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Biglou13

Don Reitz R.i.p

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Nice tribute. My friend, Paul Lewing commented that he was the last of the Mount Rushmore group in Clay.  I met Don Reitz about 1967 or 68 in Phila. when he was demonstrating at Tyler School of Art. He wedged about a 30-40 lb piece of clay o the floor and started throwing. It was full of air bubbles. He sliced them up and filled them with clay and continued throwing telling stories. He told of his days working as a butcher in Kuntztown, Pa. and sculpting the ground beef in the cooler windows.  He was a great teacher. in Portland I watched him do a giant Sumi Brush demo at NCECA outside in front of a huge crowd  . I ran into him again in Wisconsin when I was with fellow grad students and we were looking for the Soldner lecture at NCECA. We ran into Don who I recognized, and he graciously acted like he remembered me and took us into the lecture. Met him several more times including his place in Sedona when he hosted a big BBQ for the Soviet Artists group and those who hosted them and for friends. I always enjoyed his lectures . His passion shot through the room. It was a great time. He was really an inspiring leader in his generation of Ceramic Artists.

 

Marcia

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Never met the man, never have seen any of his pots in person, but knew his work and his face well. I first found out about him in the first Penland Crafts book. Fabulous section of him throwing a multiple piece form. Since then I tried to keep up with what he was doing, and where he was working.

 

 

Sad Sad loss for the Ceramics world as so many others the last few years.

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I was a student of Don's, in '82, at UW-Madison. (Normally they didn't let freshmen into his classses but I was persistent.) 

 

Don was a great guy. He had a lot of enthusiasm for making pots. Some of the grad students would help him fire his big pots, out at his farm, on the weekends. The students always came away with great stories and lots of excitement. 

 

There was a lot positive energy, in the crafts scene, back then. (An "anything is possible" mentality.) Chilhuly was pushing the boundaries at Pilchuck and Don was pushing the boundaries in Madison. 

 

He will be missed.

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Great video,  I especially like watching his hands work they reminded me of my dad's hands, hard working with lots of character.  I met Don twice once at school he was a friend of my professor, he was suppose to give some demo's but a personal problem had come up at home.  Then I met him again at NCECA and he pretended that he remembered me also.    Denice

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Marcia's description fits my experiences with Don also.  As a young potter I took a couple of workshops with him.  He was a true "force of nature".  Blew me away.  While not a student of him directly... I studied his work (I salt fired for a good while) ...and consider him an important influence on me.

 

Sad.............. but so it comes to us all.  Thanks for the things you gave me, Don.  Say "hi" to all the others there with ya'.

 

The ceramic community has lost a lot of important people this year.  I lke the Mt. Rushmore analogy.

 

best,

 

......................john

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He came here to Amarillo a few short months ago.  I was happy to hear him speak and to see his work in person.  Truly a loss.  I got to meet Davis, Voulkos and Soldner as well a few years before each one passed.  The world gets a little more dull with every passing of one of my heros.  :-\ 

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I remember his story from one slide show of his salt kiln where he had finished loading, and bricking up the door. Then he heard a cat meow from inside the kiln. He couldn't coax it out. His young kids were standing by, and he unblocked the kiln door, and some of the pots to get the cat out of there. (picture of the cat).

 

I loved his stories. He was a great story teller.

 

Marcia

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Wonderful write up from NY Times . . .

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/arts/design/don-reitz-who-made-dirt-and-salt-into-art-dies-at-84.html?emc=edit_tnt_20140329&nlid=57409462&tntemail0=y&_r=0

 

“Here I am, 78 years old, working in mud,†he said in a 2008 interview. “And people pay me for it.â€

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