Signing the bottom of our pieces is likely a more important step of the process than you might think. It's often overlooked and if we do think about it, our focus is on our ability to show off our piece's unique, handmade quality by an original, handwritten signature and sometimes a number.
We should think again...
We need to think of the mark on the bottom of our pieces as an opportunity to share our work and allow customers to trace us back so they can buy from us again. And again. Annnd again.
I clearly remember the time that I had a beautiful fruit bowl given to us as a wedding gift. I loved the soft blue and white glazes melting together and wanted to check out the artist and buy additional pieces!
However, when I turned the bowl over to look at the bottom and find out who made it, the signature left me guessing. I couldn’t make out the name at all, and was never able to get connected with the artist. This was such a shame, because I would have loved to support and buy more pottery from them.
From that moment, I realized the importance of having a clear signature on the bottom of my pieces, and I still stand by it today.
Here are a few tips that will help when designing your signature for your pieces:
How I stamp/sign my pieces:
Those are the exact tips that I used when I first made my signature. Many of you have asked me for the nitty gritty details, so I'm handing over my *signature* process! (sorry, I had to make that joke.)
It is fairly simple, and only requires a couple of tools: a rubber stamp and underglaze ink pad.
I use a customized rubber stamp of my logo that I had made by a brilliant creative I found on Etsy and a lot of people have asked me for her name because she did an incredible job! You can check her out here.
When I created my stamp, I didn't just include my logo, but I also had my full name added underneath. My logo means nearly nothing to a stranger and isn't google-able. If you have a common last name, you'll probably want to include your first name to help your customers find your website when they search for you.
I find it best to stamp the piece when it is bone, dry before it goes into the bisque firing. There's two reasons why:
Each time I stamp my pieces, I add more ink in between stamps to ensure a nice crisp mark is made. And that's it! Then the pieces get fired and the underglaze holds up to the light sanding of the bottom of the pots.
Now I have a signature that is clear, searchable, AND quick and easy to create (contrary to hand brushing oxides or underglazes).
Let me know if you give this method a try!