Louise Belgarde was born May 10, 1934 in Belcourt, ND and grew up in the Dunseith area. In May of 1949 Louise married Eugene Grandbois, had eight children and farmed east of Dunseith. In February of 1970 Louise married Ray Crosby, had two children with him and moved to a farm east of Rolla.
In 1965 Louise began doing ceramics, at first for a hobby and giving them away. She went to her first showing in Tulsa, OK, and won first place on her art work. Because of the demand for the work, she decided to go professional and used the Indian name "O-She-ʼE-(Pee-Kay) Wee-Nee-Nee" (artist woman), and became internationally known for her unique design with a personal touch added. When Louise started selling her ceramics the people of Dunseith were very supportive and promoted her work and sold for her. Lowell Leonard was one of them and bought her ceramics for his business at the Peach Garden.
She used commercial molds with bright colored & neutral colored glazes. She hand decorated some of her items with incised Indian symbols and airbrush bright colored glazes and designs on others. There are foil/paper labels and incised marks. These labels can have Dunseith, Rolla & Intnat'l Peace Garden USA-Canada Border. Size permitting, O-She-ʼE (Pee-Kay) Wee-Nee-Nee, was incised on the bottom. Sometimes USA and/or the mold number was also incised. A distinctive creation designed by Louise was the soft line finish of Buffalo Bone Ceramics. This had a cream colored glaze as a base and a tan/light brown lightly wipe over the top, normally with Indian symbols incised.
She broadened her ability and started doing canvas paintings as well. Her paintings have a mystic beauty about them just as her ceramics, with the same uniqueness and personal touch added. She had her own art gallery and ceramic shop in her home which is where she worked in her spare moments. In 1979, she was appointed by Governor Link as a chairwoman to the State Council for Developmental Disability, Minority group.
After raising her children she received her high school diploma in 1979. Louise attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, Turtle Mountain Community College, and the Bottineau College, receiving a two-year degree. The ceramics operated from 1965 to sometime in the 1980’s. She passed away September 19, 2011 at Bethany Homes in Fargo.
Louise Crosby; O-She-E-ʼ(Pee-Kay)-Wee-Nee-Nee (artist woman)