University Museums

Media File
Title: Vase
Name: Vase
Date: 1924-1930
Medium: Earthenware
Country/Culture: American
Dimensions: 8 1/4 x 3 1/2 in. (21 x 8.9 cm)
Marks: On base stamped ISC, scratched Y
Classification: Decorative Arts, Ceramics
Credit Line: In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: U85.19
More Information
For six years, from 1924 to 1930, Paul E. Cox, head of ceramic engineering, and Mary Lanier Yancey, a ceramics instructor in applied art, collaborated to create marketable handcrafted art pottery at Iowa State College. Yancey worked as the designer in the collaboration, while Cox operated as technician and promoter of their products, working tirelessly to increase awareness of ceramic engineering at Iowa State. Cox was a graduate of Alfred University, an accomplished student of Charles Binns, and an innovative ceramist technician. Yancey was a graduate of Newcomb College, Tulane University in New Orleans. Cox typically threw the pottery freehand, and then Yancey decorated the wares with a carved or incised design and inlaid painting. She often used abstract or realistic patterns of clover, lilies, poppies, jonquils, tulips, blackberries, maple seedlings, pinecones and pine needles.

Cox personally favored classical simplicity. Yancey fulfilled the role of artist and Cox respected her work as a designer. Her honest drawing, design, and color applied to a wider audience and Cox, whose main objective was promoting the pottery, recognized its marketability. The artistic partnership of Cox and Yancey ended in 1930 when she moved to Massachusetts. Cox left Iowa State College in 1939.