Originally from a small community called St.Shotts, Debbie Lee moved to St. John’s in the late 70’s to attend St. Clare’s School of Nursing, where she became a Registered Nurse. Following her marriage in the late 80’s Debbie moved to Goulds with her husband, where they raised three wonderful daughters. In 2017, after 38 plus years of work as a RN, she took a completely different career path- craft. Debbie’s passion to create was first developed through watching her Mom, who practices many forms of craft such as knitting, quilting and rug hooking. Once she had decided on this new direction Debbie enrolled in the Textiles: Craft & Apparel Design program offered by College of the North Atlantic.
Debbie’s work is inspired by family, nature, and life experiences. Through her work she pays homage to where she came from, her life experiences and to those who have influenced her life. Her focus as an artist is in knit, as well as felting, embroidery and quilting techniques.
Debbie is the winner of the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Award for most cohesive body of work. This award is graciously donated by the Craft Council for the students that excel themselves in creating a consistent body work and development of an exhibition.
Through my work as a multidisciplinary artist, I want to build- connections and to invoke emotion. I wish to get people talking about a subject matter and to see the bigger picture.
Craft has a significant relationship with our society and has been part of our culture for hundreds of years. As stated by artist Betsy Greer , who popularized the term craftivism, “As craftivists, we are also permission-givers, helping to breathe life into artistic practices that some people may think are obsolete; we show relevancy and poignancy”
I want my work to matter. Taking my craft in this direction allows it to be a positive force and gives me permission to use my work as my voice for social and environmental issues.
The title for my body of work is Ebb and Flow, cancer patients and their journey through the eyes of their nurse. A cancer diagnosis is a reality of daily life. Our society has a significant relationship with cancer, in both personal and public aspects. My work examines the cancer journey. Using my experiences as a registered nurse I offer a look at the impact that cancer has on a patient, their loved ones, and the world around them. Having worked as an Oncology nurse for more than twenty-five years in my previous working life, I have firsthand knowledge of the emotional toll that cancer has on a person.
The primary textile I have chosen is wool, paying very close attention to the felted medium. My work includes hand dyeing, both hand and machine knitting as well as hand and machine embroidery and sewing techniques.
This body of work has become my own journey and my own growth. I feel, I have moved from being a student to an emerging artist.