Stephanie has lived her life in the mountains of Montana and Idaho surrounded by an artistic family.
“We spent a good deal of our time enjoying the outdoor activities of the two states. In our time tromping through the mountains my mother taught me to stop and really see more than just an overview of the big picture: the incredible array of color in any landscape, the line and texture of trees and rocks, how changing light could completely change a landscape and a myriad of other perspectives of the artist eye. My father taught me to see the micro climates all around us; little worlds created by the protection of a rock or tree that allowed a special orchid to thrive just in that small space or the hollow in a rock protected from wind and a collector of water that allowed a flower to bloom in the desert . . . little oases all around us. They taught me to really see all there was to see.”
Smith graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Range Science and unnaturally, went on to run an orthodontic lab for many years.
“Strangely, I found making orthodontic appliances very artistically pleasing if aesthetically unappealing. I enjoyed the process of making something of raw materials that looked good and functioned well and I found I enjoyed the feel of a product as much as the visual aspects.”
Through the years, she took a number of art courses in a variety of mediums and “nothing really struck me as ‘right’ until I was unwittingly signed up to take a class in kiln formed glass.” A year after Smith lost her husband to a tragic accident, one of her friends decided that she needed to find a new direction. She signed her up for “Kiln Formed Glass Workshop” with Richard Parrish in Bozeman, MT. “One workshop and I was hooked. I was on my way down the road in my new life and thankful to find that we are gifted with the chance to have more than one life in a lifetime.”
“All these years later working with glass still captivates me. It is a medium that has so many possibilities and yet is so rigid and unyielding at the same time. Working with glass combines science and art. If you don’t know and understand the physical and chemical properties of the glass, you can’t be successful in drawing out its beauty. There is always more to learn, explore and experiment with and, oh the way the light plays on glass! Spectacular. I have taken advantage of many classes and workshops from some incredible scientist/artists to learn both the science of glass and the artistic possibilities it offers. I find my parent’s early teachings in really seeing the world around me coming out in my glass art. There are views into small micro climates within the bigger picture, little windows that allow us to see more, cropping up into my work.”
Smith takes her work seriously, attending workshops to learn new methods of working the glass. Her classes include “Cold working,” “Working in Shallow Space: Bas Relief in Kiln Glass” and “Wildlife in Glass”. Stephanie just returned from her latest class “The Perfect Vessel” with teacher Karl Harron.
We are excited about displaying her newest piece along with her other glasswork which reveals a style unique to her. She states “A piece works for me or is successful, in my mind when it elicits a sense of calmness, stability and balance, much like viewing natures art does.” She elaborates by saying “Design guided by intuition and the inclusion of the senses results in an artistic work that is viscerally, as well as visually, pleasing for me. It comes from within.”