Growing up in Long Island NY was and is a fast paced society. Debra, her older brother Dennis and her younger sister Teri, agree that Long Island was a fun place to grow up! Mom (AKA Blossom) was a “stay at home mom” and did a wonderful job bringing up us three kids.
Dad (AKA Don) owned three gas stations… two Shell and a Sinclair Station with the dinosaur out front. No, the dinosaur was not real.
Due to that “Ozzie and Harriet” type scenario…we were really lucky having our mom at home. A fun day out to see Dad, we would get all decked out and go the gas station. Now, visualize this. In those days, a full service gas station was quite competitive. Believe it or not, Dennis and I would wash the cars front and back windows. Teri was little at that time. We would stand to the side of each vehicle with our goofy looking grins.
What were we thinking? What the heck did we look like? Well, long story short…we worked hard for the 25 cent tips we would get then. Back in the day, gas was 39.9 cents a gallon! When the gas crisis came along, owning three stations became very stressful for our Dad.
On Sunday mornings we would all sit down after a great breakfast and copy the comics. We would see who did the best job. Copy talent is the gateway to image transfer. Your brain sees an image and sends a signal toward the pencil.The ultimate result is a carbon copy of the comic itself, if you should be so lucky!
After our family moved to Florida (with the exception of Dennis, who was of age and stayed in NY) Debra began to create jewelry from feathers and wire. As a young teen, Debra supplied multiple stores with her creations.
All of a sudden feather jewelry was seen in Gayfers, Maas Bros and Burdines. She thought she was so totally unique and no one else in the entire universe had ever created these items. Hence her creativity was a bit stifled. In the mid 80’s and early 90’s Debra’s fascination with the clay really evolved. Her training at Crealdi in Winter Park, Winter Park Jewelry Fabrication and UCF helped Debra evolve into the artisan she is today.
Her happiness transformed the clay, along with the human element. Debra created clay butterflies smiling, the banana man in his chariot plus many clay sculptures including wheel thrown vases. Turquoise and different cabochons were pressed in the clay, while it was wet. They were then glued in after the glaze firing.
For several years Debra apprenticed with the late great Judaic Sculptor and Metal smith “Estelle Tasman.” Assisting with mold making, creating ceramic glazes, soldering metal sculptures and sketching to scale, Debra was able to help Estelle with many fabrication techniques.
While Estelle Tasman passed in 1995, her Judaic sculptures and metal work can still be admired in fine art galleries in New York, Colorado and Tucson. Estelle Tasman will always be missed. Estelle’s magnetizing personality and love for Judaism lives on in her sculptures.
During a wonderful trip to the wine country in Napa Valley with her handsome husband Bruce, a large bucket of turquoise stones took Debra’s interest. She brought back with her fond memories of a relaxing vacation with her honey and a large amount of turquoise stones. Debra couldn’t wait to cut, shape and polish the stones.
Her husband mentioned that “At some point you might need to make the choice between working with the clay or jewelry.” Once again, he was right. Lots of years of classes, work shops and tons of fabrication evolved a wonderful transition regarding a love for metal and stones.
Debra’s clay expertise was a real asset and now she transforms wax models into mini sculptures casted in silver and gold. She works diligently doing jewelry repairs, custom orders and increasing her inventory at her North Tampa studio.
First and foremost, Debra firmly believes it’s important to be the best friend to her wonderful husband. As a proud mother of her only son Chad, and a grandmother of five adorable grand children, Debra still finds time for jewelry fabrication!