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.