Archive for the ‘Spotlight on Pots’ Category

Tripper Gets a makeover.   2 comments


This small California juniper got it’s name back in 2005 after I tripped over it coming down off the mountain collecting a larger juniper. It had a long branch that came out sideways and it caught my foot and I went down, shoval, pack and juniper in slow motion like a skateboarder wiping out on a crack in the sidewalk. The stub from that bastard branch is pointing right at us, and when I finally got my bearings and stood up, I looked at the stupid tree and kicked the shit out of it. The branch was badly cracked and I sort of grinned. Serves you right stupid tree. I grabbed a hold of it and shook it, and the action from the glorious tripping action, coupled with the well deserved kick had loosened the tree considerably. Hmm… if I cut that stupid branch off and dig a little I can take this scrawny tree home too. Fifteen minutes later…I was bringing two trees down the mountain. When I got home I was not prepared for an extra tree and so planted it out in this mop bucket. It really isn’t very big.

I have virtualized the roots off, but it literally had no roots just like this picture. I just sawed off the two large roots holding the tree in the ground. They could have been 50 feet or longer.


This was the photo I removed the roots off of to show how well these things can bounce back if they decide to play. This one did and I put it into a pot for the first time. The reason for putting it into a show pot so soon is just a matter of, the tree is only going to move so fast, and since it take many years to get something good foliage wise to work with, doing so in a bonsai pot is just as good as a large box. I’m not building trunk size nor large branches, and the tree will push mostly whips to style with anyway.


So by now I had a pretty good tree. It was taking shape really well and the tree was gaining strength every year. The tree was in a very nice Chinese pot. I still have this pot and I need something cool to put into it.


For some unexplained reason the entire left side of the tree died. Probably the roots on that side gave up, or it burnt up from sun exposure on that side, I’ll never know.


The tree had been growing along in the pot for the last five years gaining strength and getting ready for me to insult it yet again. I pulled the tree from the pot and found lots of roots…..all on the right side of the tree. In fact the roots were strong and one of them in five years grew to over 4.5 feet long, winding itself around in the pot three times. How they do this is a mystery.

Here is a photo of the roots coming from the right side of the tree. The left side is now dead.

The reason for this repot this year and feeling like this one could go another year without working on it, was that the tree was very loose in the pot. I suspect that as the left side died off the wire holding in the tree on that side did nothing and the tree just continued to loosen. I decided that it needed much more of a base to sit on. I screwed a piece of plywood to the bottom of the tree.

Upon setting the tree in the pot, it was much to low. I added a couple sticks to elevate it and tied it all in with wire.

This pot from the Seizan kiln and potter Katsushi Kataoka.

This pot has plenty of drainage holes.

The tree is now ready for work. It is very stable now after filling with soil and the tree does not rock any more. I was really afraid that the way it rocked I might break roots and kill the right side too. Now it is safe.

I begin the tedious task of wire on all these whips and shoots.

I was able to wire out all the branches , though I was not happy with the middle portion, being long on some branches. They would have to be repositioned or cut shorter as they went up the tree.  I’ll do that later but now I want to dress the soil.

I started by leaving the soil low about 1/4 inch below the rim of the pot. I began to add a layer of fine akadama to the coarser soil that the tree grows in. This is very small akadama. I don’t do this to my trees as a general rule, but I have an exhibition coming up in March and I may want to exhibit this tree and the soil will look better if it has had time to “age” before exhibiting.

The soil surface now is covered, and the pot rim is about an 1/8 inch from the akadama. I spray the surface with a spray bottle and let it sit for five minutes. I spray again and let set for five minutes. Now the surface is ready, the akadama has been drenched and now will allow the components to “glue” to the soil surface. This allows the edge of the moss to adhere and not dry out and curl up like I have seen sometimes, or dry out and crack.

I collected the moss in my usual private moss collecting site. This is the good stuff, very fine and no long hairs like the way sphagnum can look.

