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Karl Martz

Biography to Display: 

1912 Born, Columbus, Ohio

1997 Died


1931, 1933-34, 1939 Ohio State University Arthur Baggs and Carlton Atherton

1933 BA Chemistry Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

1952 Black Mountain College Leach, Hamada and Wildenhain

1957 Summer class with Ben Owen


1934-1935 Apprentice Brown County Pottery, Nashville, Tennessee

1963 Kondo Yuzo, Kyoto City College

1971 Seto Hiroshi and Sakuma Totaro, Mashiko, Japan


1935-1977 Studio potter

1936 Established Karl Martz Studio with Becky Brown Martz

1945-1977 Professor of Fine Arts, Ceramics, Indiana University School of Fine Arts, Bloomington, Indiana


Karl Martz worked with earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain at various times in his long career. He made his forms using various construction techniques including wheel-thrown, slab-built, and coiled. He was well known as a glaze chemist and used a wide range of glazes and a number of glaze techniques including wax resist. Although the bulk of his production was functional ware in the 1960s and 1970s he completed a number of sculptural vessels.

Over his long career Karl Martz used a number of marks which carried the date a piece was made or in a code indicating the date. For extensive information about the marks the Martz family used go to:


Public Collections to Display: 

Indiana University Art Museum, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington DC  

Tokyo Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Bibliography to Display: 

Craftsmanship in Clay. Indiana University Audio-Visual Center. Six films, 1940-1950.

Donhauser, Paul. The History of American Ceramics. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall-Hunt, 1978.

Levin, Elaine. The History of American Ceramics from Pipkins and Bean Pots to Contemporary Forms, 1607 to the Present. New York, NY: Harry Abrams, 1988.

Martz, Karl. “Wax Resist Decoration.” Craft Horizons 12, no.4 (1952).

_________. “Decorate With Engobes.” Ceramics Monthly 1, no. 2 (1953).

_________. “More on Engobes.” Ceramics Monthly 1, no. 3 (1953).

_________. “Decorate With Clay-1.” Ceramics Monthly 1, no. 9 (1953).

_________. “Decorate With Clay-2.” Ceramics Monthly 1, no.10 (1953).

_________. “Decorate With Clay-3.” Ceramics Monthly 1, no. 12 (1953).

_________. “The Lively Art of Earthenware.” Ceramics Monthly 7, no. 7 (1959).

_________.”I Like a Talc Body.” Ceramics Monthly 7, no. 8 (1959).

_________.”Memo From Rome---3rd Century.” Ceramics Monthly 7, no. 9 (1959).

_________.”A Crackle You Can Feel.” Ceramics Monthly 7, no. 10 (1959).

_________.”Soluble Colorants: Quick, Versatile.” Ceramics Monthly 8, no. 1 (1960).

_________.”Crazing Problems, Anyone? .” Ceramics Monthly 8 no. 2 (1960).

_________.”A Glaze of Many Uses.” Ceramics Monthly 8 no. 3 (1960).

_________.”Five Trusty Glazes.” Ceramics Monthly 8 no. 4 (1960).

_________.”Do-It-Yourself Glaze Stains.” Ceramics Monthly 8 no. 5 (1960).

_________.”Glaze Materials: Basic Experiments.” Ceramics Monthly 8 no. 6 (1960).

_________.”Good Glazing Makes a Difference.” Ceramics Monthly 8 no. 7 (1960).

_________.”Yellow Terra Sigillata.” Ceramics Monthly 8 no. 8(1960).

_________.”Heavy Slip Painting.” Ceramics Monthly 8 no. 9 (1960).

_________.”Chromium for Christmas Colors.” Ceramics Monthly 8 no. 10 (1960).

_________.”Transparent Copper Blue Glazes.” Ceramics Monthly 9 no. 1 (1961).

_________.”Cone 3 = Stronger Pots.” Ceramics Monthly 9 no. 2 (1961).

_________.”A Matt Glaze of Many Colors.” Ceramics Monthly 9 no. 3 (1961). _________.”Color in Engobes and Slips.” Ceramics Monthly 8 no. 4 (1961).

_________.”Thick Luscious Glazes at Cone 04.” Ceramics Monthly 9 no. 5 (1961).

_________.”Five Off-Beat Matt Glazes.” Ceramics Monthly 9 no. 6 (1961).

_________.”The Shape pf Glaze Composition.” Ceramics Monthly 16 no. 6 (1968).

McKimmie, Kathy M. Clay Times Three: The Tale of Three Nashville, Indiana, Potteries. Beverly, MA: Quarry Books, 2010.

Nelson, Glenn C. Ceramics. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1960.

Zakin, Richard. Electric Kiln Ceramics. Radnor, PA: Chilton and Co., 1981.




Typical Marks
Trumpet Vase
Date: 1939
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
E. John Bullard Collection
E. John Bullard Collection
Date: 1950-1960
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
Date: 1950
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sgraffito
E John Bullard Collection
E John Bullard Collection

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified April 16, 2023.