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anagama

To Sign Or Not To Sign

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On one hand, I like the look of the mysterious chop or initials... but on the other hand, the rubber stamp with the name and city of the pottery makes it easy to remember who made that mug I bought at the renfaire a few years ago. I haven't progressed to the point that I sell my work, so I haven't made a decision on my work, but I realize that I turn over pots to see who made them and am disappointed when I can't tell. (Or it says "Made in China exclusively for Wal-Mart".) And I'm glad of the pots I own that clearly indicate where I got them from. Yeah, it removes the mystique of traditional chops and signatures, but it's doing me, the consumer, a favor when you clearly mark your ware with information that lets me find you again, in addition to doing yourself a favor.

 

Maybe I'll get a rubber stamp of a QR code and embed a website url along with my information.

 

 

Damn, I was holding on to the idea of doing this first...

 

 

As far as the signing my work debate... I think you should do what you feel is right. If you want people to like your work simply for the fact that it's good work, then that's a philosophical choice you've made for a reason... and that reason, whatever it may be, must be important otherwise you would have been slapping your name on everything willy-nilly without a second thought. That's my two cents....

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I've recently had a conversation with my wife about the future of my work. Currently, I do not sign my pots. I have never signed my pots... I would like to think that my approach to this topic comes from two distinct, yet contrasting, belief systems. One: I tend to side with the philosophy of Shoji Hamada (who never signed his pots) that the work itself, when hand-made, is naturally and utterly signed by the maker at each stage of it's production... and from a more humble perspective, that my work has not yet matured to a point where I feel comfortable signing my name. I have always believed that people should buy my pottery because they like it, not because it has my signature on it... and only once have I encountered a person who did not purchase my work strictly because it was not signed. I have often joked with my students (I'm a ceramics teacher) that I do not sign my work because I often envisioned people trying to hock my wares at the antiques roadshow, claiming they had a "Martin" original because of the signature... knowing full well that it was a fake... because I "never" signed my pots.

My wife thinks this line of reasoning doesn't fly anymore, and that I must start signing my work... and all that supportive "you're good enough" mumbo jumbo...

 

So... My question to all of you is... "how do you approach signing your work?" and when did you start? if you always have, how has your signature changed... what do you do, symbol or hand-sign? What is your "philosophy" about this topic?

 

I know its something that everybody approaches differently... I'm just curious... and think that it's a good topic for conversation from the beginner to the professional... let me hear what you think...

 

and I appreciate anything that you have to say.

 

 

 

 

 

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My experience has been that customers do not like buying a piece that is not signed. Quite a few have refused to buy unsigned pieces and have waited for replacements. In the beginning I did not sign my work but now make it a point to sign every piece by scratching on the back before a piece dries. I just sign with my "brand name" and then "by (first initial of my name, last name)". If I forget to sign I use a fine point permanent marker (customers don't like this as much so I really try to check all work for signatures now)

 

No date but it is something to consider. Some customers have asked for dates, as well as my first name instead of just an initial.

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My experience has been that customers do not like buying a piece that is not signed. Quite a few have refused to buy unsigned pieces and have waited for replacements. In the beginning I did not sign my work but now make it a point to sign every piece by scratching on the back before a piece dries. I just sign with my "brand name" and then "by (first initial of my name, last name)". If I forget to sign I use a fine point permanent marker (customers don't like this as much so I really try to check all work for signatures now)

 

No date but it is something to consider. Some customers have asked for dates, as well as my first name instead of just an initial.

 

 

 

I sign my peices with my first name and the year it was made.

 

Think about the future. Some of your work will outlast you on this planet. It is a part of what you will leave behind to an extent....and for those down the road... the markings may make the difference between something cherished and a "WTF is this?".

 

I lost my son in May. he was 21 and an up-and-coming glass blower (and AstroPhysics major). His early works are not signed but as he progressed and started to sell peices (he was 21, so the peices are mostly pipes and water bubblers/bongs ...LOL) he was signing everything with a logo he had created via a titanium pen. The works that were signed were easy to ID...others took some of his friends to ID. I probably have 30 peices...1/2 of which are not marked.

