Here I am standing in front of the large wood burning kiln at Reitz Ranch. This was the former home and studio of the well known ceramic artist Don Reitz.
I was fortunate to have known Don, in the casual way that clay artists see each other and talk shop.We both lived in the Verde valley for a long time and our paths would cross. He was a very funny man and really liked conversation. I took a workshop from him years ago, and as the wheel was turning, Don was talking.Neither stopped for long. He liked to work Big.He was probably best known for his salt and wood firings.Hence these kilns.
He can be credited as taking ceramics from the world of craft into fine art, along with his peers, such as Paul Soldner, Peter Voulkas, Dora DeLarios, and Michael Frimkess. I knew the latter two artists from my days in Venice, California.
Now Don's legend lives on. Another ceramicist, Sheryl Leigh Devault and her husband, Ted, have bought the ranch and intend to continue the world of clay to those who are interested. I feel Don would like this concept.