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What are you looking for under that pot? | Oct. 17, 2011

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#1 Chris Campbell

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 10:26 AM

When I pick up a pot, I always turn it over and look at the bottom. Gallery owners smilingly say they can always recognize potters by this trait. Do you do this too?

What are you looking for under that pot when you turn it over?

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#2 JLowes


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Posted 17 October 2011 - 12:33 PM

Yes, I do that too. I am interested in a few things, depending on the pot. One is to see who made it, or at least see if they have a chop. Two, I want to see how they finished the bottom, trimmed, wired, or other. Third, I want to see the bare clay, and if the potter decorated up into the trimmed pocket. Fourth, that is where the price is sometimes hidden; you don't have to be a potter to know that one. Other possibilities may exist, but those are my main interests. Sometimes I am surprised with an s-crack!

John L.

#3 buckeye


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Posted 17 October 2011 - 12:52 PM

I really like to see a nice foot. Hate turning over a nice piece and seeing a bad one.

#4 clay lover

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 01:39 PM

The bottom of a pots tell many things, clay,nice finish, signed or not, but the most imp thing it tells is how much the maker cared about the quality of their work. A sloppy or indifferent bottom, messy wax line, not signed neatly, rough, tell me the potter didn't care enough to do it well

#5 GEP


    Moderator / full time potter ^6 stoneware

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 04:38 PM

The craftsmanship on the bottom of a pot, in my book, is a form of character in terms of pottery values. When I teach my students about this, I say "how does a potter treat the bottom of their pot? It's kind-of the same as asking how do you behave when nobody's looking?"

Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery

#6 Lucille Oka

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 01:26 AM

It is another part of the vessel but it is hidden from view. This is the part we must lift the vessel to see. It is the side with the maker's mark. It is the side that is so different from the upright view of the vessel. It is nice to see how it was handled.
John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".

#7 Big Electric Cat

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 09:34 AM

I agree with Mea.
"Free yourself - that leash is long,long,long!"

#8 Pres


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Posted 18 October 2011 - 07:25 PM

Looking at the bottom of any pot I pick up is one of the first things I do, but before looking, I turn the pot over in my hands feeling the heft, telling me a lot about the throwing. When looking, I look at the bottom treatment-foot or unfooted. i look for the clay composition, the way the glaze was justified at the edge of the pot, I look to see if there is a beveled undercut. These things tell me a lot about the overall craftsmanship and care taken on the pot, and the skill level of the potter. One of the first things I warned my students about was to have a smooth finished bottom, and an undercut or foot to set off the pot. I told them I didn't want any mothers coming in complaining about their scratched up coffee tables!
Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . . http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/

#9 TypicalGirl


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 02:38 PM

Absolutely I do this.
I'm not exposed to a lot of other potters in real life (I'm kind of out there geographically).
Every time I pick up another potter's work, I learn something.
A little more about trimming, how much smoother my pots could be...
Someimes you have to hold a pot and turn it over in your hands to understand what makes it a really successful pot.
I think attention to the less visible details shows a thoughtful potter and its something I am learning to pay attention to.
Cathi Newlin, Angels Camp, Ca
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