Deborah Rael-Buckley was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1953, but she did not begin taking courses in art history at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque until 1987. She transferred to the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), where she was awarded the McNee Foundation Award, an Honors College award, and took a degree with honors in the history of art and architecture in 1994, graduating Phi Beta Kappa.
After a move to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she began taking several introductory courses in studio arts and uncovered a profound interest in ceramics and sculpture, and transferred to the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UW-M). In 1996 she took a three-month course of study abroad in Cortona, Italy, concentrating on bronze casting and ceramic sculpture. She was adjunct faculty from 1997-2000, teaching ceramics, methods, and ceramics history. In 2000 she was awarded her MFA by UW-M, along the way she was awarded the Layton Special Achievement Award, the AOP Fellowship, and the Layton Graduate Fellowship.
Rael-Buckley has exhibited nationally and internationally most recently in Brussels, Belgium where she lived and worked for two years. While in Brussels she exhibited at Galerie 94 and had her work published in Ceramica 02: A Guide to Belgian Ceramics (Editions Armature Uitvegerij, 2002). Other published works include numerous articles in Ceramic Art and Perception (Sydney, Australia), Ceramics Monthly, Santa Fean Magazine, Taos News Tempo Magazine, American Craft, and Clay Times Magazines, Hispanic Magazine, New Mexico Magazine, and Southwest Art Magazine.
She returned to her native New Mexico in 2003. When she participated in her first Contemporary Hispanic Market, she was awarded Best in Show and Best in Ceramics. Her piece entitled “Revelation” was shown in Originals, 2005; an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, N.M. Public collections include the State of New Mexico, The University of New Mexico, The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, Illinois, The National Hispanic Cultural Center Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Albuquerque Museum.
In 2013 she was invited by the curator of the Harwood Museum in Taos, NM to create a sculpture for the Curator’s Wall. A time-lapse video of the five-month construction process was a part of that installation. In 2015, she was invited to speak at TEDxABQ at the Albuquerque Conventon Center. Her work is also part of several important private collections of contemporary American Ceramics, including the Sara and David Lieberman collection, and the Sandy Besser Collection. She lives and works in Taos, NM where she has her studio.
Her work can be seen privately in her studio in Taos by appointment.