The turned foot of a bowl, I seem to be making them taller and taller as time goes by. They stand more elegantly and it leaves a touch more room for my small maker’s mark, pressed carefully into the foot after it’s been trimmed. As my foot-rings are quite fine, the process of impressing the stamp pushes some clay upward, creating a little bump on the base of the ring that must be quickly trimmed away after each piece is signed.
I adore this little stamp, my porcelain keychain of marks of various sizes is probably my most prized possession made during my time at Maze Hill Pottery. The fact they were hand carved from a block of porcelain and were fired hidden away in the soda kiln only makes them that more special and indeed the mark more personal, compared perhaps to those plastic perfect seals that are often used.
I have some wood-fired pieces by the potter Nic Collins who signs his pots dramatically across the base like you would on a piece of paper. I rather like it and the fact they’re wood-fired makes it even better as the pronounced flashing and molten ash cover it. It’s very fitting with his style of work as is how Lisa Hammond signs her pots, lots have the ‘MHP’ seal but on her one off vessels she scratches in her symbol using a biro pen, it’s scored in quickly and fits well with the faceted coarse clays and poured slips. It also lead to pens that work being a treasured possession to find in the pottery. What I’m getting at is that handmade pots feel better with a stamp that reflects how it looks, if you were to have very loosely made pots that were soda fired and marked with an immaculate laser cut stamp it would look odd, equally spotless pots pristinely made signed with a spontaneous scrawl would feel, to me, strange. Of course there’ll always be exceptions but for the most part it rings true.