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Author Archive | Stephanie Osser

100 Years 100 Women

Ceramic portrait plates of 2 noteworthy musician friends I admire for the exhibition “100 Years 100 Women” – the Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA.
Aug 18th – Sep 27th, 2020

My friend, Suzanne Pemsler—a talented lyric-coloratura soprano/puppeteer, is my inspiration for this “noteworthy women” portrait. Suzanne brings the color and excitement of Opera to the concert stage in tours with PUPPET DIVAS — life-sized puppets of opera characters that she creates for performances in the US, Italy, Israel, Norway, England and India (by invitation of the Indian government). She also does many month-long Artist-in-Residencies in New England, Montana and Louisiana. Her unusual performances of music/opera/puppetry began when the Boston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs invited her to create an outdoor Puppet Theater for “Summerthing,” a Summer Arts Program. Soon, she was commissioned to make puppets for public television, and her frequent concerts were entitled: International Song with Life-Sized-Puppets. Suzanne was called “The Pied Piper of Opera” in a Christian Science Monitor two-page centerfold, and she was recently honored by the Massachusetts Puppet Showplace Theater noting 4,000 spirited PUPPET DIVAS events.

Participating Artists – Syd Carpenter, Pattie Chalmers, Adam Chau, Patsy Cox, Carole Epp, Christina Erives, Julia Feld, Julia Galloway, Raven Halfmoon, Trisha Kyner, Roberta Griffith, Katherine Hackl, Molly Hatch, Charlotte Hodes, Jane Irish, Jennifer Johnson, Ahrong Kim, Gunyoung Kim, Kathy King, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Mimi Logothetis, Renee LoPresti, Roberto Lugo, Mac McCusker, Sara Morales-Morgan, Peter Olson, Stephanie Osser, Kyungmin Park, Hannah Pierce, George Rodriguez, Hope Rovelto, Amanda Schneider, Alex Stadler, Grace Tessein, Sue Tirrell, Mallory Weatherill, Suzanne Wolfe

August 18th, 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, giving women in the US the right to vote.

Who gained the right to vote when the 19th amendment was ratified on August 18th, 1920? The amendment stated that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” It was a partial victory, but who was still excluded? Native Americans, most Asian Americans, and although African Americans were technically included, it was not until the 1965 Voting Rights Act that racial discrimination was prohibited. Even today, many BIPOC citizens still face disenfranchisement.

We are taking advantage of this anniversary to celebrate the work for women’s rights that has been done, while simultaneously acknowledging the work that remains. Statistics show that women earn only about 80% of what men earn, while women of color earn only 65% of what white men earn.[1] The US Congress is only 23% women,[2] and we still have not seen a woman president. The struggle of trans and woman identifying people is still in its infancy. These facts are the tip of the iceberg of remaining disparities that we must continue to dismantle.

Women have fought hard in so many ways, against extreme injustice, to gain a foothold for themselves and others, for their children, and for all children. This work, both public and private, is deserving of celebration and admiration.

We asked 50 artists to each choose two women they admire and honor them by making a modern-day commemorative plate. We welcome all perspectives on this topic, and we embrace a wide definition of women, transgender, and female identifying people. The people each artist chooses can be famous, anonymous, or their own private inspirations. The artists selected reflect the true wide range of cultures and gender identities of people making art in clay. By choosing artists across cultures and gender identities we welcome an illustration of women important to each artist within their varying experiences.

We are excited to present commemorative plates dedicated to women who these artists feel embody the spirit of female empowerment, and who deserve recognition for their contributions to society.

We look forward to walking into a gallery of heroes who will inspire us to keep fighting for justice and equality.

[1] “Racial, gender wage gaps persist in U.S. despite some progress”. Pew Research Center. July 1, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016.

[2] Women in the US Congress 2020, Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University.

[1] “Racial, gender wage gaps persist in U.S. despite some progress”. Pew Research Center. July 1, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016.

[2] Women in the US Congress 2020, Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University.




“Hope” a Collaboration by Stephanie Osser, illustrator in Clay, and Jamaal Eversley, Painter
 made for “Real F.R.I.E.N.D.S.” at the Beacon Gallery, Boston 2020
Terra Cotta Sculpture with underglaze
Cold finish on sculpture, includes photo/painted image of Martin Luther King by Jamaal Eversley
17.5” x 11” x 13”

Women’s March for America

Title of Work: Émaux (also called Émail) Ombrant+Lithophane Women’s March for America

This technique invented in France by the Rubellas Pottery factory in the mid 19th century is called “émaux ombrant, also called émail ombrant, meaning “enamel shadows”. The negative transparency of shadows, makes the image. It is related to lithophanes I carved in plaster of the women’s March.The little girls and their supportive parents inspired me.