 

signing is good. Do it for others...not yourself.

 

onward, through the fog....

 

teardrop

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My experience has been that customers do not like buying a piece that is not signed. Quite a few have refused to buy unsigned pieces and have waited for replacements. In the beginning I did not sign my work but now make it a point to sign every piece by scratching on the back before a piece dries. I just sign with my "brand name" and then "by (first initial of my name, last name)". If I forget to sign I use a fine point permanent marker (customers don't like this as much so I really try to check all work for signatures now)

 

No date but it is something to consider. Some customers have asked for dates, as well as my first name instead of just an initial.

 

 

 

I sign my peices with my first name and the year it was made.

 

Think about the future. Some of your work will outlast you on this planet. It is a part of what you will leave behind to an extent....and for those down the road... the markings may make the difference between something cherished and a "WTF is this?".

 

I lost my son in May. he was 21 and an up-and-coming glass blower (and AstroPhysics major). His early works are not signed but as he progressed and started to sell peices (he was 21, so the peices are mostly pipes and water bubblers/bongs ...LOL) he was signing everything with a logo he had created via a titanium pen. The works that were signed were easy to ID...others took some of his friends to ID. I probably have 30 peices...1/2 of which are not marked.

 

signing is good. Do it for others...not yourself.

 

onward, through the fog....

 

teardrop

 

 

Sorry for your loss, children should not go before their parents-the grief is too great and the order not the way of things. My condolences. -Pres

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Sorry for my tone here @ times, folks. I don't want to blame every weird thing I do on the loss of my son...but >>>>very few things make any sense<<< and some of the stuff I see folks whining and going on about that make NO difference in the scheme of things can tottally set me off these days.

 

Clay is a huge part of my therapy. I do it for fun and for the fact that you have to immerse yourself into it....and by doing so...it takes my head away from the never-ending pain of simply being on this planet without him here...

 

hug em tight. Sign your work. When yer gone it is all that is left other than the memories.

 

teardrop

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Clay is a huge part of my therapy. I do it for fun and for the fact that you have to immerse yourself into it....and by doing so...it takes my head away from the never-ending pain of simply being on this planet without him here...

 

hug em tight. Sign your work. When yer gone it is all that is left other than the memories.

 

teardrop

 

I am *very* sorry about your loss. Perhaps I met your son at a Glass Art Society convention.

 

Sincerely,

 

Arnold Howard

Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA

ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com

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My experience has been that customers do not like buying a piece that is not signed. Quite a few have refused to buy unsigned pieces and have waited for replacements. In the beginning I did not sign my work but now make it a point to sign every piece by scratching on the back before a piece dries. I just sign with my "brand name" and then "by (first initial of my name, last name)". If I forget to sign I use a fine point permanent marker (customers don't like this as much so I really try to check all work for signatures now)

 

No date but it is something to consider. Some customers have asked for dates, as well as my first name instead of just an initial.

 

 

 

I sign my peices with my first name and the year it was made.

 

Think about the future. Some of your work will outlast you on this planet. It is a part of what you will leave behind to an extent....and for those down the road... the markings may make the difference between something cherished and a "WTF is this?".

 

I lost my son in May. he was 21 and an up-and-coming glass blower (and AstroPhysics major). His early works are not signed but as he progressed and started to sell peices (he was 21, so the peices are mostly pipes and water bubblers/bongs ...LOL) he was signing everything with a logo he had created via a titanium pen. The works that were signed were easy to ID...others took some of his friends to ID. I probably have 30 peices...1/2 of which are not marked.

 

signing is good. Do it for others...not yourself.

 

onward, through the fog....

 

teardrop

 

 

 

I am sorry for your loss. My daughter passed away at 26 two years ago and while I would like to tell you that the pain goes away--it doesn't. I miss her terribly but the memories and photos are a real joy. Like you though jumping into pottery gives me something to do and many of my pieces are made for her as I incorporate little symbols and designs that meant something to her.

