How to mark pots?

Well I’ve been thinking and mulling this over for a long while now. Generally, since I started out on my own the pots have been signed as in the picture above with the pottery name and the year.

In the last year or so, occasionally, when I’m feeling brave, they get the treatment above if you can read it under the scrawl.

When I was doing my apprenticeship they got stamped with a little ‘H’ and Jason’s pottery name. Now I am in a quandary. What should I do? I like the swirl of slip that I paint on but hmmm I’m not sure now. I like the stamp too and I know that pottery fans have a tendency to look for stamps on pots. More and more I am finding that I make almost two types of pots, the runs of tablewares and the bigger somewhat more individual pieces, this almost seems to need two different treatments. I started with the pottery name because at some point I want to take on an apprentice and in that case I felt I would need a pottery name, also what I wasn’t expecting was that galleries and some customers want me and not the pottery if that makes sense. I also like to be able to date the pieces though it can be a bit odd having the odd thing that doesn’t sell for a couple of years and hangs around sitting there with 2005 written on it.
So I was thinking a small stamp and maybe make a small change to it each year, maybe the addition of a dot or two but that could get quite complicated don’t you think? I’d really like to know what you think.

A sad day today, the last ever of Radio 2’s wonderful old geezer Sir Terry Wogan’s breakfast show ‘Wake up to Wogan after something like 27 years. He’s a bit of an institution in Britain and it seems generations of people have grown up listening to his crazy banter. I don’t think I was the only one that found myself with a tear in my eye when he finished. Eee by gum he’ll be missed.

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10 Responses to How to mark pots?

  1. Ron says:

    I tend to like the stamp. I hate to see a name scratched in with a needle tool, it's never done really well, that I've seen. Too pointy and scratchy. I do like the way you sign your work with a blunt tool, looks very finished and professional. So that or a stamp, to me, looks the best and most professional. The problem with stamps is that they often do not carry enough info. "H". That could be anything…Holland, Hungary, Hooters, Heather. I went to a new stamp this year after years of "RP". My new stamp is "philbeck" lower case. I did this mainly for marketing purposes. Folks can find me on the web if they have a pot and see the word philbeck, if they Google philbeck+pottery, I'm bound to show up.I'm not much on the date thing. I can pretty much identify when a pot was made within a year or two. After I'm dead it won't matter to me anyhow. Not that I think my pots are going to be highly collectible. I think you should have McAndrew on there somewhere, even if you have the Pottery name too. Later on if you have an apprentice he/she can have their own Letter.That was a bit long wasn't it?

  2. ang says:

    i use both the stamp is on a piece any where it makes an addition to the deco.. but that's my grandpa stamp and i always sign the bottom with a blunt pencil…so aybe the stamp for production pieces and sign the more individual custom pieces, folks will never forget you then …ooh and i like hannah mcandrew, it identifies the piece directly to you… cheers sweet x

  3. ang says:

    oops! comma after both,

  4. Trish says:

    I like to use a small loop tool and carve my initials into the bottom, but, occasionally I write my full name. I do not date pieces you said, if work sits around for a while, it is awkward when someone is interested in the piece. Your question has made me think..I may decide to start signing my full name all the time.:)..I think you should sign your full name.:)Trish from Alberta

  5. Winston says:

    I've had the same problem, too. My Japanese teachers insist that we sign all our work at the class and I chose to do it with 2 simple Chinese characters to make it easier but ran into the same problem with the "scratchy" effect. So I had a seal stone carved and what happened? The glaze covered over my lovely little mark. I'm still scratching my head about how to do it though one of the ladies at the class seems to have solved the problem. She carves her name with a wire loop in Chinese on to every pot she makes, using the characters as part of the decorative design. Maybe I should try to do that, too, but limit it only to the bottoms of my pots.

  6. Winston says:

    Something just occurred to me. I've never tried working with slip and I'm wondering if maybe I could sign my pieces with thicker slip, like a decorative mark. I am thinking of using a modified syringe, but without the needle.

  7. gz says:

    Use an ordinary slip trailer, but insert the plastic bit of a cotton bud or any other fine tube in the nozzle to reduce the size of the trailed line

  8. Jon says:

    Um, interesting. What has brought about the need to change? Is there middle ground? Could you not use a stamp for the likes of domestic runs, and sign individual pieces [as I type this I have just noted ang's comments].You could on the other hand follow Hamada, who when asked why he does not sign his pots replied "any poor pots of mine will be seen as copies, and any good copies will be seen as mine".Your work tends to have a feeling that is distinctly you.

  9. Winston says:

    Thanks for your helpful suggestions, GZ and Jon. I hope Hannah finds them as helpful, too. I really hand't thought of using the plastic tube from a cootn bud to sign or draw with slip. That's something I MUST try. As for trying to imbue my pottery with a distinctly recognizable personality, I am not sure I'm good enough yet, though my Japanese teahcers say that they can usually recognize my stuff on sight cuz it's kinda quirky. I gusee I should take that as a compliment…haha.

  10. Lori Buff says:

    Rick Berman recommends not dating pottery. Apparently he had kept a few pots that he liked aside to enjoy for a few years but then eventually wanted to sell them. People would look at the date, see that it was a few years old and think that nobody liked the pot so they then would not buy it. I don't date my pots.

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