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Welcome

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.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. Thank you for kicking this off Judith. The detective work required to identify most late 20th Century pottery is half the fun of collecting it – but it’s frustrating if you fail to trace the maker. I can understand why a book wouldn’t be able to cover 10,000+ potters and their multiple marks and look forward to watching and even helping your database grow.

    Like

    Posted by Smokey Steel | March 30, 2012, 1:05 pm
    • Hi Smokey Steel. I think there’ll still be lots of detective work required, but at least the finding tools will be more accessble. And there’s always the fun – and frustration – of marks faintly impressed or obscured by glaze, illegible signatures, and beautifully made pots completely unmarked.

      Like

      Posted by Judith | March 31, 2012, 7:49 pm
      • Judith
        Identifying beautifully made pottery which is “unsigned”
        can be done by comparing
        it with similar pieces in public/private collections.
        There are a few very knowledgable pottery collectors
        who may be able to assist.
        I have a few reference books
        that could help

        Like

        Posted by Vic Langsam | April 1, 2014, 12:41 pm
  2. Yes, some potters do have very distinct styles and the higher the quality, the shorter the list of possible makers but it can still be hard. The Australian Potters’ Marks project would certainly welcome the help of other serious pottery collectors in helping to identify both marked and unmarked works.

    Like

    Posted by Judith | April 1, 2014, 3:33 pm

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Image pool

Images of Australian potters' marks on Flickr

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