IMG_3047_2Debra was born in Calgary, AB, lived most of her youth in southern Ontario and moved to Winnipeg in 1976. She studied at the University of Winnipeg and Red River College. In 1984, she graduated from RRC with a certificate in Medical Laboratory Technology, and began a long career in Hematology at Health Sciences Centre. In 2003, Debra obtained a “Management Certificate of Achievement” sponsored by HSC in association with RRC.

Her career as a Medical Technologist encompassed a number of specialized areas from coagulation testing, teaching coordinator, laboratory procedural writer, to most interestingly, a senior technologist in the molecular section of Hematopathology. This last area of responsibility generally consisted of performing DNA & RNA testing on leukemia and lymphoma patients…somewhat like CSI!

IMG_5749In December 2005, she started a hobby business, Cheepers Enterprises, with the intent of selling pet products, pet jewelry and raising peach faced lovebirds. This particular species is known for a multitude of color mutations, which coincided nicely with her interest in molecular genetics. Typical of Debra, she dove in with both feet, eventually hand-raising and selling over a 150 birds.

Since it’s inception, the focus of Cheepers Enterprises has shifted and led Debra down a totally different path. In 2006, her attention was peaked during a chance encounter with a vendor at HSC who was selling beaded jewelry. Instead of buying her pet jewelry for resale, as had been her past practice, Debra began making her own from scratch. This led away from the pet-theme and off on another tangent of experimentation in geology and metallurgy.

IMG_6405The amazing variety of available stones and metals sparked a creativity in her that was previously untapped. Starting with a two-hour beading session, Debra expanded her knowledge with classes in wire working, metal clay, metalworking, lost wax casting, mold-making, and a week of wax carving workshops in Albuquerque.

The need to photograph her work has led to an interest in photography and she has taught herself Photoshop. Debra is currently developing and marketing a line of photo cards concurrently with her jewelry-making.

Debra retired from Health Science Centre Hematology in June 2013 and now works part-time to support her passions.

You can find her jewelry at cre8ery in the auxiliary gallery.

You may contact her at 204-837-1333, 204-807-6610 or at deb.at.cheepers@hotmail.ca