa Sette
Andrew Pielage
Lisa Sette
Charlie Levy
Heather Hoch
Charlie Levy
Charlie Levy
Heather Hoch
Charlie Levy
Mookesh Patel
Janessa Hilliard
Mookesh Patel

This level of craftsmanship has earned Weber fans both locally and in the online space.

Her Instagram account, www.instagram.com/ashleyweberdesigns, features her photography and early looks at new pieces and trial runs: a ceramic bowl that Weber made in a pottery class, a walrus tooth necklace, scenes from her outdoorsy excursions. The platform has been great for business, she says.

And she's found a network of Phoenix fans, too, thanks to boutiques Bunky and Frances, as well as the gift shop at ASU Art Museum, all of which carry her wares.

Of course, the business-minded bottom line matters, but that's not what it's ultimately about.

"When there's a torch in my hand, I just feel right," Weber says. "I understand it. And I'm moved by my own love and passion. I am inspired by my own past accomplishments, by my failures, and I am driven by what can be.

"That's how I know that I'm exactly where I need to be." — Becky Bartkowski

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1 comments
Jukes
Jukes

I'm going to bookmark this article to send to people who think Phoenix is nothing but tired retirees, soulless suburban sprawl, and right-wing politicians.  Lots of innovation going on in America's sixth-largest and fastest-growing city. 

 
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