Debra Rapoport, Closets
Debra Rapoport
"I don't know what tribe I'm from, but I feel tribal, because I relate to things that are simple. I'm a very basic person, give me good food, a bed to sleep in, good friends, let me be creative with my hands and my world is perfect." Debra Rapoport

Debra feels that if your eye is open, you can see that any one thing can in fact be many things. "The world is always connecting and overlapping," she says. Debra is a textile designer, visual artist and, as she refers to herself, a "manipulator of materials," who is so accomplished that her work has been exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Debra is passionate about the infinite possibilities of creating with her hands. She likes to use materials that she refers to as mundane, or available. She loves the personal statements made by using such everyday objects, whether in sculpture or on the body. For example, she makes an avant garde boa from a skein of boucle yarn, a highly styled bracelet from cardboard spools, a sensational cape from a pleated skirt and a dramatic collar from tinsel, candles and zippers. "If you can't wear something upside down and backwards, then it's not worth owning... a lampshade can be a vase, a vase can be a lampshade and a lampshade can be a hat." When Debra is shopping, it's always about finding something that is the most unusual and exceptional, "even if it's ugly." She thrives on the soulful and primal stimulation of seeing things and using materials in a novel ways. "If you look at a tribal nation, they are dressing in leaves, they are dressing in natural pigment, they are making basketry and elements, bringing nature in. Something like creating the first container or basket with a folded leaf and it's twig is so direct." Debra reminds us that self expression is a fundamental need, a meditation and a healing process. "When you get up each morning, you are making a determination of who you are that day. The way I see dressing is that you’re building a sculpture. You are using the body as an armature. But the body is also being expressive, it tells you what it wants and guides you what to put on."

If you like Debra, you may also enjoy Natalie Gibson, and Barbara Flood.

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  • Kate

    Lovely!! Very inspiring!

  • Lina

    I like it so much!

  • alenajoy

    Debra, you're utterly gorgeous and so inspring!!!

  • Simone Whipple

    Deborah, I am Simone and old friend of Winder's. (I met you in the 80's in Berkeley.) I got a card from Frankie and have been unable to connect with Winder. I am on FB could you contact me, or email?

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Elisa & Lily