Menu

Historic Hernando Preservation Society

Member Highlight: Deborah Charlow

By Mary J. Moses

When one meets Deborah, one becomes aware that Deborah, “Debbie”, is a woman who is beautiful, confident and educated. She was born in Bayonne New Jersey, but raised in Point Pleasant on the Jersey Shore. She grew up as a child who loved the arts, and by age eleven already began forming her foundation in that area. As a small child, Debbie loved to dress up, and was already displaying her artistic abilities. Later, she acquired a degree in Speech and Drama with a focus on design.

Debbie has two sons and one daughter. She began sewing for them because she found what was available in stores was not always what she wanted for her children. She stated she found that design interested and excited her imagination. It was like putting together pieces of a puzzle. Design, fabric, even common items found in everyday life began to fuel and ignite her creativity.

Debbie first came to Historic Hernando Preservation Society with a desire to see the potential unlocked for the historic buildings in our area. She wants to raise an awareness of their design and importance, and make Hernando County a place people want to visit. Her natural love and respect of history make Debbie the steadfast researcher that she is. She recognizes the importance of preserving our rich history for future generations.

The Society for Creative Anachronism has played an important role in Debbie’s life. Here she met people dedicated to history, people who were willing to do the arduous research required to bring the results of their research to a higher level. SCA’s Arts and Science competitions requires research likened to that of a doctrinal level. Debbie learned from the research, and honed her skills to create beautiful pieces.

Debbie is extremely humble concerning her sewn creations and is quick to point out that they “are not perfect.” Little does she realize that the results of her labor are beautiful and captivating. When asked to describe some of her favorite creations, she mentioned a 1635 gown created in black and yellow. It boasts a fitted waist and bodice and is based on a VanDyke painting. Another of her favorites is a navy blue Civil War outfit. It has a pagoda sleeved jacket with a Garabaldi blouse. She even created a parasol to match. 

Debbie takes a lot of pride in being period correct, and although today's fabrics are not the same as the wool, silk, linen and cotton of yesteryear, she works diligently to find something as close to original as possible. Looking at the world through Debbie’s eyes requires something of a knack. She can look at an ordinary beach hat and unleash it’s potential as a period bonnet.

She draws much of her imagination from her extensive collection of books ranging from the Roman period through the 1920’s. Not only does Debbie enjoy creating, she also loves to teach. She dreams of inspiring creativity in others, and touching them in a way that brings dimension to the work of the person she is teaching. Debbie has been a substitute teacher for nearly 27 years and she has learned the patience and love of teaching. Substituting afforded her the flexibility to raise her family, and pursue other interests.

Debbie and her husband live in a country setting. Although it is far from the convenience of fabric and craft stores, it offers her the opportunity to enjoy her garden. She says that in her garden, she is able to enjoy some "happy accidents", which cause her to take pause and enjoy the beauty of it all. I would imagine it is here where she dreams of the dress she is creating to wear to her nieces upcoming wedding. Her cat, Mr. Peanut, a black and white tuxedo clad gentleman, can sometimes be found lounging lazily in her lap. Creativity and love of beauty come together to spin the dreams of Debbie’s future creations.

Go Back

Stay Informed

Join the Mailing List
Enter your name and email address below:
Name:
Email:
Subscribe Unsubscribe