Sublime sculptures

By Daniella Judge

Chiselling stone and bronze, Debbie Templeton-Page’s sculptural journey has progressed for more than two decades.

“I was always arty as a young person, but it was when I was searching for the meaning of life that I became a sculptor.” Her friend introduced her to a sculpting lesson, and the fascination was instant. Late into the evening, she still held a chisel in her hand. She found herself teaching those classes a few years later.
After five years of sculpting, Debbie set off to the sculptors’ Mecca, Italy, where she enrolled in resident sculpting classes. Although the stone differed slightly from New Zealand stone, Debbie felt, in hindsight, that New Zealand was as good a place as any to hone her sculpting skills. “I am pleased I went to Italy, but you don’t have to go overseas to pursue your passion; you can cultivate it in your homeland.”
Debbie’s artistic medium repertoire spans metals, glass, stone, clay, bronze, and more. Among these, her favourite medium is stone, and she believes the larger, the better.
People serve as Debbie’s greatest muse. She began by making realistic human-form sculptures but later found joy in crafting abstract. These creations invite viewers to interpret the sculptures in their unique way and forge a personal connection.
“The more you step back and allow the viewer to use their imagination, the more impactful the piece,” she says.


Upon completing a piece, Debbie experiences a fleeting joy. Quickly, she becomes critical of the work before her. It’s only with time and distance, many years later, that she can truly appreciate her creations.
Her enthusiasm for public sculptures remains unwavering. Debbie’s favourite public sculpture, commissioned in 2008, is a bluestone piece titled ‘BRONZE’, situated at the top of Timaru’s main street, overlooking Caroline Bay.
In her own words, “When you develop a passion for something, nothing can stop you.”
Debbie is currently showcasing her art alongside Matthew Williams at Form Gallery until 28 November.

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