Mosaic artist shared passion with husband

Monday, May 6, 2019 | 6:00 AM

Debbie Maier Jacknin was always artistic.

As a child, she enjoyed drawing and painting, and as an adult, she learned to knit and crochet.

But it wasn’t until her husband took a class and introduced her to the world of glass mosaics that she found her niche.

“The next thing you know, I was doing it with him,” said Jacknin. “Something about the tools made sense in my hand.”

Jacknin was the featured speaker at the April 29 meeting of the Artist Guild at Sweetwater Center for the Arts. Jacknin, who lived in Murrysville and now resides in Kilbuck Township, couldn’t talk about her craft without talking about her husband.

She married Larry Jacknin, an engineer, in 2008, and the two shared a passion of creating stained glass mosaics. They worked together on commissioned pieces and pieces they donated, such as the work “Creation” that hangs in the entrance of Temple David in Monroeville.

“It was one of the things that drew us together,” said Jacknin. “Some pieces were my idea, some were his. We bounced ideas off each other. I tend to be way more self critical while he would look at (pieces) we made like, ‘This is great!’”

Surrounded by his and Jacknin’s children, Larry, formerly of Sewickley, died in 2016 from complications of ALS.

Jacknin didn’t want to stay away from the passion she shared with her husband.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve poured my feelings into a piece. Or even getting rid of feeling, even if only for a few moments of getting into that zone,” said Jacknin, who worked as a Realtor and as an education coordinator for Joann Fabrics.

With daughters Jenn and Jacklyn, in May 2017, she opened Songbird Artistry, a shop with space for classes and workshops that is located across from Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.

When she isn’t working in the shop, Jacknin continues to create mosaics, incorporating everything from her grandmother’s broken glassware to stones to seashells.

One of her favorite pieces hangs in her home and features a broken seashell.

“(Larry’s) body was broken, but broken can still be beautiful,” she said. “He freed me to be where I am today.”

To view more of Jacknin’s work, visit www.mosaicglass