Brown/Martz "Production" Pottery
ca. 1938-1942

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The Karl Martz Studio was established by Karl and his wife Becky Brown in 1937, first in the Batchfield Cabin, and in June 1938, in the Pink House in Nashville, Indiana. Karl preferred to concentrate on one-of-a-kind works. To supplement their income, Karl designed slip-casting or press molds for producing small items popular with tourists. Although never made in large quantities, this "production pottery" consisted of series of identical molded bodies, with some variations in glazing. The small production pots filled the spaces between Karl's larger pots in the kiln, spreading the cost of each firing over more pieces. Karl trained Becky to produce pots with these molds in the late 1930's and early 1940's, and thus began Becky's ceramics apprenticeship. Becky was also busy in the early 1940's caring for her sons (born in 1940 and 1942) and working at part-time jobs in Nashville.

In 1992, Becky wrote a personal account of her life with Karl from 1935-61.

The items below on this page are slip-cast or press-molded production pots from the late 1930's. Some are signed "Becky Brown" (in some cases with the signature from a stamp or mold carved by Karl) because she made them, and because Karl did not want his signature on production pottery (even though he designed the molds). Others are signed simply "Martz" (omitting "Karl"), without using the circled KM cachet reserved for Karl's one-of-a-kind pieces. The carved orange box (below) is a rare example of a molded work signed by Karl.

During the Second World War, the tourist business dwindled in Brown County, and the Karl Martz Studio was closed. Karl and Becky spent a couple of years living in Chicago, and after their return, Karl began teaching at Indiana University. Becky did not have access to a ceramics shop until about 1950, when she and Karl set up the Martz Studio. It was not until then that Becky became interested in creating her own ceramic designs, such as those shown on the Becky Brown pages of this website.

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