The moss I collect is growing on red clay. It is exactly what akadama looks like when it gets wet. I use a spray bottle and spray each piece and then take my knife and carve and scrape away the clay around all the edges. I do this at an angle and leave the original thickness in the middle. When I apply it to the soil surface, it creates a dome of moss as it drapes over that which I leave in the middle.

I begin planting all over the soil surface. I leave some spaces so that I can come back and put in different colored moss for a change of color and texture. As I work I spray the patches of moss with water and press them down hard into the soft akadama.

It is mostly filled in now and I came back and add some other details, like lichens and deer moss cut and teased out into smaller pieces.

After it is done I come back in and sift on fine akadama, lava particles. Only what sifts thru a window screen. This seals the spaces between the moss and keeps the whole thing from drying out, but still able to pass air and water thru the matt.

The tree is finished and the branches adjusted or pruned for shape. I took the final pictures, one on a grass matt and one on blue felt.

It dawns on me that the original pot has already been made better this year with the repot of this maple.

Cutting Back an Old Pyracantha   1 comment


This pyracantha was taken from the parking lot of a shopping center under demolition. I dug five and have two left. Two didn’t make it and one I traded for another piece of material. They were taken in the heat of summer and for a pyracantha that would be great for a repot on a tree with great roots, but these were basically ripped from the ground to stay ahead of the demo equipment. That two survived is a miracle. When I dug this tree I intended for it to be a shohin size tree. It seemed quite small, but 16 years ago my idea on how tall a Shohin tree should be was larger than 8 inches!

It began to bounce back and started pushing green things. This large tub, probably twenty gallon, has a lot of fluff over the top of the soil. Mostly dead leaves from the trees it is under.

Within two years I had put it into it’s first pot. It was during this time that I made the five walnut stands. The dark spot on the right side of the trunk is about the line that was shown above sticking out of the soil. The interesting part now showing was buried. The tree is about 12 inches tall.

In 2006 I repotted in another pot. This one was a tad too small. Branches are beginning to elongate.

In 2007 it went into a different pot. This one was deeper but still on the small side. At this point I was trying to develop layers in the branch structure. At this point I should have paid more attention to structure rather than outline.

In 2008 I purchased this pot from Kanemi Muranaka. I wish I had it back but it had a hairline crack in it and I sold it with a plant many years ago. That same stand finished.

This is typical two month growth. Lots of shoots that can be trained but cutting them back short needs to be done almost daily. A working man hardly has a chance. The thorns makes this like pruning a rattlesnake.

In 2011 I put it into this large shallow oval pot. Unglazed in a dark brown. I liked this pot and had it been finely glazed I would have kept it in this container.

In 2017 I potted into this Tanibanchi pot from Garrett Ryan.

In Spring of 2018 I entered it into the local Kazari exhibition. The year of the teal stand!


Its been 17 years since any major work has been done to this tree. Most of the branches have grown very large and that is mostly due to the growing nature of the material. Since pyracantha grow from any where on wood, new or old, they constantly send out shoots. The shoots they send out tend to be almost always on the upper part of the branch , straight up. It is very time consuming constantly pruning off this unwanted growth in favor of side shoots. The side shoots are sparse and seem to be sub dominate.

Pyracantha is an evergreen and never stops growing. It may slow down in winter, but it does grow. I started by removing all the leaves so I can evaluate all the options. At this point, the top portion with leaves is where I want the canopy to finish, at just the line between no leaves and leaves. I just feel the tree continues to get taller and I don’t like the long neck the tree is developing.

Looking at dead center upper middle we see this thin tall straight section.

This section right here. For me this is tremendously distracting and a part of the tree that always bothered me, but did not know how to correct it due to the nature of how the tree is made.

If I rotate the pot about 15 degrees to the right I can see how the top is put together. There are two distinct branches that make up this crown.

