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Published: Friday, 3/14/2003

Artist worked in multiple media

Stephanie J. Janas, 89, a Toledo artist known for her work with ceramics, glassblowing, and metalsmithing, died Tuesday in the Darlington Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

The family did not know the exact cause of death.

“She was always interested in art as a young girl,” said her sister Katherine Paluszak. “She loved it and she said it was the unhappiest thing in her life when she had to quit going to the [Toledo Museum of Art].”

Mrs. Janas, of Wallwerth Drive, became ill in recent years and couldn't drive herself to the museum, where she had attended a ceramic workshop, her sister said.

Mrs. Janas received art training at the museum, Bowling Green State University, University of Southern Illinois, and The Museum of Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Mrs. Janas considered herself a serious dabbler in the fine arts and preferred to take a spontaneous approach to her work rather than produce items on request, she said during a 1974 Blade interview. “I do quite a bit of experimenting ... like in glaze testing, so I'm not always sure how my things will turn out,” she said.

Mrs. Janas' artwork has been displayed at many locations since the early 1950s, including the Toledo Artist Club, Defiance College, Canton Art Institute, Butler Art Institute in Youngstown, and Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts in Syracuse, N.Y.

She has permanent ceramic collections in seven states and with the Art in the Embassies Program of the U.S. State Department. Through the program, one of her pieces is on display at an embassy in Africa, said her daughter, Susan Wietnik. “When her pieces were on display, mother was very humble but inwardly, very proud,” Mrs. Wietnik said.

Later in her life, Mrs. Janas also worked with porcelain, her daughter added.

Mrs. Janas was a charter member of The Toledo Potter's Guild and its treasurer for nearly five years. She received awards for her work from the Toledo Museum of Art, Designer Craftsmen of Ohio, the Art Center of Toledo Spectrum Gallery, the Toledo Artists' Club, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

In 1972, she was named Outstanding Craftsman by the Toledo Artists' Club.

In addition to art, Mrs. Janas had a love for baking, her sister said. She received awards from both the Lucas County and Ohio State fairs in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Surviving are her son, David Janas; daughter, Susan Wietnik; sisters, Helen Duhigg, Katherine Paluszak, and Sister Mary Medard; brother, Joe Babiuch; five grandchildren, and three great-granddaughters.

The body will be in the Sujkowski Funeral Home after 2 p.m. today, with a Rosary service at 7 p.m. Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in St. Agnes Church.

The family requests tributes to the Toledo Museum of Art.

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