 

Best wishes to you, all we can do is muddle through.

 

Gary

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Hey, there.

The sign or not sign issue is a huge one. I just read an old article in Clay Times about Ron Meyers[March/April 2005]. He doesn't sign his work. Did Peter Voulkos sign his pieces? I used to have a bisque chop with my initials. Some potteries have the pottery chop and the makers chop. Some production potters use a stamp as it is expedient and faster than signing every piece. I have signed my work with my first initial and my last name for the longest time. I brush decorate all my work, so it is logical to sign with a brush. Some small pots get a stamp. People like a signature and I feel that it makes the work more artistic. I am not an anonymous craftsman, so I sign.

TJR.

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My daughter passed away at 26 two years ago and while I would like to tell you that the pain goes away--it doesn't. I miss her terribly but the memories and photos are a real joy. Like you though jumping into pottery gives me something to do and many of my pieces are made for her as I incorporate little symbols and designs that meant something to her.

 

Best wishes to you, all we can do is muddle through.

 

Gary

 

 

My thoughts are with you and yours, gary. Life is so unfair...

 

I would be amiss if I didn't steer you to this site as I find that I can, sadly, relate to >much< of what is written here . http://www.grievingdads.com/

 

The entry "Bad Day" lays out precisely where I am right now in my life. If I could turn it off I would...but I can't. http://www.grievingdads.com/2012/01/

 

teardrop

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I learned to sign in high school-my signature has evolved over the past 38 years and more pots than i can recall.

now i sigh with a studio signature LHP about 1/2 the time my 1st 4 letters of my last name about 40% Cort for cortright

and things that get sponge rubber bottom or spoonrests never-thats about 10% of the work

I feel not signing is like painting or photos without signatures-I'm proud of my work no matter what the medium

and it needs to be signed.

Mark

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I sign all my work, used to date it too but stopped as right now I give my stuff away as gifts (haven't the nerve to try selling yet); giving someone a gift with an old date on it seemed odd.

 

But I have to say that how I sign has evolved ... so I know that 2003-2004 has CR and the date. 2005 CR only, 2006 added a cat symbol. Got married in May 2007 so all made since then has been CK and the cat symbol. Time to change it up again so moving to CRK :-) Maybe in a few years I'll start circling my initials :-)

 

I like the idea of putting your website, or where it was made as well, if ever I get the nerve to start selling I may go that route!

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IMHO, never sign paintings on the front, looks totally tacky. Always sign framed prints in light pencil if there's a white border. Watermark online photos. And deffo stamp ceramics with even just as small as tiny symbol or initials and the year if there's a place where it's not intrusive to the design.

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One thing not brought up is that prices vary a lot depending on where the pots come from

Pottery has a better perceived value on the east coast than out here in the west

That means pots sell for more in the east than the west

 

The other is how they are made-wood and salt pots have more work (time) into them

production pots are priced lower-

Another is say- pots sold by me say at Park City show cost more than my local fair-my galleries cost more as others want some of the $

Mathematical formulas hold no place for me in this-I cannot and do not want to try to calculate material time costs-I'll just use that time to make more mugs

I do try to have a close to the same pricing all around for same items but it does vary some

Mark

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I use stamp logo with my initials to sign my work. We had to sign everything in highschool, so it is normal thing form em to sign my work. But I do not sign/stamp everything. If I make a piece that I am not happy with, then it is left unsigned, because I use those pieces as a reminder of what went wrong, and learn from them..they are not going to be given to anyone, they stay in my studio.

My work is developing and changing, so I think it is important to have a mark, maybe one day when I grow up and becaome worldwide famous (beeing ironic) people will compare my work and development through years, and how will they know that it is mine if it is not marked?

 

No, really, I think you should put your sign/stam/mark...to proudly say: I made this! It is important, and you have to respect your work so other people can respect it too.

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