In April, we must have had time on our hands as we added a record 32 entries. These are an interesting mix of new finds, potters whose works we know well like Phillip McConnell and Edward and Margaret Shaw, and potters whose marks we still only know from the printed directories. (One of my aims in 2015 is to have as many of these as possible converted to linked entries.) David and I bought a small collection of Queensland pottery which included two fine pieces by Toowoomba potter Stephen Day, one of the original Friary Pottery trainees. He is now known as Devil, meriting a separate entry in Australian Potters’ Marks. Les Peterkin contacted me and provided a number of images to add to his entry. (I particularly love the seafood platter.) An eBay listing for a John Van Dyk lidded bottle helped us to solve yet another of our long-term intractable marks. This month’s group is the North Shore Craft Group and we would welcome more information about past and present members and their marks.
Illustrated: Devil (impressed) with SD (impressed) – sideways – stamps used by Stephen Day / Devil after 1995.
Here are the topics added or substantially updated in April 2015:
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.