Born in Catawba County and living in Vale, NC since he was two, Joe Reinhardt is another traditional potter whose gift must have been handed down in his genes from several generations of potters. Even though he was never privileged to actually see his great-grandfather, grandfather, uncles, and cousins make pottery, he did live near the God-Father of Catawba Valley potters, Burlon Craig. As a boy, he was allowed to watch Burlon work and, sometimes even put a piece or two on the wheel himself.
After 33 years working as a brick mason, Joe was victimized by a major heart attack and was told by doctors to slow down. Equipped with two of Craigs glazes, advice to start turning, and wishes of luck, Reinhardt went to work. Joe continues the tradition of digging his own clay, and firing in his original groundhog kiln. But sometimes he bisque-fires large or ornamental pieces in an electric kiln.
Joe's wife, Jill, is a talented artist who sometimes decorates his pieces with designs and scenes before his finishing glaze is applied. Joe's variety of pieces include multiple-faced jugs, jars, baskets, vases, mugs, tea pots, pigs, wig stands, and bird houses. He uses both cobalt and alkaline glazes, and also does swirlware.