Step by step, one stone and stained glass at a time07/14/2021 10:53AM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
At about the time the new millennium began more than two decades ago, Margie Samero was working in the insurance industry and had absolutely no interest in pursuing the life of an artist, but the emergence of our creativity, like a lone flower bursting through a sidewalk, has a way of finding its way through the thickest of barriers.
“The basement in my house in West Grove needed its walls sealed, so I spent about two months in my basement dry-locking the walls,” Samero said from her Step by Stepping Stones studio at Yeatman’s Farm in Avondale. “At about that time, a friend of mine gave me a big bucket of stained glass scrap pieces – a whole mix of different colors that she said I could use to make something some day.
“I thought, ‘Well that’s not going to happen.’ The bucket sat there and sat there.”
At the end of the basement project, Samero saw one remaining bag of cement, poured the concrete into a pan, pressed the pieces of glass into the cement, and soon afterward, she made a few more stained glass creations. Through her contacts, Samero’s first pieces found their way onto the display shelves at a Kennett Square garden store.
They were sold within 24 hours.
‘It gave people happiness’
“If you’re not an artist and you’ve never been into artisan crafts, and suddenly someone gives you money for something you made in your basement, it’s a very proud feeling,” she said. “After about a year, I took my items to a craft show, and I sold a few items and covered my expenses, but I still liked the feeling of being proud about something I made. It gave people happiness to see my designs and that really made me feel good.”
Fast forward 20 years and Samero is now a prominent artisan – the creator of stepping stone designs and crushed glass framed works -- with appearances at as many as 40 shows a year (pre COVID-19) in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland, and an online sales presence that regularly ships her growing stones and her crushed glass windows inventory to homes around the United States.
Samero’s studio is a busy indoor and outdoor workshop of scoring tools, pliers, buckets of crushed colored glass and trinkets, as well as handmade wooden frames custom built for her by Tennis Palmer, her boyfriend Rick’s father.
Samero’s work is not just pretty stones and stained glass windows; each piece provides a narrative of place and objects that is reminiscent of sea shores, gardens, nature and sunrises.
After each stepping stone or stained glass creation is completed, they are either displayed at an art show or packaged and shipped to customers from an adjacent studio filled with cardboard boxes and protective wrapping.
Because COVID-19 had curtailed Samero’s regular touring schedule of shows, she began to tap into Etsy, and the results were sudden and a bit overwhelming.
“I had shipped some of my pieces in the past, but it was nothing like what Etsy was able to do,” she said. “It’s been a year and three months, and I think I have probably sold over 900 stepping stones during that time through Etsy, all over the United States. People would write me and request entire pathways. I had a man in Tampa who recently brought 27 of my stepping stones he was going to use in his back yard.”
As Samero prepares to resume her normally rigorous artisan show schedule -- coupled with fulfilling the increasing demands to maintain her inventory – she cherishes the moments when strangers make contact with her art for the first time.
“It’s the feeling that I have created something and then placed it in someone’s hands that makes them feel happy,” she said. “To see their enjoyment as they admire my art is the main reason I do this.”
You can also find Samero on Etsy by visiting StepBySteppingStones.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].