Archives for January 2012

Cowan Pottery

Cowan Pottery was in business for a brief period of time; specifically, between 1912 and 1931. That’s not to say, however, that this Ohio art pottery company didn’t leave a lasting impression – it most certainly did.

Founded by R. Guy Cowan, an Ohio native, Cowan Pottery began as a tiny studio with only a few kilns and with Cowan serving as the owner, artist, designer, bookkeeper and so on. Despite what was surely an exhausting effort, Cowan produced many art pottery pieces and tile designs. By 1917, Cowan was enjoying the fruits of his hard work with many awards for his art pottery collections.

As was the case with many art pottery companies during this time period, World War I meant a closing of his business so that he could serve in the Chemical Warfare Service. The war ended and Cowan found himself following his passions once again, this time in a new location in Ohio. He upped the equipment, created a studio and before long, he was filling orders for department stores, individuals and other national chains. That was soon followed with commercial pottery efforts. He was able to hire a staff of artists and his output neared 175,000 pieces each year. Some of those Cowan Pottery pieces included bowls, vases, lamps and candlesticks.

Despite his impressive successes, in the late 1920s, Cowan found his business struggling financially. The demand was slowly dropping for pottery, as would-be customers found themselves struggling from a financial aspect, too. Indeed, times were incredibly difficult and by 1930, the writing was on the proverbial wall. The Depression hit fast and hard and Cowan Pottery closed its doors in December, 1931.

The legacy left behind is priceless. The glazes and artistic abilities are nothing short of genius; partly due to Cowan’s familiarity with the chemicals used in the American art pottery sector.

Cowan knew he could never walk away from art pottery and became a well respected judge and trustee for the National Ceramic Exhibitions until his death in 1957.

Just Art Pottery Bargain Bin

Have you checked out the great finds in our Bargain Bin? This is a great opportunity to add to your art pottery collection or if you’re new to this particular art sector, it’s the best place to start. Check out a few of the latest additions to the bin –

Drawn to the more whimsical side of American art pottery? Then the Abingdon Pottery cookie jar is probably just what you’re looking for. This sweet Miss Muffet, who’s resting on her tuffet, dates back to 1949-1950 and is mint condition. The bottom is marked and this cookie jar measures 9 1/2″ tall and 8 1/4″ wide.

The Coors Pottery blue handled vase is a perfect example of how less is sometimes more in art pottery. The blue glaze on this double-handled vase contrasts nicely against the white glaze on the inside of the vase. It’s in excellent condition and measures 6 1/2″ tall and 7 1/4″ wide.

The unique presentation is what sets this Haegar Pottery Marigold Agate Earth Wrap Vase apart. The rich sunflower gold and yellow hues are a powerful base against the contrasting red and brown that present as abstract designs. It’s modern look and one many collectors are drawn to.

Hull Pottery remains one of the most recognized names in the industry. The Hull Pottery bow knot blue wall pocket is just one reason why. This design has a beveled handle, two side pockets and pink flowers with soft green leafing efforts. It’s a little vintage, a little traditional Hull and a lot of style. This is one that can be difficult to locate, so if you’re contemplating adding this to your Hull Pottery collection, now’s the time.

Speaking of vintage, there’s also a Rorstrand 1960s Swedish Titus art deco vase. This vivid vase offers a glossy finish against a rich blue and hues of brown. The lighter base color works well with both the colors and general design. It’s handpainted and is 6 1/4″ tall and at its widest point, measures 6″ wide.

These are just a few of the many gems you’ll find in the Just Art Pottery bargain bin.


Avoid Buying Fake Roseville Pottery

One major reason people avoid collecting American art pottery is because they fear not being able to differentiate between fakes and true Roseville Pottery.

The truth is, some of the fake Roseville pieces have a sense of authenticity that makes it difficult to tell apart from true Roseville Pottery. Aside from getting your collection appraised (which we always strongly encourage), you may never know for sure. Then again, there are those who see the beauty and would still purchase it, even if it were a fake, so that

Collection of Roseville Baneda

they could display it in their home. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, except you probably paid Roseville Pottery prices for fake Roseville pieces.

For those who find it difficult to tell apart, there are a few tell-tale signs that might clue you in. Keep in mind – this is all very subjective in that what one’s idea of a “dull glaze” might be different than another’s – again, this only reiterates the importance of a professional appraisal.

Take a look at the glaze on your piece; fakes lack a certain depth and without a “clear” look; it can even look dull and flat. Also, the glaze shouldn’t hinder the nuances of clay underneath it.

Take a look at the handles (if applicable). Fake pieces usually have bigger handles in terms of their dimensions. Again, this is subjective, but for those familiar with this line of art pottery, the differences are obvious.

How about the detailing? Authentic Roseville Pottery offers a lot of detail – the vines, florals, etc. The Roseville artists always took pride in their detailing efforts.

There were many Roseville marks through the years; so many that sometimes even collectors question a Roseville marking. There are those with Roseville U.S.A. or wafer marks or ink stamps – the marking often dates your Roseville piece; however, fraudsters will do their best to replicate the markings in order to fool buyers.

So what should you do to keep from being taken? We always tell customers to study their Roseville pieces they know are authentic. Usually, once you know what truly is real, the fakes become easier to identify. It’s also a great way to learn more about the history of this dynamic line of American art pottery.

If you’re looking to have your Roseville Pottery collection (or any other collection) appraised, give us a call. All of our appraisals are done in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPA). Greg Myroth is a member of the Association of Online Appraisers and abides by the AOA Code of Ethics. For more information, visit our Just Art Pottery appraisal page.