The part in red comes off low on the back of the trunk, and it has a little wiggle in there. The branch in blue, jut out just above the jin portion of the trunk since collection. It moves out right and becomes a primary branch. So all along it has never really been as simple as just cutting it down, because there is nothing to cut down to. One would actually remove everything and start over, which is something I never wanted to do. There is something in there I can show at least so that is a goal to work towards.

Pyracantha’s really never build a twiggy branch structure. They build foliage by shoots. They will shoot all over branches and for the most part straight up. This close up shows all the stubs sticking straight up.

These areas had become clogged with foliage and were not tidy. I will make it my job to fix these areas and build finer branch structure here.

At this point I have done some really invasive pruning. Taking out heavy growth that is doing noting other than elongating branches and adding nothing to the composition other than just increasing size. My wish is to force more lateral branching on the heavy branches I will keep in favor of the straight up type of growth. I am hoping that being retired will give me the time to keep this up, and after a season or two I may have three pyracantha for sale! In this view I have reduced the top and turned the tree to show that double area in the middle that gives a thicker impression rather than the straight bottle neck I had. It’s not perfect but I can’t go lower, so find a better view.

Here is the same view head on and the thin bottle neck. Just scroll back and fourth and see the difference.

Now I have really gotten crazy and reduced the top even further. I still wanted the tree shorter and I am whittling it down.

I needed to get this in a pot so I could see what I was working with on a new front. The pot was really full of roots after two years. The roots had pulled the screen right out of the holes and a full 1/2 inch of roots between the screens and pot bottom.

The tree is repotted and this is the new view. I like seeing the better transition between the trunk and the apex. It seems to have some shaped wood there rather than a 5 inch long straight section.

I just can’t stop. Each time I take a photo, I see places where I don’t wish to try and build on portions that are too long. I want finer branching in closer to the trunk and not so far out. I am getting closer.

This branch is really distracting. Covered with foliage it would barely be seen. I would know it’s there. I have taken off so much, I can’t leave it when I have the pruners in hand.

So I have covered all the aspects of the flaws I wished to work on this go around. I have changed the front to show the two branches that make up that straight area that wasn’t seen before. I have pruned back all the areas that were clogged with overly long foliage shoots and a multitude of straight up shoot stubs.

Keeping the right side shorter and the left side longer for slanting tree counter balance.

The obligatory drama shot.

So what ever happened to all those branches that I cut off?

I pushed them all into a colnader of soil and will hope they all take as cuttings. Some of the branches were over seven inches long and made ready made trees with wire and sub branches still on them. Then some of them were only a couple inches long, but if they root will make some little Shito trees for a collection of pots I have.

This is the collection of Shito Thumb pots I have. Some of those little trees may look pretty cool in one of these.

Pyracantha being a pretty masculine tree will look right at home in this Ken To “Man Sack” pot!

Winter Shohin Displays   Leave a comment

I love the winter time and playing with trees like I played with my trains when I was a kid. I had the backdrop up from taking pictures of the pots and decided to take the opportunity to shoot some tree too. When displaying trees on a tiered rack or box stand some thought has to go into the pairing of the trees. I toyed with three displays. Let me explain my madness.

Lets look at an initial set up. Four trees and an accent. The trees seem prepared correctly. Groomed and pots cleaned. Due to the size of the stand and the height of the trees, peripheral stands are kept to a minimum. I only used a very thin stand at the top under the main tree. This is a slanting tree and since all the rest of the trees under it would talk to one and other, this top tree would set the direction of a stand alone accent if it had been used. In this case my table is rather short and just enough room for the rack, so the accent was placed in the space in the middle which is a bad position for a tree. The accent is on a small round Chinese stand. I like the interplay of the trees and the assortment of colors with in the display. Only the pine is in an unglazed container which is appropriate.

