Stephanie Osser ( She, Her, Hers )

Artist Statement

My artistic creations are like the instruments in an orchestra.   Each instrument has a different sound; you must use different skills to create those sounds.  So it has been with the different kinds of art I’ve made over the years: drawings, book, and editorial illustrations with multi-medias & ceramic depictions of my illustrations on porcelain lithophanes, clay tiles, sculptures of people important to me, bas-relief opera scenes, dinnerware, and more.  But when the orchestra conductor says, “All together now!” and gives the downbeat for all the instruments to play as one, the listener can recognize the composer of the piece and the themes of the music.  In a lifetime as an artist, my many kinds of artistic work come together as well, and the common and unified themes are clear: the loves of my life.  Those are my family, children, music, and the beauty of nature. 


Stephanie Osser works from her studio in Needham, MA.   She became a book/editorial illustrator and then an illustrator in porcelain and stoneware, juggling both. She began her career in graduate school for ceramics at the University of Montana, studying with Rudy Autio and working for the Anthropology and Wildlife Departments, illustrating research papers and singing in some radio commercials. The New England Aquarium, Boston, hired her as their staff illustrator for exhibits. Then, there were collaborations with editors, art directors, and designers for non-fiction children’s books, textbooks, and adult trade books with major publishers. Cookbooks by famous chefs, gardening books and magazines, and editorial food illustrations for the New York Times, the N.Y.Daily News, and the Boston Globe built her illustration portfolio. With her specialty in food still-life and step-by-step instructional illustrations showing hands-making food recipes, she was hired to illustrate puppets and crafts. This included a fun stint working directly with the artists and craftspeople who created those charming Muppet characters at Jim Henson Associates. Osser then brought her two-dimensional illustration to 3D ceramics, working in porcelain and stoneware, reusing many copyrighted book illustrations. Architectural ceramics, in-glaze transfer-ware decals, and lithophanes (back-lit translucent porcelain imagery) have become specialties. She taught and managed the ceramics studio for Babson, Olin, and Wellesley College students for 6 years. Awarded a Mellon Grant, she and the students made ceramic murals celebrating green energy and sustainability on their campuses. More knowledge/inspiration was obtained at ceramic residencies: Guldagergaard, Denmark; Kecskemét, Hungary; Medalta, Canada; Watershed in Maine; and the Ceramics Program Office for the Arts at Harvard University.  She has works included in permanent collections at The Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Museum, AMOCA Museum; The International Museum of Dinnerware Design; the Blair Museum of Lithophanes; the Red Star Line Museum, Antwerp, Belgium, and the Needham, Massachusetts  Historical Society.  Her ceramics have been included in a long list of juried ceramic exhibitions and some awards, and she has been published in four of the 500 Series by  Lark Books.  Working in the education field and teaching her techniques in workshops with children and adults give her joy.    In 2022, she started teaching workshops for the fun youngest children in  K – 4th grade.  The classes are called “Clay Tunes,” introducing great Classical Music & Jazz, featuring solo musical instruments to inspire the children while they create.  In 2023 & 2024, she received a Massachusetts Arts Council Grant to teach her “Recycled Collage Making Characters,” inspired by the great illustrator Eric Carle, to young children in libraries.  Her other passionate pursuit is singing in the soprano section of The Masterworks Chorale, Boston, and the Newton Swing Band, a soloist singing songs by the great Irving Berlin & George and Ira Gershwin.