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Different Ways To Sign Pots

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#1 samnus



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Posted 18 March 2014 - 01:06 PM

I'm interested in the many ways that potters use to sign their pots...on greenware or bisqueware, carving name & filling with oxides or stains, just brush signing...and the details. Also, whether or not to include the date. Thanks

#2 TJR


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 01:57 PM

I sign all my work with a brush and oxide-but I also decorate all my work with brush and oxide. I do not write the date, as there is always some ckunker hiding in a box that you can sell. If people think that it is old work, they wonder why it didn't sell.


#3 neilestrick


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 02:29 PM

I have a stamp, made of of clay and bisque fired. I put a little BB of clay on the pot and stamp it down.

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#4 ChenowethArts


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 02:33 PM

I have a stamp that identifies a series/class of work, but just about everything carries my initials and a crosshatch pattern on the bottom...stained with red iron oxide after bisque fire:

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#5 clay lover

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 03:18 PM

I made a stamp from my signature and bisque it for the basic things.  For larger, more spendy pieces, I hand sign.

#6 Chilly


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 03:30 PM

There's been a couple of threads recently:







#7 Tarheeler



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Posted 18 March 2014 - 03:45 PM

I use a stylus to put in my initials after I trim.

Eventually I'll get around to making a stamp for it.

#8 Brian Reed

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 05:40 PM

I follow the Leach tradition (I know it is really a Japanese, but I learned if from Leach) of making a stamp and bisque firing it.  I then use it to press into leather hard clay.  I make sure that when I glaze no glaze touches the stamped area.

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#9 Mark C.

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 08:39 PM

I'm the odd man out as I use the dull end of a metal pro needle tool (the butt end) to sign the work right after triming or sponging.

I did date them randomly thru1969-1986  

Now I do not date them. I have two signatures as well.

One is Cort which is very fluid the other is LHP all letters combined as a studio signature


Like to keep the folks guessing


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#10 Pres


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 09:33 PM

I use a pencil or wooden rib to sign through a piece of plastic shopping bag-no burr. I also stamp an Old English "R" from letter press. I date everything, but then don't worry about sales that much. I can see how dating -dates your stuff. No one wants last year, or 10 years ago unless of course they are a collector, or just like your work. Lately I have been getting fancier with the signature with an incised line with interlaced squiggles at the ends forming a spot for the "R".

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#11 Benzine


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 10:17 PM

Pres, they will need the dated work, for future editions of Antique Roadshow....

I sign my work, usually with a wooden thumb tool, or if I don't have it on hand, the point of a needle or wood tool.
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#12 PSC


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 11:29 PM

I use my needle tool, i don't date it as some shoppers seem to think its the pot's expiration date ;) but i have found it handy to put the cone i am going to fire it to on the bottom then i don't get my low fire and high fire bisque mixed up. I started to add the cone after hurricane charley destroyed my studio in 2004. My shelves collapsed and i couldn't tell the lowfire from high fire from each other in the pile that survived the fall. When i started making again 3 years later i started adding the cone.

#13 Babs


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 11:32 PM

Old biro when I trim, on larger stuff i use a fine line pen with black slip inside. Is time consuming so I may go to a stamp soon.

#14 ayjay


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Posted 19 March 2014 - 02:11 PM

I've made a couple of stamps, but rarely use them, my usual method is to initial the bottom just after trimming - I use a Porcupine quill, it lives with my trimming tools so I don't have to use a needle which will then get left in the wrong place. :)



#15 samnus



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Posted 21 March 2014 - 09:48 AM

Thanks for the input and variety of ways to approach signing a pot...I guess I was making it harder than it needed to be...by scribing, sanding, filling with underglaze and then wiping off the excess ;o(

#16 claygram


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Posted 21 March 2014 - 02:40 PM

        I  have some pieces of lead type saved from when my Dad had a one-man printing business in our home.   He set all his type by hand--this was 75 years ago and he had learned from his father when he was young.  I have my two initials and a small design that I just press into the clay when I finish trimming.  It always brings back good memories and keeps him part of my life. 

#17 Rebekah Krieger

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 06:56 PM

I use the rubber sculpting blending tool thing (not sure the name)…  this week at nceca somebody mentioned that they put a black spot of slip in the bottom of their pots, and then carve out their name (write with needle tool probably) 

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#18 Biglou13


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Posted 21 March 2014 - 08:26 PM

Sharpened pencil
After trimming
I've used a stamp in past

For now it feels more personal to actually "sign" with my mark

Sometimes need to be hit with diamond pad to smooth down after bisque

I usually just hold my pots and dip leaving finger marks. Some get covered sometime not.

I ve been doing this x3 on bottom of most pieces

The 5 lines while minimalist are my initials. LEC

While not as bold part of the inspiration came from koie ryoji, where his bold signature sometimes part of the decoration of pot.

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#19 clayshapes


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Posted 21 March 2014 - 10:12 PM

I just started using Designer Liner (Mayco) to cursively sign my work. It's pigment only, so doesn't stick to the kiln shelf when you fire it.

#20 JBaymore



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Posted 22 March 2014 - 08:33 PM

For high end work...... this etching and inlaying slip and such samnus mentions is the kind of stuff that adds that "little extra" pizazz.  WELL worth the little extra time and fussing.



For some of the higher end pieces I make, I sometimes also use painted overglaze enamel or burnish gold luster. Has to "fit" the nature of the piece.   I use JBaymore in script almost all the time for this kind of thing.


For a lot of stuff, I sign my name in the leatherhard clay with a DULL pencil, or a ball point pen.  Prominent and readable.  Sharp points like needle tools tend to leave a "harsh" quality to the mark after work is fired.


On some pieces I use a stone hanko (stamp) that I carved in Mashiko, Japan in 1996 (over a lot of sake ;) with a potter friend).  It is a stylized JB.  I press it into the clay or into a small wet wad of clay.


For my Chadogu (formal teawares) it varies by the type of piece.  Chawan and mizusashi and things like kogo and furo and serving pieces usually get JBaymore in the leatherhard clay outside the footring (never inside). Chaire (being very small) often get a stamped JB or an overglaze or gold one usually on the lower sidewall near the foot. Chadogu almost always also get a signed (in black ink)  wooden box, with my ceramic hanko, my legal signature hanko (last name in Kanji) and the kiln name hanko in red ink.  They also get a yellow-orange wrapping cloth for the piece with the same three hanko in red.






PS:  At the 2014 NCECA fund raising cup sale I donated a Chawan (with box, etc.).  I set it at 1/2 of my usual price.  Everything sold....... so .......did anyone here happen to get that piece?  Curious.  BTW... the cup sale raised almost $25,000 for scholarships in only a few hours of actual sales. NICE!

John Baymore
Adjunct Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

Former Guest Professor, Wuxi Institute of Arts and Science, Yixing, China

Former President and Past President; Potters Council



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