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Cable Years

50/50: The Cable Years

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North Dakota Products Vase It was during a visit of Governor Sorlie to the Ceramics Department in 1926 that the idea for a North Dakota products vase originated. Governor Sorlie made the suggestion to Cable that she decorate a vase using native products as design motifs. Governor Sorlie wanted corn, wheat, flax, clover, pigs, chickens, turkeys, cows, sheep, bees, potatoes, sugar beets, a lignite coal, Dakota Maid flour, a pumpkin, a flickertail, a wild rose, a lump of clay and a cream can all on one base. Cable said at first, the idea of putting so many products on one piece of pottery left her “quite breathless.”

The decorative process used to create the ND Product Vase is called Sgraffito. A thin layer of liquid blue slip (liquid clay) is applied to the surface of the still wet clay form. The slip is allowed to partially dry and at the appropriate time, the designs are cut through the blue layer to the white clay body beneath. The dried pottery form is bisque fired, a clear glaze applied and the form is glaze fired a final time. The result is a blue form with the background white clay body of the pottery showing through.

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The small bowl was done by Margaret Cable’s mother, Josephine, and uses the sgraffito process as well. The coffee pot set is an example of the on-glaze technique. (See Case #3-Top)