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how do you sign your work?


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#1 oldlady

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:47 AM

i often come across handmade pottery that has wound up in a store which handles lots of things. not an antique or thrift shop but the items in it have come from many sources, some auctions of household goods, some storage lockers, etc. i found a number of beautiful things a couple of years ago which i recognized as from a very well known potter. i pointed the signature out to the owner of the store who said she could not read it. well, neither could i but i recognized the work and was able to spell out the longish name and we could finally see a resemblance to the scratches on the foot. most of the other pots were marked with 2 initials in such a sloppy way we could only guess at the letters.

the sad part about this story is that the works had come from the collection of an elderly lady whose children sold everything, 40 pieces or so, without understanding what they had. even sadder, many of the pots had been separated from each other so that the 3 piece set of oil and vinegar plus tray to hold them were on different shelves and priced individually. some were missing lids. some were such odd shapes (because they were a part of a 3/4 part set) that they were completely misunderstood. a sake set which is separated makes no sense to the ordinary shopper and rates a $3 or $4 price tag on each piece.

the signature of an artist should be legible in my opinion. it is a pet peeve of mine that the proud owner of a specific stamp which has a very unusual alphabet thinks his or her mark is a symbol of authorship never to be confused with any other maker. well, maybe it is. but for the person who sees some lovely thing in a store, on a collectors shelf, in a gallery or even the store i refer to above, it is a complete mystery. that seeker of another pot by the same maker is stumped by the very thing the maker is so proud of.

if we take the trouble to make a beautiful pot, should we not take a couple of seconds to put a LEGIBLE signature on it to let people know who we are so they might seek us out to buy more??????

and, if you have not yet done so, mark your personal collection in some way that your heirs will recognize their value. even if you are not an old lady.
"putting you down does not raise me up."

#2 Mark C.

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 03:12 AM

The potters council has a data base of all our registered marks for many years now so humans will know we made the stuff as long as they have computers that run-Maybe someone could post the link-I'm firing and out of time-I did give two signatures as mine has changed over the past 40 years-I sign 99% of work-always have.
Mark
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#3 Mark C.

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 03:21 AM

If I recall it was the potters council or studio potter magazine(member since 73) who had us register or marks in a data base for posterity as long as humans have working computers.
This was years ago as I did two signatures as as they changed over time. May be someone can provide a link-I'll mouse around after my glaze fire tonight for it. I knew it was easy to find but that was years ago.
Mark
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#4 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:36 AM

If it was '73 then that would have been Studio Potter which started in '72. Potters Council is about 12 or 13 years old having celebrated the 10 Anniversary not too long ago.

I sign my work with a porcupine quill. I have signed it that way for 45 years.
Marcia

#5 Kohaku

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:49 AM

This is a project that's been on the back-burner for me for awhile (crafting a stamp for a consistent potters mark). Consider it boosted to the top of the queue.
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#6 Mark C.

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:21 PM

I think its the potters council as it was in the 2000's. I could not find a link?
Mark
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#7 SShirley

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 04:08 PM

I recently ordered a stamp made by Jet Stamps, and I like it a lot. It's the same company that makes the Empty Bowls stamps. It's a lot more legible than the scratching I used to do.Attached File  name-stamp-2.jpg   115.45KB   92 downloads

#8 Benzine

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:45 PM

If it was '73 then that would have been Studio Potter which started in '72. Potters Council is about 12 or 13 years old having celebrated the 10 Anniversary not too long ago.

I sign my work with a porcupine quill. I have signed it that way for 45 years.
Marcia


That's awesome, even more so if you tackled and removed the quill from the porcupine yourself.


I sign my work with a "Thumb" tool, my Dad passed on to me.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#9 oldlady

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:27 PM

i continue to be misunderstood. it is ok, i am used to it. i speak a different language since i learned english in the 1940s and it has not been spoken that way (or written that way) for years.

my point was supposed to be that the potential buyer, an ordinary person, has probably never heard of either Studio Potter or the Potters Council but CAN read letters that are legible.


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#10 DAY

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:31 AM

I also put the date (year) on. I think it could be an interesting subject for a PhD thesis some time in the futurePosted Image

#11 Pres

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:15 AM

I also put the date (year) on. I think it could be an interesting subject for a PhD thesis some time in the futurePosted Image


I sign all of my work with a dull pencil, many times over a piece of clear plastic to keep from burring. I also have an old printing letter R that I stamp at an edge, and I do put a year on my pieces. As time has gone on, I have realized for my own reference that I want to know when I made something. All too many times I have seen my work other places, and for the life of me can't figure out exactly when it was made. Guess senility is setting in.

