Cornerstone’s Artist of the Month for December
Amanda Rife is a mosaicist based out of Harrisburg, PA. For over a decade, her creative outlet of choice has been an ancient art form with a modern twist, where she cuts sheets of stained glass into smaller pieces and meticulously arranges them to create her interpretation of the subject matter. Amanda has been drawn to a variety of different artistic mediums throughout her life, including drawing, collage, and photography. But when introduced to mosaics, she felt compelled to work with glass. The challenge to recreate textures and patterns, and to interpret objects and natural subjects, is one she eagerly accepts. In her creative process, she takes an object and deconstructs it in order to figure out how the glass will be cut and where the grout will be. Many subjects do not have hard lines, so the glass’ edge and the grout need to imply every curve and detail in order for the entire piece to come together. Every cut of glass is planned, with each edge cut in anticipation of the piece that will be placed next to it.
Every mosaic is hand-crafted with great precision and care, and even if an image is produced more than once, there will never be two mosaics with the exact same cuts of glass throughout the entire piece. Every mosaic truly is one of a kind. Her mosaics have been featured locally in shows at Metropolis Collective, Sheila Frank, ZeroDay Brewing, Moda Salon, Cornerstone Coffeehouse, and Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center.
Tell us briefly about your background & how you got started in your medium.
I took art classes both in and out of school and tried every medium I could get my hands on. Once I was introduced to mosaics, something just clicked inside me and that initial excitement I felt just never faded. It all started when I was making mosaic flower pots as a summer hobby. A friend of the family saw my pots and asked if I could create a Penn State logo out of glass on his coffee table. I brainstormed and told him I’d give it a shot, and the end product was just so much better than I had ever imagined it would be. And with that, my new passion began to grow and I haven’t fallen out of love with it since.
How does your medium inform your viewpoint? Or what do you like most about your medium?
I absolutely love the challenge of interpreting a photo or drawing into glass and having it make sense. A big part of that is picking out the right glass. There are so many different colors, shades, levels of transparency, textures and designs as options, and I love picking the perfect kind of glass to best express each aspect of the image. Every little detail comes together in the end to create the bigger picture. Those details are my favorite.
Who or what have been your artistic inspirations?
All artists inspire me. Creativity is a life-force, and artists amaze me with their personal talents. My husband is incredibly artistic and constantly inspires me. I also love mosaics by Siobhan Allen, Linda Billet (an insanely talented local mosaicist!), and Sharra Frank. My favorite mixed media/painters are Josie Lewis, Denitza, and Ryan Sparr.
Do You Have a Favorite Piece in Your Portfolio?
For the past year, I’ve created mostly mandalas. I love them all. Mandalas represent wholeness, balance, and feeling complete, which is something I’m always striving to have in my life.
What would be your advice to artists just starting out in your medium?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Try everything and anything your creative wheels churn up. Worst case, you don’t love it and you learn what you do or don’t want for your next piece. It’s all about growth and letting your creativity grow. Art is therapeutic and good for the soul, so feed that hunger without fear.
A full display of previous works can be found at AmandaRifeArt.com