Meet Debra Broz! Debra collects and deconstructs secondhand ceramic kitsch figurings, then combines them into reimagined versions of their former selves. Using ceramics restoration techniques, she effaces history by creating seamless reconstructions that are part humor, part mad science, and part tender sentimentality for the rural Midwest where she grew up. In preparation for her upcoming Exhibition EARTHLY/UNEARTHLY alongside Tesla Kawakami, we recently visited Debra’s studio.

on view 5/2 through June 30th

3 essential things in your studio?
1. Q-tips : possibly the best tool ever
2. Space heater : I just moved to a new studio which I love, but it is cold!
3. Crocs : I like to do a Mr. Rogers and put my comfy shoes on once I get into the studio

Current internet rabbit-hole?
I recently learned about bezoars… which is [grossness alert] a ball-shaped object that sometimes forms inside the stomach of a human or animal made from indigestible things like fruit skins, hair, etc. The thing is, a lot of them look like weird beautiful marbles or stones! Some are even polished and set into jewelry. They’re so weird.
For a non-gross thing: I also can’t stop looking at the instagram account @animalsgoinggoblinmode. It’s hilarious!

Best part of the day?
When it’s been cloudy most of the day and the sun comes in the studio windows… that’s a tie with coming home and seeing my dog, Ellie (she’s a black lab/shepherd mix)

Can’t stop making?
I recently started making drawings with porcelain paints on plates from the thrift store. It’s been something I do at home, and try not to be precious about the outcome so it’s been a really fun thing to do outside of my regular studio work.

Do you have a creative routine or daily ritual?
I am very much a creature of habit, so I have a pretty consistent structure to my days. I get up pretty early, usually around 7 and make coffee in my french press. I drink the coffee while I catch up on social media and email, then walk my dog. I head to the studio around 10. Virtually every morning starts exactly this way.

How does your current city influence your work?
I’m pretty new to Seattle (almost 2 years) and I’m still learning how this city is influencing my work. Since a big part of what I do is hunting for figurines in thrift stores, I’ve been learning about the different stores and finding the ones I like the most. I’ve had a lot of great finds at Seattle area thrift stores, which makes me happy because I prefer to find my materials in the wild instead of buying from Ebay. There’s so much more serendipity in finding something you didn’t know that you were looking for.

Art supply/tool you can’t live without?
Apoxie Sculpt (the 2-part sculpting compound I use to combine ceramics) is probably number one, but there’s all these other essential tools, like wooden popsicle sticks, toothpicks, blue tape, these particular small cups I love for paint-mixing, and this one random plastic sculpting tool that I absolutely love… there’s so many things! It’s hard to pick just one.