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.
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.
My Della Robbia inspired architectural ceramic piece for a wall at a local Boston area hospital
Size 15” x 15” x 5”
Earthenware Clay, Majolica Glaze
” 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 Museum, Antwerp, 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
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.
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.
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
This is dinnerware for Children, with my images created for a book called “All About Eggs” by Millicent Selsam. (illustrated and copyrighted by me).
Turtle Dinnerware for Children, Honorable Mention at the Providence Art Club.
LEGO is a trademark of the LEGO group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this web site. The LEGO bricks can be used in this special way, and sold with my dinnerware.
The inspiration for my print on porcelain stage design “The Barber of Seville in My Home Town” was my daughter Roselin, a Mezzo Soprano, who sang the role of Rosina with the Longwood Opera Company: www.RoselinOsser.com.
The opera was directed by J. Scott Brumit with musical direction by Jeffrey Brody.
The mission of Longwood Opera is twofold:
•to prepare trained emerging singers for the next stage in their operatic careers by providing them with the opportunity to practice their art and to polish their performing skills in major roles before a live audience
•to foster appreciation for opera among individuals from all walks of life in the Greater Boston communities by offering high-quality, accessible and affordable operatic experiences
The Barber of Seville, by Gioacchino Rossini, tells a story of two men, Count Almaviva and Dr. Bartolo, who compete for the affection of the Sevillian señorita, Rosina.
Using a variety of schemes, the Count attempts to woo Rosina from her over-bearing guardian, whom she is condemned to marry. With the clever aid of the Count’s friend Figaro, the Barber of Seville, comedy and confusion ensue, all set to Rossini’s exuberant and popular music score.
The Barber of Seville, or The Futile Precaution (Italian: Il barbiere di Siviglia, ossia L’inutile precauzioneis) an opera buffa in two acts by Gioachino Rossini with an Italian libretto by Cesare Sterbini. The libretto was based on Pierre Beaumarchais’s French comedy Le Barbier de Séville (1775). The première of Rossini’s opera (under the title Almaviva, o sia L’inutile precauzione) took place on 20 February 1816 at the Teatro Argentina, Rome.
Made out of porcelain, underglaze applied through silkscreens made from my original sketches, glaze, wood.
15″H x 13″ D x 26″ L
Wooden Stage by Ben Moroze, Photography by Bill Davison
Overture: The Accompanist
Figaro’s Aria: Largo al factotum della città – Sung in Italian by baritone Sherrill Milnes
Translation: Make way for the factotum of the city – (someone who does many jobs) sung in English by baritone Alan Opie, conducted by Gabriele Bellini with the English National Opera Orchestra
Count Almaviva’s Aria: Se il mio nome saper voi bramate, sung in Italian by Tenor Nicolai Gedda, conducted by James Levine with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Translation: My poor heart is so full of emotion
Sung in English by tenor Bruce Ford and conducted by Gabriele Bellini with the English National Opera Orchestra
“Where’s the Master?
Count Almaviva, disguised as a soldier, very funny encounter with Dr. Bartolo
Rosina’s aria: Una voce poco fa first sung in Italian by Lyric Soprano Beverly Sills conducted by James Levine with the London Symphony Orchestra
Translation: In my heart a gentle voice sung by Lyric Soprano Della Jones, conducted by Gabriele Bellini with the English National Opera Orchestra.
I can be so demure
So that is it
Figaro and Rosina
Then it’s me
I love a happy ending….
Figaro, chorus, Rosina, Count Almaviva, and the entire cast.
This is an example of my sculpture inspired by my favorite comedians, the Marks Brothers.
”A Night at the Opera: Groucho and Mrs. Claypoole at your Service”. Inspired by the classic 1947 Marx Brothers movie ” A Night at the Opera”.
Otis Driftwood (Groucho Marx) is pestering Mrs. Claypoole (Margaret Dumont), a wealthy widow, as they sit in their balcony seats at the opera.
This sculpture is actually utilitarian. It was constructed as a serving piece. On close examination you can find various scenes from the movie. Chico Marx is painted onto the back of Mrs. Claypoole’s evening gown, playing the piano with his comical one finger method. Butterflies are escaping from inside Chico’s piano and flying all over the gown and around the 2 figures, alighting on the serving platter, inside the top hat, etc.
“A Night at the Opera”
Low fire slip and glaze, 16″ x 17″ x 2″
“After casting this image in plaster to make this tile I was able to use the plaster cast to create the following piece, “Marx Brothers Druthers”