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MEET THE ARTIST
Debi Allison began her interest in arts and crafts as a young girl. She loved to draw and would spend most of her free time drawing or doing some sort of craft with her mother. Her favorite time of the year was Christmas, when she and her mother would spend time making beaded stockings or Christmas ornaments. By the time Debi was in Junior High School her interest had shifted to water colors and oil paintings.
She participated in a few local art shows and quickly came to know the meaning of "Starving Artist". It was then that she realized that if she wanted to make money she may need to change her focus to something more functional rather than decorative. She decided that she would try jewelry. She did very well with her jewelry until the gold craze hit back in the late 70's.
Using a recipe on the side of a Morton Salt box, Debi decided to change her craft once again. She created baskets, plaques and Christmas ornaments to sell at her shows. It had always been a dream of hers to have a shop in Gatlinburg so in 1983, she took the leap and moved to Tennessee where she set up shop at the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort. It was at Ober Gatlinburg that she met her husband Glenn who had a cart selling his Calligraphy.
Although Debi enjoyed making all of the different products from bread dough, it was her ornaments that she enjoyed the most. She decided to participate in the Gatlinburg Craft Fair that year with just ornaments to test how well they might sell on their own. It proved to be a smart move: The first day, Debi sold more than she normally did during the course of a whole show.
While at that show, the manager from Perimeter Mall in Atlanta, Georgia approached Debi about setting up a cart in the mall at Christmas. Debi and Glenn decided they would try it. Glenn drove to Atlanta while Debi stayed in Tennessee making the ornaments. Glenn would drive home once a week to pick up the ornaments and turn around the same night and drive back to Atlanta. They continued to work carts at Christmas for the next fifteen years.
In 1989, Debi was feeling "burnt" out with her ornaments and decided to go to School for interior Decorating. She bought a Decorating Den Franchise and began her Decorating Business in Sevierville, Tennessee. During the 10 year course of her Decorating Career, her work was featured in more than 20 national publications and on the cover of at least five magazines such as "Victorian Home", "Victorian Lifestyle" and "Windows & Walls" just to name a few. Even though she enjoyed what she was doing, the stress of dealing with the workrooms in the decorating industry was not worth what she was making.
After 10 years of decorating, Debi and her husband Glenn decided to move out of the Gatlinburg-Sevierville area to the quiet little town of Buena Vista. Debi went back to her ornaments full time and in 2003 they decided to build their web site. Their web site has taken on many changes but her style and flare for design are evident in every piece she creates.
You can watch Debi create some of her more simplistic ornaments in some of her other videos on YouTube.