Stephanie was born in Middle Mosquodoboit, Nova Scotia, and stayed until she was three years old. Her father, Ace, was in the army, and she together with brother Dave, and her parents, moved to Montreal, Petawawa, and finally settled in Ottawa, where Stephanie secured employment as a factory inspector for Revlon.
At the urging of her sister-in-law, in 1976, at the age of 20, Stephanie signed up to take a stain glass course in Ottawa. Little did she know at that time how this would shape her life. Falling in love with the craft, Stephanie harassed the owner of the studio who had offered the course, to hire her. After much persistence, he succumbed, and she left her well-paying job at Revlon, to pursue her passion. Over the next 15 years she worked at a number of different studios.
Stephanie visited her brother a couple of times in Fernie. “On a hot and humid, mosquito infested day in Ottawa, I thought, what am I doing here?” she shared. Feeling that perhaps Fernie was too small for two “Rogers”, she packed up her belongings and moved to the Okanagan. With job prospects in that area limited, in the fall of 1991, she made the decision to move to Fernie.
Stephanie started working at Fernie Sports, of which brother Dave was a part owner. From here she accepted a job with the Bank of Montreal. In 2001, Stephanie opened her business, Stephanie’s Glass & Art Studio, on 2nd Avenue in Fernie, and in 2012 she was recognized as the Citizen of the year at the Community and Business Excellence Awards presented by the Chamber of Commerce.
“I almost quit when the crash happened a few years ago,” she shares, “but then things started to pick up.”
It is evident in speaking to Stephanie, that she feels very fortunate to be able to make a living doing something she is so passionate about. “I love to do things that make people happy. I get to practice my craft and make a living. I always say ‘How lucky am I?’ “
Most of the work Stephanie does is commissioned, i.e. windows and doors for homes as well as glassware. You only need to visit her studio to see what an accomplished artist Stephanie is on many levels. Her talent is not limited to stain glass, but also includes sandblasting, a technique often used in her work.
Since arriving in Fernie, Stephanie has immersed herself in the community. She is an avid skier, and enjoys camping and hunting. Recently her love of the outdoors has expanded to include hiking.
When asked what she sees as the biggest changes in Fernie, she quickly answers “downtown revitalization.” Stephanie remembers a time some years ago hearing Fernie described as ‘nothing but a dirty little mining town’.
“They couldn’t say that now. Our art community has blossomed, and I hear that every day,” she says proudly.
Volunteerism is another thing Stephanie excels at. After losing her mother in 2003, she started to work with the Hospice Society, which she continues to do. Last year, she extended her generosity with her time to include “F.I.R.E.” (Fernie Adaptive Ski Program), on the board of which she is now a member.
Also on Stephanie’s resume is the fundraising undertaken in 2012 to secure a digital mammography machine for the East Kootenay Regional Hospital. Taking part in fundraisers, including an art auction and a ski-a-thon, Stephanie was instrumental in raising awareness of, and contributions for the East Kootenay Foundation Of Health (EKFH), which ultimately secured the funds required to make this dream a possibility.
Recently, Stephanie was instrumental in spearheading the fundraising for the “Smiles for Shyanne” campaign that raised over $25,000.
Whether creating her amazing artwork or tenaciously fundraising to support her community, there is no “quit” in Stephanie. With a positive attitude and an abundance of community spirit, Stephanie Rogers is this week’s “face of the valley”.