Review: Bonsai Vision, Jim Gollmer   Leave a comment

After reading about Bonsai Vision on web forum, BonsaiNut, posted by Bob Pressler of Kimura Bonsai, I was pleasantly surprised to find them at this years Shohin seminar in Santa Nella, Ca. After conversing with Jim Gollmer, owner operator of Bonsai Vision, it became apparent that he knew me while I had no clue who he was. He studies in the Central Valley at the Nursery of Kenji Miyata periodically with a study group there. Bob Pressler is a member of that group and this is his association with Jim.

Jim was there later in the morning and I was able to be there as he unpacked every box, handed them to me while I placed them on his shelving. I was able to handle every pot he brought to the seminar. They feel very good! These pot are finished in the traditional Yixing ware finish from China. Anyone that has ever owned a very nice Yixing ware pot will know how that finish feels. Soft as a babies butt. The detail of the feet and the finish is very good. These are not cheap looking pots. These are very finely finished pieces of art that any artist should be proud to put their tree in. The Kenji collection has been picked for color, shape and finish. They command a little more in price, but that is due to mostly shape and detail.

Many of the shapes of these pots are knock offs of famous Japanese artists like Begie, Yozan and Yamaaki. While these pots are not trying to flood the market with knock offs, they do provide a niche market for those that can’t afford the pottery of a Japanese artist, but can own a pot as seemingly well made but at less than half the cost.

A nice picture of Jim and Kenji.


Unpacking all those boxes.



Kenji’s wife helping out.




I just shot photo’s every so often as the shelves filled up.


007 (2)

007 008 (2)

There was lots of action at this booth all day. His pots went over very well.









While these pot look manufactured, they are not. Most of them are pounded clay placed in molds and finished by hand. the feet are glued on and small marks, tool slips and finger depression all can be found on the pots. These are character traits and add to the uniqueness of the pots and probably a lot of the reason Kenji finds them unique.

I bought two, but could have bought more than I could afford. It took a lot of willpower to not find an ATM close by and buy more. I need another shohin pot like a hole in the head. I made the very first purchase at this booth since I had claimed the front of the booth for nearly half an hour while we unpacked.


In this shot one can see some of the unevenness of the way the clay has been pounded in the mold. I think they call it a bumper.


All the pots in the Kenji collection have a makers Hanko. This pot did not. It was purpose bought for a certain tree so I was not looking to buy a pot just for that purpose.




This is the other pot I bought, again purpose bought for a certain tree.



This one has a hanko.


Just some shots showing the uniqueness and one-off feel of these pots.


If I have one negative to say about these two in particular is that the faux patina is sprayed on. In fact when seen from below, spray fan marks can be seen from the feet. I have other Chinese pots before with faux patina and it seems to always come off. This is a brand new pot and some of the faux patina is already gone. Jim Gremel brought in a huge order of pots from China that were very large in the 50.00 to 100.00 dollar range. They sold very well because a comparable pot from Japan would cost 5 or 6 hundred dollars. They had faux patina also and it would even come off when trying to put a tree in it and touching the pot with dirty hands. I would just a soon they stop the faux patina and just stick to a pot with clay color and let the pot develop its own patina.


Just for comparisons sake, Yixing pots are nothing new. They have been around for a long time and I have several dozen in my collection. Some are from the cultural revolution period and some are vintage like this one below. This pot is about 50 years old. Its not a large pot, but it is very sharp and crisp, and has a real nice finish on it. I no longer plant in it and it is just part of my collection now. Maybe some day with just the right plant I may think about it.




This is another Yixing pot from the late 60’s. It is octagon shaped and never been planted in.



Yixing ware has been around for centuries and the area is most famous for making purple sand tea pots. I have a pretty large Yixing ware tea pot collection and I am showing these two to show the finish a little more close up. I purposely allowed the flash to capture the sheen these pots have on the surface. They are burnished with leather to achieve the ultra polished look of polished leather.





This is another antique tea pot which happens to actually look like antique polished leather. One of my favorites in my collection.






Coming soon, a couple trees planted in a bonsai Vision pot. I hope I have given you something to help make a decision to buy one of these fine pots. I will be buying plenty more in the future. So many glazed ones….so little time….

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