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Ok here’s the thing I can make a product that is easy to produce and can pay the bills . This said I don’t consider it a part of my body of work so I will not sign them kind of soul less pots . Now I also want to make a high end level of pottery that I would change a premium for and I sign them because they are representing me and I put my heart into them . Your thoughts?  

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I'm a firm believer in having a legible stamp/signature, can't count the times I've gotten repeat orders from people contacting me from my stamp on the bottom of pots. All the work helps pay the bills, simple small pots (which are my best sellers) or one offs.

You could always use 2 stamps/signatures, one for the bread and butter pots and another for your high end one offs.

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I'm either proud of the work or its distroyed.. That said a few items I never sign are spoon rests made by the thousands as signing is not part of the process as they are to speedly made to stop and sign after spi=onging them.I am proud of them. The other form is motion mug and sponge holder as both forms have neoprene sponge bottoms applied and the bottom is covered up so not signing. Everything else has a signature aboiut 34 other forms.

The last forms are baby vases as the bottom is to small and any variation makes them unstable -they are less than 1/2 inch bottoms-still proud of them

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I sign, date take sole responsibility for everything I make. That doesn’t mean it’s all custom, but it is my work so why wouldn’t I. That said there could be reasons not to, but sign and date for me whenever possible. Mechanical, electrical and programming  designs that are mine whether I like it or not are my success or failure so I guess it’s an old habit now. It does remind me to try to do my best though. As far as others doing it, I am neutral really. It’s important to me for my stuff and consistent with what I have done for more than half a century.

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I agree fully with what's already been said about standing by everything you put out, and being identifiable to people who may be interested in more of what you have to offer.

When you say "soulless" pots, it evokes certain images of boring/unengaging work, or stuff you don't like making: stopgap items that you hate.

When I was being taught professional practices more than 20 years ago in art school, there was a prevailing attitude of snobbery toward making things that paid the bills or having a bread and butter line, as they were probably distractions from our "real" work. It went along with the ideas that no one would pay what a mug was worth so I shouldn't waste my time on them, and that having a website wasn't a good idea because it would conflict with and potentially undercut my galleries' efforts to sell on my behalf. 

 I think it's pretty safe to say that view isn't an accurate one now.

I think the folks who taught me that may have meant well, but they had it all backwards, and maybe had some scarcity issues.  You wind up spending a lot more time making your bread and butter stuff, so enjoying it is important to your long term happiness and continued ability to make work. Why work for yourself if you hate your job? 

 

 

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When I had to come to terms with the realization that (upon retiring from a non-art/clay career) I would not be in a position to be making the large ceramic sculptural pieces I hoped for, and  had some other constraints, I threw myself one heck of a pity party. It took me a couple of years to get over myself and get out from under the influence of art world elitism, in terms of self-valuation. I had to get to a place where I could humbly appreciate  putting my  signature stamp on the bread & butter pieces (paradoxically, with pride) as on something far more creative. Maybe the best approach, in terms of branding/marketing, is, as Min suggested, to have two different signature styles-one for the Etsy store stuff and one for the gallery biggies.

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10 minutes ago, Mark C. said:

register yours here for future generations to know who made it

Way cool---I just looked you up on the site and I want to do this! It appears one does not have to have a long-term substantive body of work, exhibited widely, tons of recognitions etc ---just the facts-you, the clay, some pieces, the signature etc.  Thx.

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I sign every piece I make whether it be an exotic pot or a mug or a spoon rest and get particular satisfaction when almost every person I've sold to actually looks at the bottom of the object to see if it is signed and is happy to see that it is...and since I log every piece that I make, I mark the bottom (using a glaze pencil) with a code that lets me reference the piece primarily for glaze application so that I can reproduce the look in the future.

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I guess the only things I don't sign are really small things, like buttons or jewelry.  They are far from soulless, just small.  I do have a small stamp with my call letters that I can put on really small things.  Customers do seem appreciate the attention to detail even on small pieces that I can make quickly.  Ornaments, buttons, etc.  I work on ways to give those things some special character.  

Roberta

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no dates, Not sure why but a date that is not recent just seems old. Have carted s few pots for multiple shows and then the right owner disovers it and bam, the best pot in the display. A date will take the shine off, a date makes it seem like an unsold lesser pot when really it just needed to be discovered by someone who was jazzed by it.

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10 minutes ago, Stephen said:

no dates, Not sure why but a date that is not recent just seems old. Have carted s few pots for multiple shows and then the right owner disovers it and bam, the best pot in the display. A date will take the shine off, a date makes it seem like an unsold lesser pot when really it just needed to be discovered by someone who was jazzed by it.

For me I make a new signature stamp every year so it's pretty easy for me to know how old it is.

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This discussion reminds me of an old clayarts thread.

The thread references Soetsu Yanagi and the romantic/idealistic notion of mingei.

Without getting into my distaste for the flippant use of terms like wabi-sabi the work of folks like Warren Mackenzie inspire a more humble approach to self promotion that unfortunately is sometimes at odds with the 'new-age' internet business model.

The influence of Soetsu Yanagis collection of essays: The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight Into Beauty seems to be slowly fading away unfortunately. We live in a vastly different world today which for better or worse underlines "[Soetsu Yanagi's] main criticism of individual craftsmen and modern artists...that they are overproud of their individualism."

Bernard Leach goes on to say "I think I am right in saying Yanagi's belief was that the good artist [or] craftsman has no personal pride because in his soul he knows that any prowess he shows is evidence of that Other Power. Therefore what Yanagi says is 'Take heed of the humble; be what you are by birthright; there is no room for arrogance'.”

These words were perhaps more easily lived even just 20 years ago.

I'd like to think my best work carries itself on it's own merits. My signature certainly adds very little even when legible.

 

 

Edited by C.Banks
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ya know I'm not sure any potters today will be viewed down the road as a name other than maybe a few sculptors. Functional potters like Leach, Mackenzie etc... have huge name recognition beyond other potters but I think they may have been the end of an era. Everything is so social media centric and that is so dominated by people known for being known. This thread though has me thinking about this though. I need to work harder at knowing who's doing what.

 

Edited by Stephen
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3 hours ago, Stephen said:

ya know I'm not sure any potters today will be viewed down the road as a name other than maybe a few sculptors. Functional potters like Leach, Mackenzie etc... have huge name recognition beyond other potters but I think they may have been the end of an era. Everything is so social media centric and that is so dominated by people known for being known. This thread though has me thinking about this though. I need to work harder at knowing who's doing what.

 

If you're thinking about that level of fame, that's a handful of people out of hundreds of thousands.  The same goes today.  Like I can rattle off a bunch of very talented, thoughtful and "famous" modern potters who will likely be just as famous as the leachs and hamadas.

But try focusing on the micro level, a potter may not be internet/worldwide famous, but they are well-known in their immediate area.  And really that's all that matters.  We don't look at 500 year old pots and go "oh that must be a Dorflenberger", no, it's just a beautiful pot in a museum that says the equivalent of John Doe on it.  

So I don't know. Be famous to the people who are closest to you, it's a lot more fulfilling in my opinion.  I don't expect my stamp to be recognized outside of the puget sound area, if ever.

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