by Darlene Hurst Dommel
Rosemeade pottery has become a popular collectible today because its
creator, Laura Taylor Hughes, chose subjects which continually fascinate
people--animals, birds, fish--and modeled authentic characterizations of
their living counterparts. These innovative designs were then
accurately hand painted in nature's vivid coloring.
Laura Taylor combined
education, experience and creative skill. Educated at UND, Taylor was
a student and assistant to nationally known director, Margaret Cable.
After a short period of making Dickota pottery at the Dickinson Clay
Products Company, Laura Taylor was appointed state supervisor of the North
Dakota Works Administration (WPA).
An opportunity to demonstrate pottery making at the 1939 New York World's
Fair changed Laura Taylor's life as she met Robert J. Hughes, zealous
booster of state enterprise. Together they founded the Wahpeton
Pottery Company in January 1940 and married three years later.
Many of Laura Taylor's naturalistic designs reflected the native flora
and fauna of her North Dakota farm childhood. A wide range of other
products included place souvenirs, human forms, functional items and
advertising pieces. Observing trends, Taylor met the needs and wishes
of the public. The company name was changed to Rosemeade Potteries in
1953 for better name recognition and remained successful while many other
companies of that era did not survive.
Distinctive lustrous glazes created by Howard Lewis, production manager,
set Rosemeade apart, making it easily recognizable. Metal oxides
painted under the glazes fired into colorful hues. Lewis also threw
swirl pottery vases and pitchers. He learned the swirl process while
working at Niloak Pottery and previously produced "Dickota Badlands" swirl
pottery for the Dickinson Clay Products Company.
Joe McLaughlin succeeded Lewis as production manager. McLaughlin
introduced decorative decals, including those of wildlife artist Les Kouba,
and accelerated advertising specialties sales. Rosemeade Potteries
closed in 1961.
Although some early pottery and the swirl ware were thrown on the
potter's wheel, the majority of Rosemeade was cast in molds. Most
Rosemeade pottery is identified with an impressed mark or an ink stamp of
the company name in black or blue lettering on the bottom.
Photo from Darlene Hurst Dommel,
Collector's Encyclopedia of Rosemeade Pottery, Collector Books, 2000
Animal salt and pepper shakers.
Photo from Darlene Hurst
Dommel, Collector's Encyclopedia of Dakota Pottery, Collector Books, 1996
Click here to see more examples of
Beautiful Rosemeade, Copyright 1986 by Shirely
Sampson and Irene Harms. $19.00 postpaid to Irene Harms, 2316 West 18th
Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. Out of print.
Collector's Encyclopedia of Rosemeade Pottery, Copyright 2000 by Darlene
Hurst Dommel. $26.95 postpaid to Collector Books, P. O. Box 3009, Paduca, KY
42002-3009. 1-800-626-5402. Out of print.
America's Salt & Pepper Shakers, Copyright 2000 by Sylvia Tompkins and
Irene Thornburg. $33.95 postpaid to Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 4880 Lower
Valley Road Atglen, PA 19310. 610-593-1777.
Rosemeade Price Guide, 22nd Edition, Copyright 2015 by Bill Bakken.
$17.00 postpaid to Bill Bakken, 517 26th Street NW, Rochester, MN 55901.
Collector's Encyclopedia of Dakota Potteries, Copyright 1996 by
Darlene Hurst Dommel, Collector Books, Paduca, KY. Out of Print.
North Dakota Horizons, spring 1979, Greater North Dakota Association,
Fargo, ND. Out of Print.
Extraordinary North Dakotans, Copyright 1954 by Erling Nicolai Rolfsrud,
Lantern Books, Alexandria, MN. Out of Print.
Earth, Water, and Fire - The History and Uses of North Dakota Clay,
1998 Spring/Summer Issue North Dakota History - Journal of the Northern
Plains, Volume 65, No. 2 & 3. $10.50 postpaid to State Historical Society of
North Dakota, 612 Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck, ND 58505. 701-328-2666.