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Tea Stack

Don Reitz

American, 1929 - 2014

Tea Stack, 2005

  • Not On View

Salt-fire ceramic vessel

Dimensions: 41 3/4 × 24 × 20 in. (106 × 61 × 50.8 cm)

Gift of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger, 2009.72

The textured surface of this sculpture—sometimes described as an orange peel—is produced by a process known as salt firing. In this technique the kiln door is open during the firing process and salt is tossed inside. The burning salt forms a vapor, which reacts with silica, one of the main ingredients of clay, to make a pebbled brownish glaze. Salt firing, conceived in the Middle Ages, was not well known in the United States in the 1960s. Don Reitz is credited with helping revive the technique in American ceramics. Reitz wrote, “I will never forget the rush I felt when I threw in my first handful of salt it started to snap, crackle and pop, and burned little holes in my shirt.” He became so connected t0 this type of firing that his peers nicknamed him Mr. Salt.

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