Debra Oliva was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She attended Northern Illinois University, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting. After graduating, she went on to work in the printing industry for more than a decade.
Drawn to clay since elementary school it was not until she married and moved to Michigan that the opportunity to work with clay presented itself. She began taking classes at an area potter’s guild and continued her education attending over 80 workshops. She has been working in clay for 23 years and has taught adults and children at area art centers.
Her work has been awarded prizes in several national and international shows, and was selected for inclusion in Lark Books 500 Pitchers and the upcoming 500 Teapots II. She maintains a studio in her Okemos, Michigan home and sells her work through galleries and group ceramic shows.