In Cambridge City, Indiana, in 1911, four sisters established the Overbeck Pottery in their home.
At a time when most pottery was copied from European and Japanese art, they believed that "borrowed art is bad art". The majority of their work stemmed from their surroundings and included painted porcelain; redware; imported vases, Art Nouveau and Art Deco; and figurines modeled on real-life persons or "grotesques" which Mary called "humor of the kiln". They were especially noted for their subtle hues in matte glaze as well as brilliant turquoise and heliotrope in bright glaze. They never divulged these formulas, although it is believed they are in the possession of their nephew.
From its inception Overbeck Pottery has been held in high esteem. Awards were won in Paris, Chicago, New York, Syracuse, Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, in Indiana on a regular basis and at the Panama Pacific Exposition.
In recent years growing groups of museum curators, art schools and collectors have developed a full realization of the artistry of Overbeck Pottery. It has earned an important place in the history of American art and has been exhibited at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Wayne County Museum. In 1990 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art featured a prized Overbeck vase in their exhibition. In 1987-88 Overbeck Pottery was awarded national recognition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston exhibit "The Art That Is Life"; The Arts and Crafts Movement in America, 1875-1920. A vase in the collection was chosen as an example of originality in early American pottery and was exhibited in Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York. The modest, genteel Overbeck sisters would be astounded at the fame they have achieved. (via Overbeck Museum)