Raquel Stanek says she draws inspiration from real animals to create playful mosaics like this trio of goggle-eyed chicks.
Just under 10 feet high and crafted from tens of thousands of hand-cut glass pieces, Raquel Stanek’s captivating giraffe is but one of her intricately designed and assembled mosaic works. Bubbling with enthusiasm, Stanek loves talking about her imaginative animal art, which ranges from this towering commissioned sculpture to a larger-than-life zebra bust, a 7-foot-long pig and a menagerie of chickens, ducks, geese, deer and other critters with expressive personalities.
Stanek’s own backyard features a mosaic chicken coop, over 8 feet high and 6 feet wide, that houses her four bantam hens and a rooster. In addition to these signature creations, she also produces smaller mosaic and fused-glass pieces such as mirrors, votives and tiles.
Needless to say, animals are this artist’s favorite subject. “I’ve always felt a connection to them,” she explains. “In that quiet moment of real communication with another living creature, I see a lot of humor, fun and whimsy. It’s those moments that inspire me to create animals that make people happy.”
Stanek lives and works on Bainbridge Island, a 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle, in Washington’s Puget Sound. She was introduced to the magic of mosaic in high school and has been a full-time artist since 2010. Her zebra bust was a 2010 NICHE Award finalist, she exhibited at the 2013 Buyers Market of American Craft show in Philadelphia, and she sells her work to galleries and craft shops throughout North America. In addition to producing commissioned pieces for private collections and public display, Stanek teaches a popular mosaic workshop at her island studio (Raquels Mosaics).
Recently Stanek received the 2013 Amy Award, given annually by Bainbridge Arts and Crafts and the Bainbridge Island Arts & Humanities Council to an emerging artist from the island under the age of 35. Awardees are chosen for work that “demonstrates a sense of quality, creativity, exploration and dedication”—adjectives that fully describe the energy and passion that Stanek brings to her art.