Monday, August 24, 2009

Pot Stamps and Signatures

Here's a couple of examples of interesting signatures.
Notice the handmade bisque stamp with the marks on the jug at the left.
I'm not so sure I would want a face under the handle of a jug, but you have to admit, once seen, not forgotten quickly.
This philosophy is a basic idea of advertising; make your product/pitch/impression memorable.
If you think about it, you really DO want the public to recognize you and your work. At least in this world, at present, the concept of product branding is so prevalent in our culture, it has become an integral part of selling your work.
Along those lines of thinking, I once read a suggestion that an artist should also include the town you live as part of your mark. That people will buy local artist's work as a memento of a trip or as a gift for family members or friends. I'm not so sure I want that to be the basis of why someone buys my work: To be classified as an interesting souvenir, but then, who can know the mind of every customer. People buy things for all kinds of reasons and I'm there to sell my work, right?
I'm also not sure that will make it more likely a piece would sell, but it might be worth considering....especially if you happen to live and work in a vacation spot or notable place.

So, back to stamps: This is an exceptionally nice custom made stamp.
I have seen these at the commercial exhibit at NCECAs and many people swear by them.

Having your own stamp made is not cheap, but I doubt you would need any more than one. The impression is very nice and crisp.
Check out his website at

2 comments: said...

I heartily agree that it's important to allow one's customer to be able to commemorate a purchase, when one is out of ear-shot. If I owned an Andy Warhol I'd be dragging folks up by their shirt fronts to look at the signature. For most clay artists it's in the chop or signing of the work. Rarely do western potters, Ron Nagle comes to mind as an exception here, pass along an especially constructed container with a piece festooned with makers's mark and subsequently owner marks and the long chain which occurs with certain notable pieces over the years. I have read about a couple of clay artists who've eschewed any marks. "The work speaks for itself". Also, historically, tilers making for roofing, or flooring have not chopped work. A for instance and needs elaboration which I'm sure it's got through someone's beknighted PhD. I use a simple chop for everyday ware, but have begun to sign exhibition or hugely ambitionus large one-offs. I'm also registered in Godden's Marks for the UK as I worked there for several years. I'd be hard pressed to prove provenance on my Lucy Rie/Hans Coper pieces without their combined chop. I live in the real world as do many colleagues. It's a given to sign work, just document any especial changes, and possibly lodge it with one's Important Papers and legacies.

clayartist said...

One group in the US that I know of that has made an attempt to register marks is The Potter's Council, an offshoot of National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA).

NCECA began mainly as a professional organization of educators, but over the years studio potters have increased in the ranks and Potter's Council initially sprang from that group, although I think now there are members from the full spectrum.

Thanks for your comment. Very illuminating.