Debra Rankine was born in Adelaide in 1975, and has lived in Meningie ever since. She has been weaving for 21 years and is honoured to have been taught by Auntie Ellen Trevorrow, a Ngarrindjeri Elder who is well known around the world for her basket weaving. Debra explains that it is a great privilege to have Auntie Ellen’s skills passed down to her and that she feels privileged too that she is now now passing on the knowledge and skills of basket weaving to her daughter who started weaving since she was 5 and to her nieces and nephews.
Debra’s weaving has been exhibited in galleries throughout Australia and internationally. Through weaving, Debra had the opportunity to travel different places and met new people and was able to learn weaving techniques from other cultures. Weaving has taken Debra as far as the USA for the California Indian Basket Weaving Gathering. This was the pinnacle moment where she have decided to pursue weaving and try different approaches and techniques from traditional Ngarrindjeri weaving.
Debra’s current weaving designs are created for innovation, functionality and wearability. Despite its modernity looks, conceptually her works still connect Debra’s spiritually to her Ancestors and to the Land – my home that surrounds me, the place I grow up and the stories. Debra’s homeland is where her inspiration comes from and all the pieces she is working on are intertwined with stories. She is drawn to the symbols and patterns that her Ancestors used to communicate the meaning of all living things. The colours Debra chooses come from the Land and Waters that surround her.