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#12 JBaymore

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:26 AM

"How do you sign your work?"

With my right hand. :D


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Seriously,.............. I currently use my first initial and last name in cursive usually written at just the right time with a ball point pen. Like Pres...... a dull pencil works too if I don't have an old pen handy. I don't date things on the work.

Over the 40+ years the nature of the marking has changed. I can personally recognize dating of my work by the nature of the signature. My handwriting has changed and hiow I use it has changed. For a while I did use a stamp that was my first and last initial usually on smaller pieces.

(I do have a hanko -stamp- that I frequently use when in Japan........ since hanko are the actual "legal" binding mark there,... not your signature. But I also often use my English signature with it.)

best,

........................john
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Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#13 Diana Ferreira

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:52 AM

My signature is just my first name, fairly readable.
I guess it is up to the buyers/vendors to make sure that they do not re-sell work that might be worth a lot. And if they do not, it is their loss! And this is why so many people go to shops like this, to find gems. With Google one can do so much today.

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#14 Kohaku

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:11 PM

The potters council has a data base of all our registered marks for many years now so humans will know we made the stuff as long as they have computers that run-Maybe someone could post the link-I'm firing and out of time-I did give two signatures as mine has changed over the past 40 years-I sign 99% of work-always have.
Mark


I'd love to see this database if it exists... and if it doesn't, it would be great to see something like this set up...
Not all who wander are lost

#15 Nancy S.

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:44 PM

I've been "signing" work with a stylized monogram (a combination of my initials) since 1995 -- in the past year I've been using a bisqued stamp with that monogram. Like Pres, I always date my work (also with a bisqued stamp)...it started out as a requirement of my grade-school teachers: "Put the year on it so that when you're older you'll know when you did it." Best advice I've ever gotten! :D

Even if the local pottery shop that fires my stuff didn't require it, I'd still mark my work with something to say that I did it. It's a point of pride: yes, this is mine. To quote the movie Beetlejuice, "And I don’t mean mine as in I bought it. I made it. It’s my sculpture."

#16 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:41 PM


If it was '73 then that would have been Studio Potter which started in '72. Potters Council is about 12 or 13 years old having celebrated the 10 Anniversary not too long ago.

I sign my work with a porcupine quill. I have signed it that way for 45 years.
Marcia


That's awesome, even more so if you tackled and removed the quill from the porcupine yourself.


I sign my work with a "Thumb" tool, my Dad passed on to me.

Actually a friend from South Africa got the quills from some annoying porcupine and gave me some. They are very long 7-13".
Marcia




#17 SmartsyArtsy

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:54 AM

With my stamp.

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#18 oldlady

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:15 AM

funny thing. someone is trying to find a potter by a stamped "signature". see potters council.
"putting you down does not raise me up."

#19 TJR

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:43 AM

Hey, gang;
Interesting topic. I used to sign my work TR. Then I shared a studio and taught evening pottery classes with a guy with the initials TR. He had a beard and I didn't, so at class time, the students would say,"Do you have the guy with the beard, or the guy without the beard?".
I started signing my last name with a dull pencil. No date. When I was at the Bray, there was a potter there with the same last name as me. [Roberts], so I started using my first initial and last name. I now paint my name on the bottom of all my work. Sometimes it's quite tricky if the piece is small. But since I decorate all of my work with brush decoration, the signature relates to the decoration.
The curse of having a common name i,[Tom Roberts], is how to make myself stand out. I guess I just have to make great work that speaks for itself.
TJR.:D

#20 Kohaku

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 04:47 PM

For those of you who use stamps or hankos or that sort of thing... how have you typically constructed them? Wood block?

I laid out a slab of modeller's wax today and tried forming a few from porcelain... I'll now bisque them and see how they work. I work with a lot of marine motifs, so I tried for a seal's head/body with the year and studio name.

Oldlady's post about the importance of a clear signature is an interesting one. I can certainly envision that a buyer might look for a sig or mark on a piece... but I'd have thought that anyone educated enough to search out a specific maker would also be able to research what their 'mark' looked like, even if it was a graphic rather than a 'signature'. Thoughts?

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