As of today, Australian Potters’ Marks has 800 entries,of which 280 are linked to topics in Identifying Australian Pottery on flickr. In the image pool, there are 475 marks, or 1.7 marks per topic.
Some potters work as individuals, making one-off pieces under a single mark. Others may produce a production line under one mark and one-off pieces under another. Couples may make pieces individually under their own marks while working together on a production line. Some potters take in trainees and apprentices who use a workshop mark on work designed by the master potter. Some potteries operate on an industrial basis to produce large volumes for sale under a company name.
There are separate entries in the list for each of these instances of professional practice, with related entries linking to the same topic so that the full story can be told there. Hence topics can be devoted to just one potter (e.g., Greg Daly), to a couple (e.g., Steve Harrison and Janine King), to a team (e.g., Ian Dowling’s Margaret River Pottery), or to an incorporated business (e.g., Old Ballarat Pottery). The list is a strictly controlled index to the topics, while the topics themselves are discursive and open-ended, providing an ongoing narrative that supports research in-progress.
As an example, the topic on John Dermer has four related entries in the list:
- Dermer, Helen – Kirby’s Flat Pottery, Yackandandah HED (impressed) or Yackandandah Pottery Victoria HED (impressed)
- Dermer, John – JD in circle (impressed) , 1982, 1985, 1986]; also Kirby’s Flat Pottery, Yackandandah JD (impressed) or Yackandandah Pottery JD (impressed), or John Dermer (incised)
- Kirby’s Flat Pottery – Kirby’s Flat Pottery Yackandandah (impressed)
- Yackandandah Pottery – Yackandandah Pottery (impressed)
Helen Dermer is Dermer’s first wife. Works marked HED are evidence of her importance to the family business during those years. The pottery stamps identify production line works to which sales tax applied. Both Helen and John marked the production line pieces they made themselves. We know the name of one of Dermer’s trainees – Doug Westland, who later set up his own pottery at Yackandandah – but his work at Kirby’s Flat would not have been separately identified.
Ilustrated: John Dermer’s impressed JD mark.