Don Reitz is recognized as one of the most important and influential ceramic artists of this century. He is represented in numerous museum collections including the Smithsonian Institute, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the American Craft Museum and the American Museum of Ceramic Art. Born in 1929, he was trained at Alfred University in the early 1960s. Reitz has pursued a life-long investigation of salt and wood firing preserving the energy and freshness of his artistic marks and gestures.
Reitz is a virtuoso who maintains a fine balance between technical mastery and improvisation with surfaces that are complex, dense and aggressive. He taught at the University of Wisconsin from 1962 to 1988 and in 2002 he received one of the highest honors in his field when the American Craft Council awarded him their Gold Medal. A skilled technician, a natural teacher and a fearless improviser, Reitz has served as mentor to thousands of ceramic artists. Reitz is credited with almost single-handedly reviving the neglected technique of salt firing, and through long experimentation developed a range of colors and surface effects previously unknown in salt-firing. His passionate approach to salt and wood firing has been widely influential over the past fifty years and is documented in the book “Don Reitz Clay, Fire, Salt, and Wood” by art scholar Judy Clowes publisher Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin.