Each month at Delphi Glass, we’d like to put the spotlight on one of the many talented artists we see daily in our Artist Gallery. For the month of February, we’re delighted to introduce Stephanie Murphy, who goes by the name aMosaicist in our gallery.
Stephanie was born and raised in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, and now lives just south of there in a town called Schnecksville. After earning her nursing degree in college, she became a critical care nurse for 10 years. But in order to care for her autistic son, Patrick, she had to leave her career behind.
Throughout college and beyond, Stephanie began using art as a coping mechanism for the stresses in her life, especially when it came to raising her autistic son. “In college, I filled my electives with art classes, drawing and ceramics, to give my brain a respite from the vigorous nursing courses. Creating art gives my left brain some rest and my right brain some much needed exercise. I can go on vacation without ever leaving home. Creating mosaic and fused glass art is something I do for me.”
Stephanie has been creating mosaics for 13 years and fused glass for about 4 years. She got her start by searching online for mosaic classes near her. “I wanted to tile my kitchen backsplash and found Home Depot classes too technical,” she explained. She found an excellent mentor in Gina Hubler, who went on to introduce her to smalti, sculpture, micro mosaic and wall installations.
“I traveled to Venice in 2007, 2008 with Gina as part of two 1-week classes taught by Antonella Gallenda at Orsoni. Each time I created a piece with her guidance, improving my cutting skills with a hammer and hardy,” tells Stephanie. She took her passion for art and continued to fuel it by taking more classes with some of the most talented artists around like Sue Wechsler (mosaic dresses), Laura Rendlen ( layering/adding dimension to tesserae), Rachel Sager (line, movement and use of stone), and Carol Shelkin ( painting with mosaics).
She also had the pleasure of taking a class with Martin Cheek in 2012 in St. Augustine, Florida. “I was hoping Martin would share with me how he made his glass fusions but he told me, ‘You’ll figure it out.’ I began taking fusing classes at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with Roy Gruver. I actually brought a fusion of Martin’s to class and said to Roy, ‘How do I do this?’ Roy is an outstanding teacher and has become a great resource. My mosaic skills translate into my fused glass pieces especially regarding glass placement. What I find difficult with fused glass is that I do not have the multitude of colors available as with smalti and stained glass color pallets.”
To create her masterpieces Stephanie’s favorite tools for creating fused glass tools are her Morton Cutting System and my DK Monorail Circle Cutter, while for creating mosaics, she favors her angled tweezers, metal dental picks, and my Leponitt glass Nippers.
Stephanie’s work is gorgeous, and she happily elaborated on 3 of her favorite pieces:
“I found an old black and white photograph of my parents as newlyweds. I involved my Mom who is 86 years old, in the mosaic process. I had her select the smalti that was the color of her dress, my Dad’s clothes and the car. So we kind of did it togeth-er.”
“This piece hangs in the Rectory of St. Joseph the Worker Roman Catholic Church in Orefield, Pennsylvania. I created this mosaic from a Christmas card, capturing the mother’s love for her child.”
“I love these clogs because I could actually wear them if I wanted to. The title means ‘sparkly wooden shoes.’ I bought them at a thrift store almost 20 years ago and finally put them to good use.”
The most unusual thing Stephanie has ever created was a mosaic over an old window in her retro travel trailer at their summer camp in Sandy Pond, New York. The window, dating back to 1958, had become clouded and needed to be replaced. Stephanie spent this last summer creating a glass mosaic over the inside of the window.
When asked what inspires her to create the pieces she makes, she told us, “I believe that inspiration comes from the Divine directly influencing the soul. For me, it is visually based. It can come at any time. For example, during a particularly long church sermon or waiting, whether it be in the grocery check-out line or a doctor’s appointment. Sometimes I just go clean out and organize my studio and find stuff and think, ‘What can I do with this?’”
Aside from her art, Stephanie’s life revolves around her son, Patrick, her husband Dennis, their other 2 adult children and 2 dogs (Lucy, a corgi and Darcy, a curly coat retriever). She loves to read, enjoy a good glass of wine, travel, and watch the sunset over Lake Ontario.