Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Nelly

Where do you sign you name?

Recommended Posts

Nelly    16

On earthenware bisque, I use underglaze pencil on the side of the piece with a coat of clear over it. I'll put my full surname on pieces large enough to fit it, McG on smaller stuff. Assuming most people are right-handed, I sign on the side of a mug they will see most often.

On leatherhard stoneware, use a regular pencil to incise the signature, again up the side of the piece. A pencil makes a deeper, easier-to-control-and-see, mark than the cheesy little line of the needle tool. Break off any burrs when it gets dry. If you glaze too thick, finger-wipe over it.

My first teacher had us do the humble potter thing; sign the bottom with name of maker and name of kiln. My second teacher said, 'screw that, I'm an artist, I'll sign up the side' or words to that effect (hi, Curtis).

I quit dating things way too many years ago (lots of juried shows had 'made in the last two years' conditions which were annoying) and now that I'm involved in a retrospective project (hi, Gail), I'm suffering for it, triangulating among old installation shots of shows in the '90s to figure out when things were made.

Now that I think of it, I should have used a personal numbering system, useful to me, obscure to anyone I don't tell about it, e.g. year one=first clay class (1972) and so on. Drat, good idea, 40 years too late.

 

 

Dear Susan,

 

Thank you so much for the reply. Great points. I like the idea of pencil and then clear glaze. I rarely stamp the bottom of things unless it is an unfoot ringed mug or plate. Funny how we have gone from such simple instruments to sign our pots (i.e., the pencil) to now the commercial stamps. I am in the process of designing my formal stamp. It will likely include real initials in some way. But I like your insistence of the good old fashioned way of just signing with a pencil. In many ways, this signature is almost more personal.

 

Thank you again,

 

Nelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GMosko    4

A gallery owner in Santa Fe once taught me about this topic. I do exactly what he recommended, and it has served me well. First, I sign, in a scribbly style that almost nobody can read. Then with a tiny stamp, I stamp my name (in plain gothic letters) directly under the signature. Finally, I impress my chop, usually opposite the signature. So signature, name stamp, chop. These three ID items look great, they enhance the value of the piece, and tell the buyer that I am proud of the work and think enough of it to spend fifteen seconds underneath the foot!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nelly    16

A gallery owner in Santa Fe once taught me about this topic. I do exactly what he recommended, and it has served me well. First, I sign, in a scribbly style that almost nobody can read. Then with a tiny stamp, I stamp my name (in plain gothic letters) directly under the signature. Finally, I impress my chop, usually opposite the signature. So signature, name stamp, chop. These three ID items look great, they enhance the value of the piece, and tell the buyer that I am proud of the work and think enough of it to spend fifteen seconds underneath the foot!

 

 

Dear GMosko,

 

I have seen other pieces with at least two signatures on them. It interests me that you believe it has had an increase in the value people feel you ascribe to your work. That is really fascinating. Thank you for your thoughts.

 

Nelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Nelly and All,

 

This is an issue I have been fascinated with over the last few years...

 

When taking my first introductory wheel throwing course, my instructor encouraged everyone to sign their pots, both as a mark of the maker, but also as a way to identify one beginner pot from the next in the sea of beginner pots. We used ball point pens; full names, initials, a design, whatever.

 

I've never been terribly happy with my handwriting, so I quickly shifted from a poorly scrawled "CHV" to a design resembling a rose window covering the entire bottom of each piece, achieved with a loop ribbon tool. I liked the aesthetic whether raw clay or glazed and I liked the added textural component of the pot, so I stuck with this.

 

As my pots progressed and began to stand out amongst the sea of pots made by students, renters and studio assistants working in the community studio, I received lots of positive feedback about this mark. Once I started showing my work, the foot detail/signature was something that those checking out my work would almost always make note of. Repeat customers would often tell me about their appreciation of this detail both in terms of aesthetic, but also in their relationship to the piece... carrying the

 

It has become clear to me that I have worked myself into a corner... though a corner I'm comfortable hanging out in. The addition of this signature means I must trim every piece. It also takes an extra minute at the end of trimming. It's important to me to keep this step despite the efforts to produce it.

 

About a year into my relationship with clay I started seeing pots emerge from the kiln with similar markings on the bottom; pots which I had not made. What initially got me pretty flustered I have learned to take as a compliment. Particularly since beginning to teach adult wheel throwing courses last year there are often "copy cat" signatures being used right next to me same studio. One studio member actually approached me to have a dialogue about my comfort with this (he teaches courses on intellectual property at a college in town). The conversation was very thought provoking... his justification in "stealing" (his words) my mark was that he would never be producing work to sell. In the end, what could I tell him other than, "I'm probably not the first to use this signature (though I haven't seen it elsewhere) and I probably won't be the last. And who am I to tell you how to sign your pots?"

 

That said, I have added a very small stamp mark on the bottom or inside wall of all foot rings. I had a colleague draw up a logo for me to have printed on business cards and on a banner for my canopy at shows. It is a very simple "CVP" for Christopher Vaughn Pottery. I had the stamp made by 4Clay.com and I love it. It's technically a PMC stamp that was custom laser cut from metal. It's about 1/8" in height and a little more than 1/4" in length. It's subtle, allows me to keep the all-over design within the foot ring and provides me continuity with things like business cards, banner, website, etc.

 

Cheers!

 

Chris

 

8802541_orig.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×