50/50: The Cable Years
Margaret Kelly Cable is remembered as the heart and soul of UND Pottery. She was a nationally known clay artist, teacher, and researcher at the University of North Dakota from 1910 to 1949. Pottery made under her tutelage, and bearing the cobalt blue School of Mines seal, has become a valued symbol of her legacy.
Cable was born in Crookston, Minnesota and when her fathers health began to fail, the family moved to Minneapolis. It was with the Handicraft Guild of Minneapolis that she found a welcome and training that fit and challenged her. There she worked and learned with crafters who made things of beauty and utility "...simple folks, who loved beauty for beauties sake, who wrought with their hands and hearts as well as their brain and who put into each creation a bit of themselves...
In 1909 Cable was contacted by Dean Earle J. Babcock, a young, energetic chemistry instructor at UND, who took great interest in the underdeveloped resources of North Dakota. Babcock wrote Cable asking her to make and glaze fifteen to twenty pieces of pottery out of North Dakota clay for a the national convention, which was just two weeks away. There was insufficient time for completing the process but this was the beginning of a dialogue with Babcock. In the fall of 1910, after completing a two year course of study at the Handicraft Guild, the now legendary Margaret Kelly Cable was hired by the University of North Dakota.