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Three-dimensional imaging technology makes it possible to collect and compare data from the base, sides, and interior at the same time.Until these programs become widespread in the world of the visual arts, you can still use a visual checklist and your memory to compare a piece to examples you’ve seen before. If you are interested in collecting or furthering your knowledge of Art and Studio Pottery wonderful examples can be found in Skinner’s 20th Century Design auctions.You can train your eye to recognize nuances of glaze, decoration, and form by viewing pieces at galleries, studios, museums, and auction previews.Books and websites are helpful as well, but seeing the piece in person always leaves a more lasting impression.But how does one go about obtaining that experience? This visual checklist can help you begin to develop an expert’s eye when it comes to looking at and identifying pottery from Art Nouveau to present day studio pottery.Every potter and studio has a “visual signature,” meaning a style unique to that artist.Many people easily recognize the style of a Van Gogh or a Jackson Pollock painting – and the same type of familiarity is possible when it comes to pottery.Once you’ve seen enough examples of an artist’s work, you start to recognize similar pieces.
Van Briggle Pottery produced in 1905 can be found marked with a wider variety of Roman numerals including V, X, VV, and VX.Historically, potters used a clay local to the area where they worked, meaning that the clay type can reveal the location where a piece was made.Due to supply, demand, and improvements in the predictability of clay during forming and firing, potters today often buy clay from a supplier, and local clay is no longer a strong visual clue when it comes to identifying contemporary pieces.Small vessels used to test a new glaze or firing technique are rare and fun to find.The form, along with the glaze and decoration, is also an important aspect of the visual signature.
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The base of a piece of pottery also reveals the type of clay.