Garrett DeLooze | Episode 236
Garrett DeLooze is a wood fire potter from Annapolis, Maryland, currently working in Gishen, Indiana. Garrett received his BFA from Frostburg State University in 2012 and stayed an extra year to be the ceramic lab tech/teaching assistant. The following year Garrett was a production potter for a center helping adults with developmental disabilities gain employment through a day program. At the beginning of 2015, Garrett moved to Goshen, Indiana to be Justin Rothshank’s assistant.
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What is the most trouble you have gotten into with the problems of wood firing?
Well we had the fire department called on us once when I was in college. We notified the university police department about the firing and they decided not to call anyone thinking that it wouldn’t be noticed. Some one saw the smoke off the highway and stopped at the local volunteer fire department and they decided to send off three or four engines and a couple of brush trucks to try and find this fire and they got stuck on a little one lane dirt road that winded through the woods. It took four or five hours for the massive trucks to back up through there while we were trying to finish up our wood firing. They did not shut us down but that was definitely an experience.
Are you supposed to inform the local fire authorities when you do a wood firing?
You want to especially if it’s a drought sort of situation or if it’s in an area prone to brush fires because if anyone sees smoke in the middle of the woods then they are going to call the fire department right away.
What are three things you couldn’t live without as a potter?
As a potter my wheel is my biggest tool. I have had it since I graduated. I got it as a graduation gift after college. I have a tool from Troy that I use for ninety percent of my forms in one way or another. And I say my pug mill as the third thing. I have broken my wrist a few times trying to wedge hundreds of pounds of clay and it takes its toll on my wrist way too much. So those are the three things I would have to have as a potter.
If you could do a dual show with any potter in the world who would you want to do a dual show with?
That is extremely tough. I would have to say it would have to be Jack Troy out of everyone. Jack was the first person to really get me into wood firing with his book. I did my first wood firing and loved it but didn’t know anything about it. Then I found his book in my university’s library and basically taught myself how to wood fire through it, as best I could at least. Just having that kind of background and his inspiration to me it would be an honor to have him as a person to have a show with. It’s someone as a potter that I have looked up to for many, many years.
What is a motto or advice that you live by?
For me as someone who has to make pots as a living, it was something Justin told me the first time I ever really worked with him and it was: Make more pots than you ever think you’ll sell. It’s just the work ethic behind it. You need to continually work and make new things to get your name out there and also to get the pots out there.
Do you ever get nervous about the response people have to your work?
I don’t think anyone can be human without getting nervous or wonder what people think about what they do. You are dedicating your life to this. I have dedicated the last five years of my life to this and I plan on dedicating the next fifty, sixty, or seventy years to it. So there is a part of me that has to be conscious of what others think of my work because they are the clientele as well. I mean, if people don’t like your work it is never going to sell but at the same time you have to keep them in the back of your head and in the forefront keep your own ideas and what you want to accomplish as a potter and as an artist.
What is your favorite music to work by?
I have two different genres that I work with. I listen to a lot of hip-hop and rap just growing up in Baltimore and that sort of environment. On the other side of the coin I listen to a lot of folk music that’s more gentle and soothing. Depending on how I am feeling during the day and what sort of forms I am making.