Hi Everybody,

Today, I’m going to talk about the interesting benefits about having some knowledge about how pottery is made in relation to buying and selling from fairs or auctions. Having some understanding of the processes involved in pottery, including being able to tell if a piece is earthenware or stoneware and if it’s slip casted or made by hand, is not only useful for identifying different types of pottery, it also adds enjoyment if you visit an art gallery, craft, or antiques centre.

As an example, if you walk into a large antiques centre, the amount of stock can be overwhelming, so you need to focus on your area of expertise, which is pottery! It would be even better, if you focus on a period of ceramics, for example, it could be 20th century studio ceramics, Doulton, Troika or any one of the big pottery firms or makers. So, systematically go through the centre looking for just pots. There will be some bargains hidden there and if it’s an antique centre you’re in and not a gallery, ask for a 10% discount, which you may get if you explain you’re a dealer in ceramics (get a business card made that states this…). Look at each stall, especially ones tucked away in corners and notice if items appear to have been there quite a while. How much dust there is on the pottery is often a good indication. Once you find a piece you may be interested in, you need to check it out. Identify it, check for any damage or repairs, figure out if it’s genuine, how it is made and decorated.

Depending on what type of pottery you’re looking at, identification may be easy if it’s a piece of Clarice Cliff, Troika or Wedgwood, but it becomes more problematic if it’s modern studio ceramics, as you would have to look for the potters’ marks. If this is the area of your interest, I would recommend focusing on listed potters from the 70s – 80s.

Next, check for any damage, as cracks or chips massively decrease the value of pottery. Don’t be afraid to pick the items up, examine them, take a torch, hold them up and see if there are any hairline cracks. Do the flick test with your fingernail, just ping it and see if it has a nice ring. Other things to note are if the piece has a faint line of glaze around it then it will have been slip casted; if it’s brightly coloured it will be earthenware; if subtle, mottled coloured then stoneware; if it has a regular intricate design, it may have been decorated with a ceramic transfer.

See how you get on and let me know, I will talk more about this subject this year and remember to enjoy it and have fun.


Image sourced from Pixabay Images, artist: Alperomeresin.