So, the eye is immediately drawn towards the red Saraku pot with the elm in it. Following the trunkline, the eye is taken right out of the display. Obviously it is pointed in the wrong direction. The trident in the turquoise Koyo pot according to the movement of the trunk upon exit of the soil is to the left. That should be correct for placement on the right side of the display rack. The problem is after that two thirds of the weight of the branch mass points to the right. Visually it moves right. I need to switch the two trees. My problem, I don’t want the shape of the trident to compete for placement with the pine. I want more visual separation between the pine and the maple.

So what I did was turn the rack around. I placed the trees in the same positions on the rack, but now they face the other way. I also removed the small stand from the accent and placed it on a small plinth. Now I like it.

Pots; Pine-Yamaaki, Elm-Saraku, Trident-Koyo, Twin trunk Trident-Barrett, accent-Sharon Muth

In this next display, we pay homage to Maple in Winter.

Once again I like the interplay between trees. Even though they are all the same, each one is different. There is variety in the pots with many different colors and visual textures. The playful stripes of the Satomi pot mingles well with the broken crackle glaze of the Keizan above. As I step back and look the small trident in the bottom is definitely pointed the wrong way. The tree above, another trident, the weight of the canopy pulls the eye right. The wrong position for this tree. Again I have no way to turn around the small tree.

After turning the stand around again, I can put the small maple back into the small space for that tree. I have only chosen to place the small maple on a stand this time and left out stands on all the others. 1. they carry enough visual weight. 2. they are pretty tall trees to be on a stand on a stand. Ecah tree becomes to vertical. After moving the trees around I decided to leave the two larger trees alone and put them where they were but at different levels. I allow the bottom of the trunks to dictate direction. The canopies are to subtle to make a difference in my mind. I am happy with this display.

Pots; Trident-April Grigsby, Rident-Banko, Trident-Keizan, Trident Satomi, Accent-Sharon Muth.

Mixed bag display.

This display contains many species of tree. Once again we see a stand under the small pine on top. Two of the pots are similar in color and the pot on the olive disappears on the dark background. I like the display but the Willowleaf is pointed the wrong direction.

I liked the configuration of the stand and trees and so to fix the problem, traded places with the olive and the willowleaf. Even though the small trunk leaving the large base on the olive exit right, the canopy is large enough, and well balanced to the eye to make much of a difference. Not enough to tear the whole thing apart. This display contains a pine on top, a slanted Japanese maple, a willowleaf fig, and the olive.

Pots; Pine-Bigei, Japanese Maple-Yamafusa, Willowleaf Fig-Emie, Olive-Yamafusa

The Japanese Maple above right was repotted today for this exercise. It was repotted into this Yamafusa pot.

Hint: Rotate the pot and find the side with the best pattern. Many times a person will repot into a pot that has a texture in the glaze only to find when done the best side now faces the back of the tree. Don’t be a Bo Bo, check both sides.

Uninteresting glaze on this side.

This side of the pot has much more interest in the glaze detail with a wave of texture in the glaze with the dark crystals. This is the side we will use for the front.

Close ups of the pots. These pots were not in the cleaning pots post. These are much more expensive pots.

April Grigsby, April is an exceptional potter. She pays a lot of attention to the form and function, and that is important for the health of the tree. This pot is exceptional because finding deeper Shohin pots is very hard. Mokko shape with transparent leaf green glaze. Rather masculine is stature but the rather feminine nipple feet soften the feel. $$$

Yamaaki Kiln, Second Generation Potter Kataoka Sadamitsu, Unglazed rectangle with high sides for plant health and cut corners. Ultra smooth finish and simple lines make this masculine pot a favorite for a pine.  $$$$

Koyo Kiln, potter Aiba Kouichirou. Traditional oval shape with sloping sides and rather deep walls for health. Famous for his oribi glaze with burst crystals. $$$$

Yamafusa kiln, Koie Takehiko. Rounded rectangle style with rather low sides. Gentle sloping sides, and no lip and enough volume to keep a maple happy. Oribi glaze with black crystals.  $$$$

