Journey of the Art
The journey each object took before coming to live at UND Art Collections is part of the story each piece has to tell.
Finding the Merry Claymore Ketterling Collection
Merry Claymore Ketterling tells her story about an art collection that was named in her honor by the Indian Studies Department.
"I began working in the Indian Studies Department in 1985 and retired 22 years later. I never went to college until I was encourage by one of the department's professors, Dr. Mary Jane Schneider, to take her classes – starting with Native American art. One day I got a call from a friend who worked in the warehouse at the University. She told me about a box of Native American things she thought I might be interested in seeing. When I opened the box, to my surprise, I saw quillwork I knew was old because it was dyed with natural colors. Dr. Schneider helped to look through the boxes. We knew that some of the pieces were Chippewa – they were velvet with beaded floral designs. Others pieces, with asymmetrical designs, indicated that they were Lakota.
"After these items were relocated to the Indian Studies Department, I understood their potential value to the University as objects representing my traditions and history. They represented the way we lived. They are objects that I can show to my children and grandchildren so they can learn more about our culture.
"My favorite piece is the doll. I remember my grandma had a doll like that, but she probably sold it because we were so poor. The railroad came through the reservation and brought white travelers from the East who wanted souvenirs. Because we needed money, our families rarely kept objects like these. Having these items here at the University for people to see, reinforces that we Native people are still here in the Dakotas. Our culture and traditions are still alive!"
Merry Claymore Ketterling
Former Administrative Secretary
UND Department of Indian Studies
-Excepted from the book, Storytelling Time, 2010
Placing Audrey Flack's Daphne
Audrey Flack is an artist who likes to break rules. Her colossal sized sculpture of Daphne, which lives in UND's Education Building, illustrates her ability to transform a female mythological figure into a contemporary, yet timeless piece. Flack's Daphne piece residing at UND is a hand-painted polyurethane cast sculpture with extending tree branches.
Getting Daphne into place was a major undertaking. Standing eight feet high on its base, it was an awkward piece to handle, particularly when trying to fit it into a tight glass display case. To accomplish this feat, the sculpture was placed on a wooden platform to wheel Daphne into her case.
Painting the Mural at the Edmond Hughes Fine Art Center
Inspiring art and design students for generations, The Mural at the Edmond Hughes Fines Arts Center provides a node to those who have come before them.
The mural was first painted in the early 1980s. The left half of the mural's composition derives from a "fantasy collage" postcard that was designed by UND painting professor Brian Paulsen in 1978. The mural also incorporates compositional elements not found in Paulsen's postcard image. The bug-like creature in the mural was often used in prints and drawings by another art professor, Ron Schaefer. The floor-drain motif recounts a series of prints by former Art Department chair Jackie McElroy-Edwards. Also added in the mural are references to fishing—a theme related to recreational interests of former Art Department facilities technician (and UND alum) Steve Garner, who oversaw the tool room.
It was originally Steve Garner's idea to execute the mural. Paulsen joined Garner in the painting process with the assistance of UND art students. In September 2009, one year after the Department's name was changed to Art and Design, Paulsen restored the mural with special funding provided by the Myer Foundation.
The Cable Years
In 1909, the near-legendary Margaret Kelly Cable was contacted by Dean Earle J. Babcock, a young, energetic chemistry instructor at UND, who took great interest in the underdeveloped clay resources of North Dakota. Babcock wrote Cable asking her to make and glaze 15 to 20 pieces of pottery out of North Dakota clay for a 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 1910, Cable joined the faculty at UND.
Cable proved to be the right person to join UND at the right time. Not only was she skilled in pottery making, she was also imaginative, creative, and drew students to her. Her reputation spread throughout the nation and soon she began to be spoken of as the "Lady of the Wheel."
In retrospect, the Cable years at UND proved to be a highly productive and creative period. Her influence was felt through her students, her demonstrations, and most of all through her own work. She was primarily responsible for UND pottery being known and valued throughout the country. Pottery made under her tutelage, and bearing the cobalt blue School of Mines seal, has become a valued symbol of her legacy.