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Signing Your Work, What Is Your Method?

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I sign my initials with an old stick pen.  My last name is 3 letters 2 small 1 cap so is different.

I made a stamp but just singing on leather hard is easier.  I had a ring with my family coat of arms & initials, but it wore out.

Joy

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2 hours ago, Joseph F said:

I thought about just not signing my work at all. I sort of sign all my work anyways with my decoration. I leave 3 dots on all my work. It has a special meaning to me, but I don't know if my customers would ever know it. Do customers find it odd if you don't sign it? Does it devalue the piece in their eyes? I am not sure what to do about this. 

Joseph if you are venturing back into the professional world, you should sign your work. It's not about value, it's just that there will be plenty of situations in the future where somebody needs to figure out who made the piece. I'm sure you can find a creative solution that will work with your pots. 

Can you stamp your stamp onto a tiny sprig, then stick it onto the bottom of your pot with a dab of slip?

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Lots of good ideas. I didn't even think about people trying to find me again using a signature. I'll have to make a blog post called. F with three dots Potter mark so Google finds my page when people search that lol.

I thought about the decal stuff. I have some decals that I bought to test. I was going to add some metal decals to some test pots to see how they came out. Then I was going to get into illustrator and make some random brush and splatter scratch marks then submit it to be turned into a metal screen to be applied to my work. However I never got around to it.  Thinking about that for a signature seems like a ton of work. Putting that on then refiring just to sign your pots. I would have to be selling cups for $50-100+ for that to be worth the effort? Maybe one day!

I do like the simple idea of a stencil with my initial and then just plop down iron oxide stain over it and lift the stencil. That seems easy and consistent. 

I think for now I am going to shrink my stamp down and try a small dab of clay with slip like Mea talked about. Would be the easiest thing for me to do after trimming. Finish 20-30 cups. Get a bunch of little balls then stick them on via slip plus stamp. Quick and easy. 

Thanks for the ideas everyone I will try some out this weekend!

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I also either use an old ball point pen or a #2 pencil that is really dull so it doesn't leave any burrs.  I've also gone back and forth whether to date it (year only) or leave it undated - I still have work that has been bisque fired with dates 2007 and up, but never glaze fired.  In my case, since glazing is also part of the work, having two dates just isn't practical.     Since in the next 40 years, my work will be really valuable (how's that for confidence), I've wondered, after reading all these posts, whether I should have a notary stamp and sign my pieces also to authenticate my signature!  (I say that in jest, of course!!)

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I made  a silkscreen of my logo and use that. It's nice because it can be done at leatherhard, bone dry, or bisqued stages. The screen isn't in a frame, in fact it's less than 2x2 inches, I just hold it in place with 2 fingers swipe the ceramic ink across it with another finger and I'm done. I also have a nice transfer of the same design that I use on all my transfer pieces since they go in to a 3rd firing.

i do have my Turbo Pug metal stamp that I stamp into the bottom of all my mug handles but I do that more because I like it than as a signature.

T

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If you make work sign work-thats my thought.

The exceptions are rubber bottoms on work-sponge holders/trucker mugs

and I do not sign spoon rests as that would slow me down to m much for a small item that I make in the many many thousands per year .

Everything else has a signature.

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18 hours ago, Joseph F said:

 I can't stamp it because the walls are too thin and it leaves the stamp mark on the inside of the pot.

I had the same problem with stamping the bottom of mugs.

The solution was to find something that fitted inside the mug, so that when I stamped, the bottom didn't cave in.  I use a flat lid of a jar on the end of a rolling pin that is only just taller than the mug, and always dip my stamp into WD40 so it stamps cleanly and firmly without distorting.  

My stamp is a piece of bent copper wire glued to a piece of wood.  The wire gives a nice rounded edge to the indentation.  It was easy to make, I just drew my initial in thick pen on thin paper and used the reverse side to shape the wire.  When I say wire, I don't mean the thin stuff, but something that holds it's shape.

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Years ago. . . somewhere in the last century, I found that students were forging my signature because it was so normal and easy to forge. I worked for an entire weekend, signing on lots of paper, large and small, print and cursive until I found a signature that I could do regularly and was extremely distinctive. Doing such allowed me to become come up with a new design, and to be able to be consistent enough with the design that it was always much the same. Remembering that there are times that writing is much like drawing.

Maybe Joseph or anyone else needs to try the same trick to come up with their own special mark for their pottery.

