Ooley's design process includes research and experimentation influenced by the self-sufficiency learned from her rural upbringing



Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Deanna Ooley spent her early years in a rural coal mining and farming town. This small community's taste ran toward basketball along with self reliance. This influenced her art, and outlook towards pragmatism and simplicity.

Ooley’s parents were highly supportive, buying numerous supplies and encouraging her to experiment with different media. Her father, Jim, was a welder and her mother, Lynne, a bank employee. Both areas of finance and metal skills would reveal themselves in Ooley’s later work.

Ooley began studies at the University of North Texas (UNT) working under metal sculptor, Richard Davis, with help from bronze expert David Iles. Ooley earned two degrees from the University of North Texas- a BFA in Sculpture and a BBA in Marketing with a concentration in research.

She spent years with the Dallas Museum of Art in positions that ranged from volunteer to Membership Assistant. In 2003, she was hired by the Nasher Sculpture Center to serve as Membership Manager for this internationally known start-up. But working for a start-up organization in a public facing position, while valuable experience, was not her ultimate career goal. She wanted to be an instructor and help others reach their potential.

Ooley returned to the University of North Texas to earn her Masters in Fine Art under the tutelage of Ana Lopez and master enamelist, Harlan Butt in 2011.  She has been creating courses and teaching adults for the last 9 years and has recently formed a non-profit, Thoughtful Hands, which promotes artists working with sustainable materials and processes. 

Due to her love of design and education, she began earning an M.Ed. in Instructional Design and Technology. She believes the future of training and adult education lies with using technology to individualize an personalize learning tracks.

What Ooley has Achieved

  • Founded non-profit arts organization

  • Wrote winning Enamelist Society grant

  • Two person show at the Appalachian Center for Craft

  • Fulbright finalist

  • UNT scholarships

  • In traveling show from Metals Museum

  • Article in Society of North American Goldsmith technical journal

  • Published articles