Artists and Instructors

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Biography: Stephen Rolfe Powell

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Stephen Rolfe Powell

Internationally-renowned glass artist and self-professed pyromaniac Stephen Rolfe Powell is remembered as both a glassmaker and an educator. His work is known for its shapes and colors, likely influenced by the psychedelic music of the ‘60s and ‘70s. His daily life revolved around glass sculpture, and teaching others about it.

Powell earned his BA in painting and ceramics at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. In 1983, he earned a MFA in Ceramics from Louisiana State University. It was during his graduate studies that Powell had his first experience with hot glass and became obsessed with the material. He participated in workshops, demonstrations, and lectures across the globe about glass, exhibiting nationally and internationally. One of Powell's greatest impacts was in the Art Department of his alma mater, Centre College, where he founded the school's glass program in 1985.

He accepted, in 2010, the Artist Award by the Governor’s Award in Arts. In 2012, Powell was presented with the Distinguished Educator award from the James Renwick Alliance in Washington, D.C. Powell’s career from 1983 to 2007 was documented in the full-length book, Stephen Rolfe Powell Glassmaker, published by the University Press of Kentucky and released in 2007. Powell passed away in March 2019 at age 68.