The brothers are developing an international reputation for great teaching, advancing tatting techniques, and making excellent tatting shuttles.
Gary Houtz, shuttle brother #1, has been tatting since 1974. In 1995, he and his brother went to the 42nd IOLI convention and were quickly humbled. Gary realized that he was just beginning to learn to tat. Since then, he has made an effort to learn as much as possible about the art of tatting. In addition to a full time accounting job, he teaches beginning and advanced tatting at San Juan College, Farmington, NM as well as evening classes at Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO. Gary claims he hasn't met a person he can't teach to tat. He also claims he never met a tatter that he can't teach something new. Gary rarely works from a pattern. When he does, he modifies the pattern before he even starts the first round. He and Randy will often work on similar ideas. Invariably, they come up with very different products. As they are both fond of saying, "We tat just alike, only different." A master of creativity, Gary is always challenging other tatters to try new techniques and learn more about tatting.
Randy Houtz, shuttle brother #2, works full time with the San Juan National Forest and makes tatting shuttles as a hobby. He first got involved with tatting when shuttle brother #1 was not satisfied with existing tatting shuttles. With his previous woodworking experience, it wasn't long before Randy had the first shuttle prototype. After years of making shuttles for Gary, Randy finally learned to tat in 1995, partially out of self-defense. Since then, he has gone on to explore the world of tatting design and is always coming up with new ideas (just like his brother!). Although claiming to be "just an intermediate level tatter", Randy knows a lot of techniques that a lot of "experienced" tatters don't. He has been teaching tatting techniques at seminars and guild meetings since 1996.