Biographical Sketch for Karl Martz
Copyright © 2009 by Eric Martz

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Karl Martz (1912-1997) was a studio potter from 1934-1990, and Professor of Fine Arts at Indiana University, 1945-1977. Karl did graduate work at Ohio State University in the 1930's with Arthur E. Baggs, Carlton Atherton, and Edgar Littlefield, following a B.S. in Chemistry at Indiana University, Bloomington. He apprenticed at the Brown County Pottery (Nashville, Indiana) in 1934-35, after which he set up his own studio, which was in "The Pink House", 1938-42. From 1936-1941, his work was exhibited in the National Ceramic Exhibitions in Syracuse and included in the circuit, and won dozens of prizes in the Indiana State Fair. By 1940, he was invited to include work in national shows in New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia. Karl worked in Chicago during the war, and then joined the faculty of the new Fine Arts Department at Indiana University in 1945, where he taught ceramic art until his retirement in 1977. In 1949, he built the Martz Studio in Nashville, Indiana, where he and his wife Becky Brown Martz made pottery until 1960, when they moved their residence and studio to Bloomington, Indiana. In 1952, Karl participated in the seminal ceramics workshop at Black Mountain College (North Carolina) with Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada, Marguerite Wildenhain, and Soetsu Yanagi. Continuing in the 1950's and later decades, Karl won numerous awards in regional and national shows, and was often a juror. He did two sabbaticals studying traditional Japanese pottery, one in 1963-4 with Yuzo Kondo in Kyoto, and one in 1971-2 with Hiroshi Seto in Mashiko. He published numerous articles in Ceramics Monthly, had works exhibited in two federal government-sponsored shows in Europe, was a founding member, President (1965-6), and Fellow of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), was Bingham Professor of Humanities at the University of Louisville (1975), was given a Distinguished Hoosier Award by the Governor of Indiana (1988), and was a Fellow of the American Craft Council (1991 -- one of the highest honors for a US potter). Examples of his work are in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, the Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Lisbon, the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the IBM Corporation, the Minnesota Museum of Art in St. Paul, the Hall Collection at the University of Nebraska, and several museums in Indiana including the Indiana University Art Museum, the Midwest Museum in Elkhart, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.