In August 2016, we added 20 new topics to Australian Potters’ Marks and updated two more. Among the new names are South Australians Thelma Fisher and Rosemary Madigan of Bindara Pottery who learnt their craft by from Kelly Koster by demonstration; and Mary and William Hick who taught pottery at the Student Union of Monash University. Quite a few of the topics this month come from found examples, including work made in Queensland for sale through party plan that just have a Cooperware mark. We don’t yet yet know yet know who made and supplied the products so any information would be gratefully received. Among entries still to be written for potters from the printed directories that provided the seed data, Michel Boulay, Beverley Boulton and Kathryn Soanes were added this month. August’s group is the Darling Downs Potters’ Club and we welcome more information about their members and marks.
Illustrated: The painted M ² mark used by Marymae Trench.
Here are the topics added or updated in August 2016:
Welcome to our 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: From 1977-1996, the Australian Potters’ Society published eight printed directories with short biographies and images of marks. The seed data for this project was derived from these directories. Other sources included Geoff Ford’s Encyclopaedia of Australian Potters Marks, Skepsi’s Celebrating the Master exhibition catalogue and the images of marks included in The Journal of Australian Ceramics from 2010 onwards.
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. Members of the Identifying Australian Pottery group on Flickr have been creating topics for identified potters, with images of marks, and I am linking these to the index entries as they are created. I’m also archiving the images of identified marks in a separate Flickr account where they can be browsed alphabetically and by state.
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 and to keep adding entries and images as information comes to hand.