Born in Savannah, Georgia, Debo Groover has been an artist her entire life. Prior to moving to Tallahassee, where she has lived for the past 20 years, she received a Master’s degree in Fine Arts (MFA) in Ceramics from the University of Georgia, Athens. She had a successful career as a potter and an itinerate teacher traveling throughout the United States. That is until she settled in Monticello, where she met long time partner and new wife, Tina Torrance. Tina is from the beautiful town of Stuart, Florida and holds a Master of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the Florida State University. As a past program director for federal programs, she has a background in advocating for the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in both work and community life.
In 2008, after a long sabbatical from working as a professional artist, Debo created a new technique using polymer clay as a painting and collage material. This technique was formulated and fine-tuned for several years until it was perfected. The public response was so unexpected and overwhelmingly positive, that they joined forces and formed Debortina Studio.
The Studio is the culmination of Debo and Tina merging their creative and business talents. They each have very distinct skill sets and personalities, but work beautifully together in their home based studio. Although Debo is often the face of the studio, Tina is the voice of the studio. Debo likes to say that she just makes the work and travels to the shows while Tina is back at the studio doing the important work: managing the studio, managing the schedule and managing the menagerie of rescue dogs. Debo creates the visible layers of each painting, Tina builds the frames and paints the layers of color underneath.
Together they bounce around creative ideas and come up with new colors and
patterns for the clay along with ideas for the paintings. Tina makes the smaller pieces and together they finish everything else.
Tina cooks, Debo doesn’t. Tina is loud, Debo is not. Tina is organized, Debo is not. Amazingly they don’t drive each other crazy because they acknowledge each other’s strengths and abilities, and Tina reluctantly admits Debo is a true visionary. It is an adventure that keeps them busy and fulfilled but most important, keeps them laughing at, and with each other all day long.
Photo by Inga Finch Photography