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He developed a commercial line of Art Deco pottery that was distributed to all the major stores of the day, including Marshall Fields, Wanamaker and Kauffmans; and his studio prospered. By the mid-1920’s his products, which included flower figurines, tall vases, compotes and flower bowls, were in most American homes and he was a household name. Many well-known artists of the time were also associated with Cowan Pottery Studio; Margaret Postgate and Thelma Frazier Winter are just a couple of those names.
According to Cowan Pottery Museum Associates, although the studio was not around for a long time, it “produced over 850 shapes and used over 160 different glazes” to provide not only variety but what we like to call choice of beauty. Although most pieces are clearly marked with an impressed seal on the bottom, it is difficult to identify some of Cowan Pottery without markings; books are available for this pottery and we suggest consulting them.
Born in 1884 in East Liverpool, Ohio, R. Guy Cowan learned his craft at the School of Ceramics in Alfred, New York after which he founded Cowan Pottery Studio in Lakewood, Ohio. However, his initial foray into business lasted just a short time, as he was drafted into service by Uncle Sam during World War II. It wasn’t until 1920 that he opened his secondart pottery studio in Rocky River, Ohio.