Artist Interview: Design WhatYouHave

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Craftland is excited to introduce you to Ashley Schwebel, the Rhode Island-based artist behind Design WhatHaveYou! We proudly carry Ashley’s jewelry. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

What is your background and how did you get into creating what you make now?
My background is in Architecture and Industrial Design. I got the initial idea when I had a bunch of these old jewelry molds, the old vulcanized rubber molds left over from Providence’s jewelry heyday, and I always thought about what else I could do with them, cause I thought they were this interesting object. One day I just thought to try casting concrete in them, and I pushed a length of chain in while the concrete was still wet, and that was the first concrete jewelry piece I cast.

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Tell us about your design and making process?
I like the raw texture of concrete, but I’m also a fan of bright colors, so a lot of my process has been experimenting with how to make concrete different colors, while still allowing the texture to show through. I now make my own molds to cast in, and use my own mixtures of different cements, sands, and rocks- recently incorporating semi-precious gemstones. After the concrete pieces cure, I pop them out of their molds, sand them, drill some, apply images to some, then seal them all and assemble.

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What is your preferred medium, and why?
Concrete- it’s a very versatile material that you can do a lot with, and it”s everywhere, I think a lot of people don’t notice how much of our world is made of concrete. And I think it’s very beautiful, not just aesthetically but also, its tactile qualities and structural forms.

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Is there another art form, material, or element you are interested in working with or incorporating your designs in the future?
I started oil painting at the beginning of this year as a creative release- my paintings abstract in form but are loosely influenced by patterns. I’d like to incorporate some of the techniques I use in painting, in my jewelry and other artwork. I recently tried one technique of just splattering paint, but using colorful concrete stains instead, on some of my jewelry pieces.

Any advice for anyone who is also interested in pursuing their own creative career?
Don’t be afraid to seek out advice from fellow creatives who you admire, but may or may not know personally.

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