Photo: Courtesy reNEW by steph
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Stephanie and I am from Youngstown, Ohio. I currently live in Cincinnati, Ohio with my husband, Phil, and our spunky mini schnauzer, Juneau. I have an MEd from Ohio State University and an MBA from Murray State University. I currently work full time as a coach for child care providers, but when I am not working, I like to my spend time exploring the outdoors and making art.
What inspired you to become an artist?
I have always been drawn to the arts – painting, writing, music, etc., and my good friend Julie recently inspired me to start creating in a new way. In addition, my late mother-in-law, Ellen, hung hamsas throughout her home and her collection inspired me to create our own. Lastly, the definition for the word renew, to give fresh life or strength to, also serves as inspiration.
What is your specialty?
Mosaics. I use old or broken jewelry, chains, charms, and other secondhand materials to create custom 3-D art in the form of hamsas, picture frames, and more.
How and where do you work?
I work from home in our makeshift “art studio.” To create my art, I break down jewelry using wire cutters and pliers and manipulate them onto different items using an epoxy resin clay.
What is the most indispensable item in your studio?
Oddly enough, my favorite item in my studio is a dental tool, which I use to carefully and precisely place beads into the epoxy clay.
Where do you take your inspiration? Are you pursuing any themes?
I use the beads themselves as inspiration for each piece. Since the pieces are commissioned, the customer chooses a color scheme and then I make “sketches” in the desired colors to come up with a plan.
Do you do bespoke work?
Yes, all of my work is custom so far. In the future as I build more inventory, I would also love to open an Etsy page and sell items as-is.
What projects are you currently working on?
I currently am working on a special hamsa as a gift for my grandma Rhoda’s 88th birthday.
What is your favorite item in your current collection?
I think my favorite item is the very first piece I made – a rust and metallic picture frame that is now displayed in our home. Something clicked for me when I was making this piece and it opened up the door to my new hobby-turned-business.
How do you know when a piece is finished?
There is a natural stopping point in my art – it is finished when it is fully covered in beads or other materials.
What was the first artwork you ever sold?
The first piece I sold was a blue and green hamsa to my husband’s cousin, Judy.
Which project have you enjoyed working on the most so far?
This is a tough question for me! I enjoy working on every piece for different reasons, so it is too difficult for me to choose.
What do you want to achieve with your work and what are your wishes for the future?
At this point, I am so grateful to be able to express myself through my art and spend my time in a thoughtful, productive way. I hope to continue along the path of renewal – bringing fresh life to secondhand materials. My wishes for the future are continuous improvements on sustainability and reducing my environmental impact. Right now, all beads, jewelry, and shipping supplies are sourced secondhand and I want to adopt more and more eco-friendly practices as reNEW by steph continues to grow.
Where can we find your work?
Photos: Courtesy reNEW by steph