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Herbert Cohen (American, 1931 - present)

A master potter, Cohen first learned to throw on the potter’s wheel at the remarkably young age of six, and has continued to practice the craft throughout his life. As seen in this compote, or footed bowl, Cohen often adorns the surfaces of his pottery with intricate and complex abstract patterns, carved into the clay surface using a technique called sgraffito—decorative marks scratched or scraped to create textured areas upon the surface of the clay. The form is first allowed to reach a leatherhard state, by which the clay has dried enough to hold its shape, but still pliable enough to be responsive to changes imposed upon it. Next, Cohen applies a layer of black slip, or liquid clay, which he then allows to harden. Finally, he carves the pattern through the black layer, revealing the contrasting, lighter-colored clay beneath.

Place object was created: Blowing Rock, NC


Measurements:    height: 10.5 inches    depth: 13.75 inches

Gift of Mrs. Anne M. Chaplin 1983.58

Not currently on view