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About Deborah

Look Closer
The life of an artist taking inspiration from nature

The Artist

Botanical artist, print maker, fabric designer, natural historian, ecological activist

Deborah has spent many years living amongst the wild buttongrass plains and deep rainforests of Tasmania, collecting specimens (sustainably and with permissions) to inspire her art and design creations.

Her specimen collection has grown over the years into a significant archive of immense beauty forming a unique record of Tasmania’s botanical heritage, including many threatened and endangered species. 

Deborah is exploring fashion and fabric design to bring awareness to important cross cultural, historical and conservation issues.

She is a graduate from Canberra School of Arts (1988) with a Bachelor Degree in Visual Arts, Printmaking.

You are invited to learn more about the environment, methods, and artworks. Look closer…

Inspired Designs

The Churchill Fellowship

International Research Scholarship
Herbarium label

Deborah was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, Australia’s most prestigious international research scholarship.

This enabled her to travel to Europe to access herbarium materials from some of the first western scientific expeditions to Tasmania. 

She explored botanical specimens and print collections located in Paris, Florence, Le Havre and Kew, and from the d’Entrecasteaux and Baudin expeditions to Tasmania. Her experience is reflected in her contemporary cultural motifs and Australian designs.

Curious Plants

Connections

A link to history

DW at Herbarium showing archival boxes

Deborah’s style is influenced by the botanical collections of the 1792 French d’Entrecasteaux Scientific Expedition to southern Tasmania, including naturalist JJH Labillardiere who authored Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen – the first published work on the flora of Australia.

She explores the wild botany of Tasmania, maintaining an extensive pressed plant herbarium and a plant print collection, digitised to create innovative contemporary Australian designs for fashion and architectural canvasses.

A sense of place

Tasmania is a botanical paradise. It harbours strange species from the Jurassic era, and deep rainforests which contain some of the world’s oldest and largest living plants.

Deborah’s art is deeply entrenched in this botany: precious and threatened native orchids, wild buttongrass plant communities and deep rainforests.

She transforms them into gorgeous works of art on paper and beautiful silks, chiffon and linen.

Ecological activism

Scene of Buttongrass and water

Beginning with her involvement in the successful campaign to protect the historic and wild Recherche Bay in far south Tasmania – where the first French expeditions set their base – Deborah actively campaigns for the conservation and appreciation of wild botanical sites.

Biological linkages

Deborah works with ecology scientists, enthusiasts, activists and artists. She volunteers at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens with the Orchid Conservation program. Helping with the laboratory germination, growth and nurturing of endangered species, this ensures the rejuvenation and ongoing liability of these significant plant species in the wild.

In the media

Appearances and features

  • Gardening Australia
  • ‘Sartorial Naturalist’ film
  • ABC Radio & Online
  • Liverpool World Museum
  • Tasmanian Geographic

Major projects

Overview of significant works

FLOW Exhibition

My work will be on display as part of FLOW – a collaborative exhibition featuring ten Huon Valley and Launceston artists, presented by Huon Valley

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