University of North Dakota Pottery
Cable described these methods of making pots. Clay formed on a potter's wheel is known as "throwing". Clay forms can be quickly made and duplicated by "casting" in Plaster of Paris molds. It is also possible to "hand build". Decorative wares are of two main types, those with designs carved in low relief upon the surface of the damp clay vessels and those with patterns painted in mineral pigments or colored glazes on the biscuit ware.
Some early UND pottery is characteristic of the Arts & Crafts movement. Some show Art Noveau or Art Deco influences. Others feature native flora and fauna, Indian and western motifs, or farming and hunting scenes. Others show exquisite gradation from one color to another.
The School of Mines experimented with and developed many clays and glazes. Clays used included Dickinson, Beulah, Hebron, Mandan, Weigel, Red and Grey Ross, McCurdy, Hettinger, and bentonite. Much North Dakota pottery was made from a mix of Hettinger, Mandan, Red Ross, and Beulah clay.
Margaret Cable was head of the University of North Dakota School of Mines Ceramics Department from 1910 to 1949. She instructed thousands of students and gave countless lectures and demonstrations throughout the state and nation. She won numerous state and national awards. Her artistic accomplishments were many, and her work is among the most sought after of the North Dakota potters.
Among her staff were Flora Cable Huckfield, Margaret Cable's sister, who was with the School of Mines from 1924 to 1949. Hildegard Fried was on staff from 1918 to 1924, Frieda Hammers from 1926 to 1939, Julia Mattson from 1924 to 1963, and Margaret Pachl from 1949 to 1970. A talented student, Laura A. Taylor attended UND from 1931 to 1933 and was a student assistant in ceramics for a time. She was State Supervisor of the WPA pottery project and later established Rosemeade Pottery.
In retrospect, Margaret Cable's years at UND were a highly productive and creative period. North Dakota has been enriched by her artistic achievements.
Barr, Margaret Libby, Donald Miller, and Robert Barr. "University of North Dakota Pottery, the Cable Years." Knight Printing Company, Fargo, North Dakota, 1977.