Stephen was an artist who changed contemporary wood turning in the 20th century. He used a lathe to turn pieces of wood at a scale that had never been attempted before. He pioneered the use of a truck axle lathe. He then refashioned these turnings by cutting them apart and reassembling them: forming pieces that were "impossible" to make. His approach to wood working transformed either directly or indirectly a generation of wood workers.
Stephen was recognised internationally by collectors, educators, and professional craft organisations. He wrote several books on the topics of turning and design and is referred to as “one of Canada's most accomplished, skilled and celebrated woodworkers”.
He immigrated to Canada in 1968 to be a teacher at Sheridan College. In 1985, he received the Ontario Craft Council’s John Mather Award. In 2006 the American Association of Woodturners awarded him its first lifetime professional achievement award and exhibition. He exhibited his work in more than 200 solo and group exhibitions across Canada, the US, England, and Australia. He lectured or guest lectured at more than 40 institutions.