Debra lives in the rural Waikato hamlet of Te Pahu among a vibrant community of musicians, artists and creatives.
She has been making and exhibiting her clay work since the 1990s and was involved in setting up the Artist Collectives ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and ‘LEFT Maker’s Collective’.
For a time she wandered off into the world of academia, emerging with degrees in New Zealand history and a doctorate in crime history and homicide studies. This sparked a deep fascination with narrative and the significance of stories in the way we experience and make sense of the things around us.
Like so many of the characters peopling Debra’s research, she came to appreciate a good alias. When ‘Dr Homicide’ eventually found her way back to the gentle art of clay squishing, she returned to the pottery studio as ‘Little Betty’.
Betty’s creative work continues along the narrative theme, though the stories she tells are of the small, everyday variety. They most often explore relationships between people and nature, playing with convention and infusing the result with a gentle humour.