Date of work: November 5, 2017
size: plate is 8.25” x 8.25” x 1”
size: lithophane test is 4” x 4” x .125”
Materials: plate is porcelain clay, plaster mold carved as a low bas-relief image used as a press mold, cone 6, underglaze, mixed Amaco celadon glazes.
Lithophane test is translucent porcelain slip, cone 6 – no glaze.



Émail Ombrant

Here I am working in an outdoor studio paradise near Tanglewood, Massachusetts.  My husband and I where attending a concert version of “Das Reingold”, by Richard Wagner, perfromed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  It’s a beautiful day, and I am carving a bas-relief narrative on plaster, making a commemorative plate in a new technique I learned about from Dr. Margaret Carney’s book “Lithophanes”.  It’s related in it’s appearance and translucent look to the Lithophanes I learned to make in Hungary at the International Ceramic Studio also called Kecskemét. I have many hours of carving ahead and will reveal results soon.  Wish me luck with glaze experiments.


Porcelain Lithophanes

Here are my newest works, lithophanes, a new chapter in my career as an illustrator in clay/porcelain.

What is a Lithophane?

Lithophanes are three-dimensional translucent porcelain plaques which when backlit reveal detailed magical images. First created in Europe in the 1820s, the largest collection of this 19th century art form in the world is now on view at the Blair Museum of Lithophanes, in Toledo Ohio.
















“Della Rob-Baby”

My Della Robbia inspired architectural ceramic piece for a wall at a local Boston area hospital

“Della Rob-Baby”
Size 15” x 15” x 5”
Earthenware Clay, Majolica Glaze


Della Rob-baby-S.Osser


My Family Odyssey: Voyage to America on the S. S. Finland, April 14, 1921


” God Bless America” by Irving Berlin. Sung by Lyric Soprano Deanna Durbin. Irving Berlin immigrated to America, earlier than my Dad, on a Red Star Line Ship from Antwerp, Belgium.

Red Star Line MuseumAntwerp, Belgium, opened in 2013. They welcome your family stories of immigration on their ships.

“My Family Odyssey: April 14, 1921”
“The little boy, age 3, perched on his father’s shoulders with his Mom leading the way, is my Dad. The Ellis Island registry listed him arriving in 1921, on the Red Star Line S. S. Finland, from Antwerp. His family is looking at the Statue of Liberty and the New York City landscape, a bas-relief on the back of the boy’s jacket. The violin is reminiscent of the beautiful music my Dad played for us most days after work as a talented Mechanical Engineer. The flag, with 48 stars in 1921, is symbolic of the pride my father always felt being an American citizen.”


“The Sculpture, “My Family Odyssey” is a valuable contribution to the understanding of the personal lives of the immigrants who came to the United States through Ellis Island. The museum will use the piece in permanent and temporary exhibits, for loan to other institutions and for research by historians and others interested in the Statue of Liberty and American immigration.”

– John Piltzecker
Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Museum
National Park Service – United States Department of the Interior


“Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor ” – Norman Luboff Choir – From Irving Berlin’s 1949 musical ‘Miss Liberty’. Straight from the 1958 vinyl.

This poem is engraved on the Statue of Liberty Monument and inspired the song:
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

by Emma Lazarus, New York City, 1883





Thanks to The Huntington Theatre Company, Boston for their fabulous production of… CANDIDE
Music by Leonard Bernstein, Lyrics by Richard Wilbur & others
Directed and newly adapted from the Voltaire by Mary Zimmerman… and who gave permission to use their images.



“Oh Happy We” from Candide by Leonard Bernstein, sung by June Anderson and Jerry Hadley with Maestro Leonard Bernstein conducting.

“Life is Happiness Indeed”
In Act 1 we find the 18th Century protagonists Candide, the illegitimate nephew of the fabulously rich Baron of Westphalia and Cunegonde, the Baron’s daughter. They sing of their love, but their visions of the future couldn’t be more different: he aspires to a simple life growing “peas and cabbages,” while she yearns for a life “rolling in luxury.” They don’t notice the differences.



“Bon Voyage” sung by Stanford Olson with chorus. Bon voyage! part of Vanderdendur, a swindler, sung by Stanford Olsen with the Westminister Symphonic Choir, New York Philharmonic Conductor: Maestro Marin Alsop

“Bon Voyage”
Things do not go well. Bulgarians conquer Westphalia and everyone is scattered. But Candide finds Cunegonde in Spain where she is now a high-class prostitute. They escape and travel to Buenos Aires. There, the Governor detains the beautiful girl to be his mistress. Candide is driven to the jungle but finds Eldorado, “the land of happy people.” He helps himself to some red-gold sheep. He uses them to purchase Cunegonde’s freedom. The citizens of the port city of Surinam bid him “Bon Voyage.”

