Stephanie Osser ~ Artist Statement
At a time when the news is filled with negative emotions, troubled relationships, hardship and war, my work focuses exclusively on lightness and good news. I feel such joy creating in clay, with so many new techniques mastered to express my ideas, always hoping I can bring a smile to anyone looking on.
I find myself focusing on children in my ceramics as a brand new grandmother this year. What can be more life affirming than children? And my interest in musical themes inspires imagery in my sculpture, bas-relief architectural ceramic tiles, and my illustrations on my slip cast porcelain designs. As a soprano myself, singing in classical choruses and a swing band, the daughter of musical parents, and mother of musical children too, I am a constant participate in the local performing arts scene here in Boston. Great music is always inspiring me in the background while I am illustrating my narratives in clay.
I make both low, bas-relief images with back-lit translucent porcelain called Lithophanes, and high, bas-relief architectural ceramics and sculpture. I also design dinnerware for children, and create stage designs with silk screened images of my illustrations as in-glaze transfers. I majored in graphic arts, botany and ceramics, studying first at Pratt Institute, then receiving my BFA from Bennington College, and did graduate work in Ceramics at the University of Montana. While there, the Wildlife and Anthropology departments needed illustrators and I started earning a living as one, which continued for the next 25 years. I served as the staff illustrator for the New England Aquarium and illustrated books on non-fiction topics for children and adults for major publishers. Once my children began leaving for college, I discovered the lively Ceramics Program, Office for the Arts at Harvard University, took a course in architectural ceramics, and reignited my original passion for three dimensional hand building. I am currently one of the juried artist residents there.
Adding to my growth as a ceramic artist have been acceptances into residencies at Watershed in Maine; The International Ceramic Research Center (called Guldagergaard) in Denmark, twice; Medalta, in Canada; and The International Ceramic Center (called Kecskemét) in Hungary. My work is part of the permanent collections of The Statue of Liberty National Park Ellis Island Museum; The Dinnerware Museum; The Kecskemét Ceramic Museum Collection, and The Cambridge Health Alliance. My work has been accepted into 33 juried ceramic exhibitions across the US, and published in several Lark Books. I managed and taught ceramics for 6 years at the Babson College Ceramics Studio, working with students from Babson, Olin and Wellesley Colleges to explore their creativity in clay and was awarded a Grant to create tile murals with students for their campuses on the theme of sustainability.
And my other lifetime passionate pursuit, inspiring my art, is as a soprano singer in classical, opera and operetta choruses (even during my residency in Denmark), and a swing band.