 

best,

Pres

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9 minutes ago, Pres said:

Years ago. . . somewhere in the last century, I found that students were forging my signature because it was so normal and easy to forge. I worked for an entire weekend, signing on lots of paper, large and small, print and cursive until I found a signature that I could do regularly and was extremely distinctive. Doing such allowed me to become come up with a new design, and to be able to be consistent enough with the design that it was always much the same. Remembering that there are times that writing is much like drawing.

Maybe Joseph or anyone else needs to try the same trick to come up with their own special mark for their pottery.

 

best,

Pres

I still haven't found a solution to my problem. I have tried many things and all of them I don't like. I think I am going to end up just learning how to sign the bottom of a pot by hand. Even though I have never found a signature I like. I am sure I can come up with something given enough time. Going to sit down with a pencil tonight and a lot of paper and just start scribbling. 

Glad you posted this. I needed some motivation.

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Do it while sitting watching tv, or better yet, good music, be relaxed, and not pushing for a solution, but when you see things you like, mix them up and refine them.

 

best,

Pres

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I'm not humble enough to forgo some sort of notation on a piece that I have made, and I think most American buyers tend to expect a mark of some sort on objects made of clay, thereby imposing a degree of value to the practice.  I've been using a small metal stamp of LeeU, set in an oval rim, made by  4clay (Joel Socwell). It is quite nice but I sometimes mess it up by miscalculating how the clay will take it.  I might try the plastic over the clay & using a stylus route. I have a standard way I do my initials that doesn't take up much space. I don't actually care if it  ID's my work for anybody or for the future...it's more about honoring the making of art, the artist, and the possessor of the art.  Totally antithetical to the Mingei aesthetic. 

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With something close to hand where the point is about the size of a ball-point pen.   My 'signature' looks like something between a piece of graffiti and a chop.   I date it and write London or some version of it), to show where it was made.

I started doing this after watching a BBC documentary about a very famous English ceramics firm where it said the majority of the work was made abroad, but was 'designed in England'.  Even their website has a carefully-worded non-answer to where the products are made.

I'm new to this.  I'm not comparing anything I make to what they make, or the efforts of the people that make them in Indonesia (or wherever), but it felt a little shady.  The brand doesn't match with the bricks.

 

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15 hours ago, Pres said:

I worked for an entire weekend, signing on lots of paper, large and small, print and cursive until I found a signature that I could do regularly and was extremely distinctive.

I did the same thing thing back in my college days  and I have used it throughout the years. Today I use that same signature on clay

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after many different signatures, I've settled on scratching my initials LEC,  well a simplified version.   i do like your ink brush sig.         started with strict straight lines,  it is now evolving into looser more fluid lines, (when i remember to sign),  some time i use initials as large  decorative elements ala koie ryoji,  customers have asked me what the grass meant on pots,  turns out some one found me via web search  on face book so i suppose its getting web searchable.   i use a golf pencil, pen,   but my favorite is a porcupine quill that i was gifted.

(here is a pic of kurinuki (hollowing out) yunomi/ sake cup, self made clay, wood fired)

IMG_2357 (1).jpg

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On 10/30/2017 at 11:27 AM, Magnolia Mud Research said:

Take a paperclip and needle nose pliers,

then make yourself a 'branding iron'

LT

 

Either that or use a small head on a silicone putty tube to write out the signature.

 

best,

Pres

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I sign every piece with my first initial, last name.  I agree that the average buyer has so little understanding of hand made that unless it is signed, they thing you bought it and are doing resale.  I get asked constantly in my show booth, "Where do you buy this stuff" Oh, Lord.

I made a signature stamp by signing a plaster slab, then carving out the lines with a v shaped metal tool,, pressing a chunk of porcelain into it and bisque firing the reverse.   had to make a few before I got it just right, but it works very well.  Things that can't be stamped, I use a dull pencil and clean up when readying for bisque.

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I finally settled on a carving that I do by hand. I just take a chopstick and do it. It is a stylized F. Good enough for me. Got tried of fooling with it. Takes about 10 seconds to do it. I doubt anyone will be able to look me up via it. But whatever. Until I come up with a better idea its good enough.

Edit: here it is. on a horrible throwaway glaze cup.

download_20171104_091240.jpg.59f0d62ebcd93453c2b1e10353842eab.jpg

Edited by Joseph F
DirtRoads, Rae Reich and Biglou13 like this

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