Ceramics adopted me in 1931 when I stumbled onto and through a six-weeks course in Ceramic Art at Ohio State University. The five little results were encouraging so I went back for more.
Later worked in a small pot shop [the Brown County Pottery] and in 1935 married and set up my own studio in Brown County, Indiana. Had two rooms, worked in one, lived in the other. With good fortune and a rabbit's foot now have two houses, work in one, live in the other. [The studio was the Pink House (no longer in existence in 2002); the residence could have been the Green House (adjacent to the Pink House, and still in use in 2002) or more likely a house they rented in the heart of Nashville ca. 1940, the Mathis House, rented from Jack Rogers.]
Ceramics is the most exciting combination of facts and faith, failures, adventures, heart-breaks and triumphs that I know about. The feel of clay on the wheel. The kiln-watches with the roar of the fire in my ears. The still-warm pots looking like all the treasure of Ali Baba. And not least, the agonizing suspense for word from Syracuse. I have a hell of a good time and occasionally the distinct pleasure of turning out a really authentic piece of work that is admired, understood and loved by everybody from the man who cuts the grass to the head of the Art Institute. Ceramics! It's Wonderful!!
Among Karl's later written and spoken statements, including private comments to friends and family, the affirmation above is unique in its wholly unbridled enthusiasm and recognition of the value of his own work. It is hard to reconcile with the truly soft-spoken, modest, and private man I knew as a father. Throughout his later career (probably less so at the time this was written, the year I was born) Karl suffered from chronic depression and unwarranted low self-esteem. I was thrilled when I discovered the last paragraph above, so unblanchingly expressive of Karl's true love for ceramics. One can only wonder if he had a few stiff drinks just before he wrote this!