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Cowan Pottery

Mark Bassett collects a variety of American potteries, including Cowan. He is the author of Cowan Pottery and the Cleveland School, which he wrote with Victoria Naumann Peltz, who was then responsible for all curatorial activities for the Cowan Pottery Museum collection. (Vicky retired in July 2002 after 27 years of service.) The book can be ordered here

The photos on this page include rare examples of Cowan. For photos of other items in Mark Bassett's personal collection, visit the Cleveland School and Hyalyn pages, along with I Buy Pottery

If you know of a piece (or collection) that might interest him, please contact Mark. 
This 11.5" diameter wall plaque was designed by Viktor Schreckengost for Cowan Pottery in 1931. Its title is Danse Moderne and it was inspired by the iconography he used on the internationally famous Jazz Bowl, a commission he executed for Eleanor Roosevelt.

The sgrafitto technique--which R. Guy Cowan called "Dry Point"--involves covering a plain bisque-fired plate with black engobe, a mixture of slip and black pigment. Viktor then used a group of sharp tools to draw the design on this ceramic canvas by scratching away some of the engobe. When the drawing was complete, the piece was dipped into Cowan's brilliant Egyptian Blue crackle glaze (developed by Arthur Baggs).

Shown at the right is one of the rarest of Cowan's limited edition sculptures--Burlesque Dancer, designed by Waylande Gregory in the Modernist style, influenced by Alexander Archipenko.

Waylande features prominently among the many stories in Cowan Pottery and the Cleveland School. For example, Chapter 8 is devoted entirely to him, and outlines his youth and previous experience in more detail than is available elsewhere.

© 2005 Mark Bassett
Updated 12/14/05