Beginning Nov. 9, The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show (PMA Craft Show) comes to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for its 41st year, welcoming over 200 artists from across the country.
One of those artists is Midwesterner, Stacey Lee Weber, who works with metals and won last year’s Excellence in Metal award at the PMA Craft Show. While the accolades are wonderful, Webber’s favorite thing about the PMA Craft Show is the community.
“The PMA has provided a wonderful community of artists, collectors and supporters of crafts to my artwork and jewelry,” she says. “I have been honored to be juried into the show for five years now and always look forward to that show out of all the ones I do because of the infectious energy and spirit of the people.”
Webber first became interested in metals as a medium while attending Ball State University in Indiana as an undergraduate.
“I took an 'Intro to Metalsmithing & Jewelry' class and fell in love with it. l and had a really great professor, Patricia Nelson, that saw something in me and pushed me to continue making art,” she says. “Working with metal is challenging — things can fall apart at any moment. It was this struggle that actually kept me coming back.”
These days, Webber is known for her distinctive penny art, where she cuts coins to create one-of-a-kind pieces, but works with other materials as well.
“I see myself as an artist, so it is the final art piece that is of most importance. I work in metal, resin, embroidery and more, but I am trained in metalsmithing and jewelry so that tends to be what my ideas are carried out in because of my technical precision in the medium,” she notes.
After attending graduate school at the University of Wisconsin Madison, Webber and her husband were initially thinking of moving to Brooklyn, but decided on Philadelphia, instead.
“We could not afford an art studio and an apartment in Brooklyn. We had a friend living in Philadelphia and he was making a living selling his wood benches, Matthias Pliessnig,” she reveals. “It just so happened that an apartment next door to him in Port Richmond was open — so we jumped on the opportunity and have never looked back. Philly has been a great place for us and has allowed us to have a live-in studio of our dreams at Globe Dye Works. It was one of the best decisions we have made for our careers.”
A lot of Webber’s work is even inspired by her adopted city.
“I am often inspired by my environment,” she says. “Currently the Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia in the Globe Dye Works building [is inspiring me]. The row housing, electric wires dangling, trash on the street are all sources of inspiration.”
Some of Webber’s favorite places in Philadelphia include the courtyard of Globe Dye Works building, the rooftop at the BOK building, the Ben Franklin bridge, Phillies stadium and Port Richmond's Mercer Cafe. Even when she has free time, however, making art is still at the top of her to do list.
“I love to make objects and find myself working in my studio during my 'free time' making the things I don't have time to make in my normal day of orders and commissions or traveling for shows,” she says.
For more information on Stacey Lee Webber, visit: staceyleewebber.com.
For more information on the PMA Craft Show, visit: pmacraftshow.org.