Candide tries to secure passage to Venice to find his lady love Cunegonde. In this scene Mrs.Vanderdendur offers her ship. When Candide readily agrees to Vanderdendur’s high price, Vanderdendur deduces that Candide’s sheep are carrying a fortune of gold and jewels from Eldorado. Candide puts his sheep on board in advance, and Vanderdendur sails off without him, taking much of Candide’s fortune!


“Candide at Sea, ou L’Optimisme”
Candide is at sea, optimistic that he will be reunited with Cunegonde in Venice. But, the ship sinks: he was swindled and sold “a wreck of a boat.” Somehow, after much further travail, they both make it to Venice. They are “not what they were” – “youth, charm and grace” are gone. But after much thought they decide to marry and “make our garden grow” on a small farm on the outskirts of Venice.



The Babson Wellesley Ceramic Mural Project


Two bas-relief ceramic collages that illustrate significant sustainability efforts at Babson College and Wellesley College were created during the Spring 2012 semester. The design and creation of the murals was a collaborative effort, involving dozens of students, faculty, and staff at the two institutions.

The murals were funded by a BOW Mellon Presidential Project grant, awarded to Stephanie Osser, ceramic artist, impresario/mural instructor, and created at the Babson College Ceramics Studio, side-by-side.

Size for each mural is within 4’ x 4’.


The Babson Wellesley Ceramic Mural Project

Susanna Kroll ’14, designed the Babson mural and created the imagery in clay and glaze.
She brought in collaborators to help with details including Jessica Millman ’14;

Salisa Napathorn ’14;
Mo Yang ’14;
Hongling Xu ’15;
Ben Staples ’12;
Jamaal Eversley ’09;
Amelia Tan MBA ’12;
Aman Hojanepesov MBA ’13
and Stephanie Osser, who all spent countless hours working on this labor of love. Several other students dropped in to lend a hand.

Images of sustainability on the Babson mural include:

• Mandell Family Hall – This Energy Star Building uses 40% less energy than other buildings its size on the Babson Campus.

• Lights – Babson has undergone lighting efficiency upgrades to a majority of its buildings on campus. These conservation projects will save Babson 258,622 Kilowatt hours a year. That amount of energy saved in just one year could power an average American household for 11 years.

• Big Belly Solar Energy Compactor– Managed in part by a Babson and Olin College student/alumni collaboration, Big Belly makes solar powered compacting trashcans for outdoor applications. Babson is home to several Big Belly units. By compacting trash, Big Belly trashcans reduce the number of truck trips and bags required to empty outdoor garbage containers.

• Bike Share – Green Tower, a special interest housing organization on campus, started a bike share program at Babson to encourage students to ride their bikes around campus and around the town of Wellesley.

• An energy efficient water heater.

• A gardener (Babson has a community garden and a great diversity of trees).

• A person with an idea, represented by compact fluorescent light bulbs. After all, without ideas, sustainability efforts cannot continually improve.

Images of sustainability on the Wellesley mural include:

• The renovated Whitin Observatory, which was awarded silver LEED certification;

• The restoration of the Alumnae Valley including Cattail Pond behind the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center;

• The newly installed LED lights in the iconic college lanterns;

• The beehives and honey bees behind the Science Center;

• The photovoltaic solar array on the western campus athletic fields;

• The zero-emission, all electric van retrofitted with a solar panel;

• A student riding one of the Revolution pink bikes (communal bike program);

• Students’ on-campus gardening/farming efforts…and more!

Caitlin Greenhill Caldrea ’14 designed the Wellesley mural.
Corri Taylor (Director of Wellesley’s Quantitative Reasoning Program),
Aidan Chambers ’13, and Stephanie Osser led Wellesley’s creative team. Also contributing their time and talents were:
Erika Liu ’15,
Vanessa Barrera ’12,
Olivia Froehlich ’14,
Sophie Johnson ’12,
Graeme Durovich ’15,
Patty Suquilanda ’13,
Valerie Soon ’13,
Susan Laves ’12,
Emma Maynard ’13,
Lilly Gorman ’15,
Karen Pabon (Director of Slater International),
all from Wellesley
and Jamaal Eversley, a Babson alumnus from ’09.


Pair of Pitchers


This piece was a collaboration design with the talented ceramic artist Masako Fujii, from Japan. My illustrations are decaled on top of the cone 10 glaze and fired up to that temperature again, so they sink under the glaze.

Slip cast porcelain
Left pitcher 6” x 4 1/2 x 4”, right pitcher 5” x 4” x 3 1/2