The Australian Potters Marks project is three years old this month and we have made significant progress over the last year. in particular, we have broken the 1500 barrier! As of today, there are 1522 entries in the alphabetic list and 1169 (more than 75%) of these are linked to topics in the Identifying Australian Pottery group on Flickr. The 353 entries that are still unlinked come from the printed directories used as seed data for the project. Hopefully we will be able to keep whittling down this number between making new discoveries during 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.