The Museum has sought out and acquired important works by Indiana ceramic artists who have risen to the top of their field. The collection focuses on decorative ceramics ranging from functional to sculptural pieces, but does not include early utilitarian pottery such as jugs and crocks. Not favoring any one style or firing method, the Museum has an all-encompassing collection of major methods and styles from the 1880’s to current works by artists in the prime of their careers.
The diverse range of artists include independent ceramic artists as well as those from the academic world and industry. Most of the independent artists have gained their reputation by personally attending art and local craft shows and having their work available in galleries. The educators have taught or are still teaching at colleges and universities around the country after gaining considerable ceramic experience in Indiana. They have been instrumental in the advancement of ceramic art in Indiana.They are primarily known by the students they have taught and through museum and major gallery exhibitions in the state and across the country.
Wide Variety of Styles
Indiana ceramic artists have produced a broad range of work using a variety of firing and glazing methods, including wood fired, raku, gas reduction, electric kiln, pit fired, salt glazed, and saggar fired pieces. Works reflect influences in each artist’s life, and range from very traditional vases to non-traditional vessels and abstract sculptures.
The ceramic art is a great addition to the museum and is shown along side the historic Indiana paintings and American furniture for which the museum is known.
The collection shows the progression of ceramics in Indiana beginning with Laura Fry, who was a decorator for Rookwood Pottery in the 1880’s. The Overbeck Sisters from Cambridge City, who started their pottery around 1911, were next and were followed by the Brown County Pottery in 1932. Karl Martz worked for them for two years until he started the Karl Martz Pottery in 1935 in Nashville along with his wife Becky Brown. He started the ceramics program at Indiana University, and his influence continues to be felt today through the work of his students and others who came in contact with his work.