Debbie Alley is #MadeForKnoxville.
Debbie is not afraid to ask, “What if…?” In fact, this question has allowed her imagination and artistic mind to run wild with the ideas of eco-printing and its possibilities as fine, contemporary art.
Inspired by her grandmother as a little girl, Debbie learned early on to nurture her artistic attributes–possibly even more important, she learned to push boundaries. Thankfully Debbie took those lessons to heart, and today she creates beautiful, eco-print art.
She still asks, “What if…?” and that question guides her to new aspects of herself, her unique art and her plans for the future.
“So many ideas that nurture my creative spirit and cause me to stir before dawn, making each day an exciting journey to embrace, and as different as each of the prints I produce.”
In Their Own Words..
I love being an artist-entrepreneur. I enjoy thinking like an entrepreneur, being strategic and efficient, creating marketing strategies, and developing a product launch with branding and packaging. That is the stuff that awakens me at 3:00 am, inspired and anxious to start the new day.
My artistic journey began as a little girl under the careful guidance of my grandmother, a gifted seamstress. She possessed a high spirit and was living her own artistic life, and I was her much-doted-upon first grandchild and lucky recipient of her gifts.
As far back as I can remember, she would sew beautiful clothes for Easter, piano recitals, proms, weddings – often creating mother-daughter dresses for my mom, sister, and me. Together, we would pick out a dress we loved from a catalog and pore through the pattern books at the cloth store to find the right one. We stretched our imaginations, often combining two patterns to get the right look, and would move throughout the store feeling textures and drapes of the fabrics and trying different color combinations.
We spent many hours in her sewing room. I was learning to sew, but more importantly, I was gaining wisdom about embracing creativity and pushing the boundaries. The time I spent with my grandmother shaped my perspective on the joy of creating, and taught me not to be afraid of asking “What if…?”
My journey has continued as I wander down the fascinating path of eco-printing and my quest to develop fine art from the process. Eco-prints are achieved by sandwiching plant material between sheets of paper or fabric and applying heat and moisture. Textures and colors transfer based upon the ingredients in the dye bath and their effects on the tannin in the petals and leaves.
I am always fascinated by the evolving swirls of color within these one-of-a-kind images. The appearance of this fluid and mysterious process can sometimes fool you into thinking it is watercolor.
The grown-up artist in me would love nothing more than to share the magic of the artistic journey, and to have a studio where I could supply knowledge and the joy of creating while providing hope and inspiration to others. I already have a vision.
A couple of years ago I visited an art show in North Carolina at Marshall High Studios, located in a historic schoolhouse built in 1925. Drenched with sunlight, the plant-filled school rooms held the most wonderful aura for a studio space. From that point forward, I knew that was how I wanted my own studio to feel, with an environment that would be warm, comfortable, and inviting to all.
My big picture dream is to see my eco-prints larger than life in beautiful hotels, homes, and corporate settings, and to offer classes that teach the combined science, art, and nature of the eco-printing process while providing the caring guidance modeled by my grandmother. So many ideas that nurture my creative spirit and cause me to stir before dawn, making each day an exciting journey to embrace, and as different as each of the prints I produce.
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