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Debra Steidel, Porcelain Artist

Ilkin Deniz

In 1974, at the age of 18, Steidel purchased her first potter’s wheel that she still uses to this day to create her vessels. During the early stages of her artistic career, Debra focused solely on the form of the vessel. Her attention to detail and appreciation for handling the delicate wet clay grew out of diligence revered for her craft, hypnotized by the shrewd allure of the wheel.

 Over the years, Steidel gained a confident familiarity with the throwing process, said to be the most important aspect of a ceramic piece. She would perfect the techniques essential to throwing: centering her medium, opening the clay, and giving shape to the vessel with the graceful application of pressure and water. Yet Debra was never content as only a potter.        

 In the early 1990’s, Steidel shifted her focus to ceramic sculpture. Sculpting presented Debra with such a different view of ceramics, replacing the meticulously concentrated process of the wheel with a free flowing, creative approach that channeled her unconscious. Steidel’s clay sketching began with inspiration from sea forms such as conch shells, sea urchins and marine algae but then began to rapidly evolve.

 The natural beauty of the sea forms served as a basis to capture the intricacy of nature into eccentric porcelain shapes, witnessed in such signature Steidel work as the Ocean Whisper Series. The challenge now for Debra was to forge a balanced relationship between the forms of her vessels and the ornamentation of her sculptures. That relationship would of course be embodied within the lidded vessel that Debra Steidel has become synonymous with.

 Yet the name Steidel is also closely associated with the mesmerizing crystalline glaze. Throughout her entire career, Debra always enjoyed the experimentation that is unquestionably fundamental to her craft but in her pursuit of perfecting the various crystalline glazes, her fortitude was pushed to new limits. In 2003, Debra moved to the lush Texas Hill country, just Southwest of the Texas capital of Austin. It was in her new surroundings that her pursuit to create the most remarkable glazes turned into an obsession. For Debra, the vividness of the glaze was equally important to the organic formation of each unique crystal as to maintain a harmonious composition of the overall piece. Thus, the recipes of her glazes have taken years, in some cases decades, to perfect.     

 Currently, Debra Steidel is exhibiting her work in art galleries across the United States and United Kingdom. She has won numerous prestigious awards for her artwork. Debra’s self-taught style is ever-present in her unorthodox porcelain sculptures. She also continually strives to broaden her artistic vision by incorporating new techniques and styles such as the relief carvings introduced to her vessels in late 2012 with her Foliage Series. Furthermore, in 2014, Steidel introduced a line of daring luxury lifestyle designs starting with her Decorative Bowls Collection, a bold leap into Home Décor. Regardless of where Debra Steidel applies her expertise, it is sure to encompass the qualities of balance, novelty, and wonder.



Shadow Dancer

9" x 18.5"


Soul Mates

7" x 11"


Ocean Whisper

7" x 13"


Harmony & Balance

8" x14"


Paradise Garden

12" x 22"