Cleveland's industrial growth highly influenced the arts in the area, as well as promoting art pottery as a valid art form. R. Guy Cowan ran the Cowan Pottery studio from 1912-1931. It was originally opened in Lakewood, but later moved to Rocky River after World War I when he found that his gas well had been depleted.
The studio was home to a number of Cleveland artists. Many of them went on to become well known figures in local and national art, including Waylande Gregory, Viktor Schreckengost, and Edris Eckhardt.
The work that came from Cowan Pottery could be found in finer department stores and galleries in many major cities including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, as well as Cleveland. Innovative modern shapes were "tested" at trade shows with favorable reviews before new shapes were released for consumers. Cowan was one of the first to produce rectilinear wares and modernistic ceramic sculptures. Mass producing these works made the designs affordable to consumers, and effected consumer taste.
Cowan Pottery has become very collectible and can still be found in many antique stores.
To learn more about Cowan Pottery visit the Cowan Pottery Museum at the Rocky River Public Library, or visit the Cowan Pottery Museum Associates website.
Pictured above is Burlesque Dancer: Waylande Gregory (left), Giulia: A. Drexler Jacobson (right)