Monday, June 28, 2010


Shoji Hamada was arguably one of the best mark makers in pottery of the last century. His repeated use of the sugarcane motif was casual, engaging and very prominently articulated his pottery. There are a number of good mark makers today; Tom Coleman, Michael Simon and Ron Meyers spring to mind.

Like many potters, though I understand the importance of the mark (and line) on clay and as a decoration, it takes years to develop a vocabulary of marks that work well and are responded to. Good marks add value to a pot and help establish it’s form and gesture.

I use a variety of marks, some from cartoons, historical examples and some just happened on for my pottery. I try to match the right marks with the right surfaces and pots and am always looking to improve with the help of critical analysis of collectors, potters and critics. As Soetsu Yanagi points out; “unless a thing attracts the mind it is not a thing; unless the mind gives life to a thing it is not as yet complete”. Good marks engage the mind, completing a process started by the potter and help bring the pot to fruition.