Made in Tarrant: Potter’s unexpected college ceramics course leads to a business start-up

Editor’s Note: Made in Tarrant is an occasional small business Q&A series started in Tarrant County. Register your company here.

Ceramics by Garret Pendergrass

WHO? Garret Pendergrass is the founder of Garret Pendergrass Pottery.

When? Garret Pendergrass Pottery started in 2013. Keith Thomson of Firehouse Pottery let him rent a space in the back of his building to get started.

Where? 1307 Hurley Ave. Fort Worth, Texas 76008.

What? Offers small group classes, private lessons, open studio for solo work and pottery firing for potters who work at home without a kiln.


817.705.4685 – Deanna, my scheduling assistant.

[email protected]

IG: @garretpendergrasspottery

FB: garretpendergrasspottery

Garret Pendergrass is the founder of Garret Pendergrass Pottery. He shared his business story with Sandra Sadek from the Fort Worth Report.

Sadek: How did you get into this field?

Pendergrass: My college counselor reminded me that I have one more art elective to graduate from. I really wanted to take a sculpting course, but the course was canceled and everything else was ceramics. I really didn’t want to take the class because I thought it was for old ladies who paint flowers on teapots. To say the least, I was hooked! Right after I graduated, I bought a wheel and was lucky that my professor let me take advanced courses for three more semesters. Since I wasn’t formally enrolled in the ceramics program, he gave me space in the janitor’s closet to learn and hone my skills. I’ve been in clay ever since!

Sadek: What was the most challenging part of starting your own business?

Pendergrass: Overcoming fear and “what if” was definitely the biggest obstacle. When I started working, many people started asking “what is my real job?” It was certainly a blow to the ego. No one, except my wife, thought that being a ceramic artist and instructor outside of academia would be successful.

Sadek: What advice would you give to those who want to start their own business?

Pendergrass: Preparing and learning about your industry is big, but not everything. The most important tip for starting your own business is to be stubborn about success and give yourself grace when you fail. I did a lot of things wrong or quickly realized areas that needed improvement. I used those moments to improve my business practice, instead of beating myself up.

Sadek: Anything else you want to share?

Pendergrass: My instructors and I love to teach a variety of ceramic techniques at all levels. If you want to learn a new skill or find a way to balance your mind, I’d love to see you in the studio. We offer small group courses, private lessons, an open studio for independent work and pottery firing for potters who work at home without a kiln. We also have some very exciting news. In 2023, we will be introducing Raku Shooting to students and the public in Fort Worth! Raku is a fun, fast and creative way of firing ceramics that creates great, unique surface effects.

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