In September, we added 16 new topics and significantly updated the entries for Geurt Bout and Yarra Glen Pottery. I was reminded of the importance as a resource of Ceramics in South Australia, 1836-1986 : from folk to studio pottery / by Noris Ioannou (Adelaide : Wakefield Press, 1986) after images of some works by Geurt Bout were posted on the Facebook Australian Pottery group. This group has almost 1,000 members now. It deals mainly with earlier Australian pottery but there is some overlap with our project. An Australian Studio Pottery Collectors group has also been set up on Facebook. Our members contribute to both these groups and it is wonderful to see knowledge being shared across both platforms. The new information on Yarra Glen Pottery came from Anthony Durro, who worked at Yarra Glen from 1988-1998. He had posted reminiscences of that time in recent issues of the Western Suburbs Clayworkers Newsletter. Amongst the new topics, we confirmed Ray Blaber’s identity through a paper label posted on Facebook. I was also contacted during the month by the son of our mystery pottery Rowe, now identified as Ian Rowe of Rowe’s Hill Pottery.
Illustrated: Janette Loughrey’s painted signature on one of her brightly coloured bowls.
Here are the topics added or significantly updated in September 2014:
Welcome to our new project to make the marks used by Australian potters easy to find on the Internet. This will be a huge, open-ended task. My guess is that more than 10,000 potters have practiced professionally in Australia over the last fifty years, often using more than one mark to identify their work.
The seed data: At the moment, the main sources for images of marks are the directories published by the Australian Potters’ Society from 1977-1996. Geoff Ford’s Encyclopaedia of Australian Potters Marks has entries for 50 or so studio potters active before 1975, and Skepsi’s Celebrating the Master exhibition catalogue includes images of marks. The Journal of Australian Ceramics has also started including images of marks in issues published from 2010 onwards. None of these are available online, so I have extracted descriptions of these marks from my database and used them to seed this resource.
The platform: I’ve chosen two freely available social networking sites to gather and share the data. The index is hosted here on wordpress.com and I’ll also blog regularly to report on progress. Discussions about potters and their marks will take place on the Identifying Australian Pottery group on Flickr, and Flickr will also provide a means of sharing images and building a searchable and browsable image pool.
The images: The seed data describes marks a potter used and which sources have images of those marks. This is a quantum leap over what was previously available online, but having acces to both descriptions and images would, I know, be wonderful. Members of the Identifying Australian Pottery group on Flickr have started to create topics for identified potters, with images of marks, and I am linking these to the index entries as they are created. It will take a while to build up a critical mass of entries with links, but it will happen. I’m also archiving the linked images in a separate Flickr account where they can be sorted alphabetically. The browsable image pool is tiny at the moment but, like the linked entries, it will grow over time.
A work in progress: While already a useful resource, work has only just begun. Now it will be up to all of us – potters, their families and heirs, collectors, curators, historians, buyers and sellers on the secondary market – to pool our knowledge. I’ll keep adding new potters and links, as the information comes to hand.