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Molding New Artists

Debie grew up in Hawaii, and the sea life has always been with her. She and her husband moved to Newberry County for her husband’s job in 2014 but planned to move back to the coast eventually.

Debie noticed a “classes coming soon” sign at NAC. She was creative and had a knack for art but had never tried clay before. She decided to sign up for the pottery class.

Debie was like a sponge. “Right away, I knew it was my thing,” she said. “I had a natural desire to learn everything I could.” Marquerite, the instructor, answered Debie’s questions and explained the practice of clay. Marquerite allowed Debie to shadow her, learning to clean up the studio, mix glazes, and fire the clay using the kiln.

Within a year, Debie started to do shows and sell pieces, with turtles inspired by the beach as her signature artwork. She also started to help by opening the studio on weekends and firing pieces for other students.

Marquerite was instrumental in encouraging Debie to share her craft with others. She asked Debie to set up a demonstration during a downtown Christmas event, where she made a beautiful angel. “Then she talked me into doing workshops,” Debie said. “I had no idea that I would be good at it.”

Debie and her husband still planned to move. Her husband even purchased equipment so that wherever Debie ended up she could continue her artwork. However, when the time came to sign for the new house, Debie couldn’t do it. Debie had found her place.

“The Arts Center is everything,” Debie said. “I’ve never lived anywhere like this before. It’s hard to put into words. It’s not just NAC, it’s Newberry. But it’s even more about the people—that run the center, that take the classes. It’s magical.”

Now, Debie teaches her own handbuilding clay classes and workshops to make angels and nativity scenes. She has taught hundreds of students who are very special to her and says the experience is rewarding and exciting. The people and programs of NAC are creating the next generation of artists and teachers like Debie, thanks to your support!

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