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COWAN, R. (REGINALD) GUY

COWAN, R. (REGINALD) GUY

COWAN, R. (REGINALD) GUY (1 Aug. 1884-10 March 1957) established and operated Cleveland's only major pottery, which earned a national reputation for its ceramic sculpture in the 1920s. Descended from a family of potters, he was born in East Liverpool, O., and learned his craft at the New York State School of Clayworking and Ceramics. In 1908 he came to Cleveland, where he introduced pottery making in the CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS as an instructor at EAST TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL. With the encouragement of the CLEVELAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, Cowan opened his first studio on Nicholson Ave. in LAKEWOOD in 1912, using the area's natural gas for his kilns. Incorporated in 1913 as the Cleveland Pottery and Tile Co., the studio first won recognition with a first place for pottery at the Art Institute of Chicago's 1917 International Show. Following service as a captain in the U.S. Army during WORLD WAR I, Cowan moved his studio in 1921 to 19633 Lake Rd. in ROCKY RIVER. Known after 1927 as the Cowan Pottery Studio, Inc., the company employed such local artists as Alexander Blazys, Edris Eckhardt, Thelma Frazier, and Viktor Schreckengost to create its Art Deco designs. Under business manager Wendell G. Wilcox, Cowan ceramics were marketed in 1,200 outlets nationwide until the Depression helped force the company into receivership in 1930. It continued under court supervision for another year before closing. Cowan, who had also taught ceramics at the Cleveland School of Art (see CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF ART) since c. 1918, joined the Onondaga Pottery Co. in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1933. He assisted the Syracuse Museum of Art in establishing the Ceramic Nationals exhibition and became a museum trustee. Married to Bertha G. Bogue of Cleveland, he was survived by 3 children.