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Debra Zelenak

My studio is at Cottonwood Center for the Arts, Studio 217. One can say I’m a bit of a nomad. I was born in Muncie, Indiana and moved around a lot as a child. After graduation from high school in Riverton, Wyoming I attended the United States Air Force Academy and began my Air Force career in 1982. All in all I’ve traveled the globe and lived in over twenty-one different locations but Wyoming has always felt like home. I retired from the Air Force/Air Force Reserves in 2007 after twenty-five years of service and am now pursuing my love of art full time. Somewhere in all the traveling (I don’t remember where or when) I fell in love with the art of decoys, particularly the realistic decorative ones that look like they can fly away. I always wanted to try wood carving so in 2000 I took my first wood carving class, a decorative decoy. I was hooked. Since then I’ve been carving and recently expanded my practice to include stone carving and bronze sculpture. Birds are a common theme in my art work. I wouldn’t call myself a birder but I love watching birds. You’ll always find feeders in my yard and watching the bird’s antics over my morning cup of tea is the perfect way to start any day. Nothing surpasses the grace and beauty of birds. The vast variety of birds provide an endless supply of subjects. Observation is the key to capturing their personality which I attempt with each of my carvings whether it is one of my realistic or interpretative style sculptures.

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