During March we added 29 new topics and substantially updated the topic for Hof Pottery. We now have topics for all the Australian potters in the Fusions Permanent Collection whose marks we know as well as for New Zealanders Harry & May Davis and Royce McGlashen. A longstanding mystery potter turned out to be Harry Ashburner. Bryan & Teresa Burke and Graham Suttor contributed their stories. To top things off, I added some more biographies from Australian Pottery at Bemboka to Australian Potters’ Marks.
Illustrated: Sony Manning’s hybrid horse-wolf animal which she uses as a decorative motif to mark her work.
Here are the topics added or substantially updated in March 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.