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UND Pottery

University of North Dakota


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Pottery Collection

Topical Discussion


Cable Years

50/50: The Cable Years

Early Years





In the late 50’s Peter Voulkos changed the course of the once almost exclusively utilitarian tradition of clay. His distorted, loosely stacked, large thrown forms with holes and what seemed like random attachments broke with the utilitarian tradition. Journal articles and photos began showing up in Ceramics Monthly and other publications.

The looseness of Pachl’s hand built and thrown and altered forms are evidence of her awareness of the changing tide sweeping across the country. Pachl was the bridge for the University of North Dakota ceramics tradition from the historic art pottery era to the contemporary era. The shift opened the doors to the possibility of clay as a medium for any form of expression.


Pachl was tireless her testing of glazes. These are examples of the Sgraffito process used to test the transparency of various colored glazes. See Case #4 for a description of the Sgraffito process. These are all well thrown, trimmed bowls with glaze test numbers on the bottom.

The advent of the Master of Fine Arts degree and the Voulkos revolution in clay moved the direction ceramics programs toward the individual clay artist. The corporate efforts of the art pottery studio had already disappeared across the country when Julia Mattson stamped her last cobalt School of Mines seal on the bottom of a pot in 1963 and retired. Pachl never used the historic cobalt blue seal of the Cable era.