Deborah's interest in sculpture was kindled by her secondary school art teacher, and later encouraged by several mentors during her four years at the Vancouver School of Art.
After graduating in 1973, she and a dozen other art students tried their hand at carving jade in one of the first studios of this kind in Vancouver. Some extraordinary pieces were produced at New World Jade over the next two years. Since the mid-seventies, a number of these pioneers have established their own studios and have honed their skills as jade sculptors.
The work was shown with wide acclaim across Canada and the US. This was indeed an art-form the public had never seen before.