In 1937 Margaret Cable, director of the University of North Dakota Ceramics Department and Bruce Doyle came to the Pine Ridge Reservation. Cable was at Pine Ridge for six months and taught students to develop their own designs and not follow traditional Southwestern Native American traditional designs. Bruce Doyle was in Cable's class. Soon thereafter, he became the director of Pine Ridge Pottery.
Under Doyle's leadership, Pine Ridge Pottery was started at the Pine Ridge Boarding School. Pine Ridge Pottery was in existence from 1937 until the early 1980s
The most sought examples of Pine Ridge are the decorated pieces. Pine Ridge Pottery is typically decorated with sgraffito design in cream colored slip over reddish brown glaze. The designs used on Pine Ridge are Sioux Native American motifs typically consisting of geometric, abstract and angular forms.
The typical marks seen on Pine Ridge Pottery include an incised pine tree and mountain, along with the name of the pottery as well as the artist's name. The word Indian is also included as part of the name on earlier Pine Ridge.
The artists of Pine Ridge and the marks they used on their artwork are described below:
Olive Cottier used the signature Cottier from the late 1930s to around 1954. At times Olive signed her work as Romona Wounded Knee.
Bernice Talbot signed her pottery Talbot from 1943 to 1955.
Ella Irving used three different signatures while at Pine Ridge Pottery. From 1939 to 1942 she signed her pottery Woody which was her married name at the time. For several years in the 1940s Ella Irving signed her wares Cox in recognition of her second marriage. At other times, Ella signed pottery with her maiden name of Irving.
Bruce Doyle was at Pine Ridge from 1937 to 1942 and he used the mark OGLALA.
Nora Fire Thunder was a Native American who worked at Pine Ridge from 1937 to 1942.
As a result of the increasing recognition of Native American arts and crafts as part of the diverse history of all Americans, interest in Native American pottery such as Pine Ridge has increased. The simplicity and beautiful lines of Pine Ridge Pottery truly appeals to a diverse variety of art pottery collectors.