search  current discussion  categories  events - fairs & shows 

showman: don reitz

updated sat 10 nov 01


Bacia Edelman on fri 9 nov 01

Don Reitz has been doing a couple workshops in Madison, WI area.
I had attended two in years past, so did not attend one
recently in Cambridge, Wisconsin. (Everything he is
making in this area will be wood-fired in kilns of Mark
Skudlarek or David Smith.) However, I learned
that he was at the University, where he used to teach, for
4 days this week. I dropped by on the fourth morning
and of course, there were huge forms, a few large covered
jars and a jug, and a large, heavy, slab-built (wall?)
mural on the floor. His strength is amazing and the piece
he was finishing had at least 130 pounds of clay, he said.
A video, done in Prescott, Arizona perhaps 5 or 6 years
ago, was shown while I was there.
He put on a REAL show in that one. With a huge tub of slip and many jars
of colored slip, he produced a SCENE. I believe
that it took place in a little over a half
hour. He painted an Arizona scene on the wall with colored
slips, then dipped a window frame into the tub of slip, mounted
that on the wall over the scene, dipped a sheet or yardage into
the slip, managed to place that as drapery around the window
frame. Stuck to the wall with slip, which made everything very
heavy. Dipped a small table into the slip, painted a plaid table
cloth, dipped a chair to place by the table,
threw on a low Brent wheel while standing,a plate and then a vase.
He pushed the vase tight to the wall,
and painted flowers in colored slips on the wall, coming out of the vase.
The funniest part was that he asked for a volunteer to be in
the scene. A female, who he said was an archaeology student,
came up, got into the tub of slip, helped cover herself (aided
by a woman who came out of the background) with slip. When
she tried to get out, she needed help as her total weight
covered with slip might have doubled. Don helped walk her over
to the chair, where she sat unmoving while he dipped a cowboy
hat in slip and placed it on her head.
There were a few more details, and of course, when it was over,
the woman had to be walked to wherever she showered as she could
hardly move and would have slipped (pun?) on the floor anyway.
I have known Don for decades and he is a consummate actor as
well as wonderful clay artist, but this was the funniest I have
seen. I thought I would try to share it.
Regards, Bacia

Bacia Edelman Madison, Wisconsin