James Barrett, a home potter that has been around since bonsai came to America. His pottery is known world wide and is all over the United States. He has won numerous awards with his pottery and this pot is no exception. The thick snow type glaze expands in the kiln breaking open and creating texture. Oval pot style, slip cast from his own molds.  $$

Yamafusa kiln, Koie Takehiko. This small oval pot has gentle sloping sides, no lip,  and has enough depth to keep a tree happy. This one is glazed dark Indigo Blue, almost black. It contrasts well with the olive inside it.  $$

Saraku, One of the more modern pot makers out there. Very contemporary styles with different feet and legs. This pot has flat out turned edge and the unique feet keep this one a center of attention. Outlandish glaze colors make this potter a favorite. $$$$

Satomi Terahata, A prolific potter in the shohin genre. His pots are typically painted and glazed. Typical lipless oval. Very small pots and barely usable for a maple.  $$$

Bigei Kiln, Atsumi Hirata. One of the best old potters from Japan. His pots are vy far the most worked and smoothest you will ever feel. His clay is burnished and fired leaving a pot with a feel of velvet. Mostly unglazed but I do have a glazed Bigei pot. This basket weave is most unusual, and no lip. He also likes to make pots with nail heads and rivets.  $$$$

Youzan, (Eimei) – Artist ; Shimizu Hideaki. Rounded rectangle in oribi glaze with no crystals. Out turned lip with good depth. Functional Shohin pot.   $$$

Banko Good solid oval pot with interesting double glaze effect. Out turned lip and smooth finish. Great depth , good for any Shohin size plant. I have this in rectangle also.  $$$

Keizan Kiln, potter Hisada Shizuo. This formal rectangle has sloping sides and out turned lip. The antique tan crackle glaze makes this a very sought after pot. I am lucky to have this. $$$$

Sharon Muth, this small hand made pinch pot is not unlike hundreds made over the years by many people wishing to make their first pot. The turquoise foamy glaze, intermingled with black,  is what makes this special.  $

$………15.00 to 30.00+

$$…….40.00 to 75.00+

$$$….100.00 to 175.00+

$$$$..180.00 to 400.00+

Cleaning pots today!   7 comments

I have a lot of Shohin pots. A lot. I have no idea what a lot is to other people but I have over a hundred, and not cheapies either. Most of these were pots that had been potted in past years and put into a box in the garage and hidden for a decade. Today I decided to clean them up which is a pain staking job. There is nothing better than patina on a pot, showing its age and use, but patina and calcium buildup are two different things. Most patina comes from the use of fertilizer and all the organic stuff that gets trapped in the goo….which is what the patina is. Frankly I don’t really like a fertilizer patina and think it dulls the pot so much that lots of the detail gets lost. That’s just me.

So today was a day of starting over and bringing them back into shape and ready for repotting and anything I might want to pot coming up. I have started the process and have planted out new trees that were ready for a pot into some pots I had cleaned earlier in the week ahead of the repotting. So without further a do, let’s see what I cleaned.

If I know the potter I will give the name otherwise I am lost on who it is. Tomorrow I will post the chops and maybe someone can fill in the details.





Jim Barrett

Heian Kosen

Yamaaki Second Generation

Sarah Raynor

Yamaaki Toshio



Gary Wood


Jim Barrett

Matsumoto Takashi

Peter Macaseib

Jim Barrett

Gary Wood

Dick Ryerson

Peter Macaseib


Jim Barrett



Bob Kelenjia

Jim Gremel











Yamaaki Toshio

Posted January 3, 2020 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Pots

Tagged with , , , , ,

Walsall Studios, David Jones   1 comment

Walsall Studio Ceramics

was formed by David Jones in 1986 with the aid of the Princes Youth Business Trust.

After a short period he was joined by Ian Smith and this partnership lasted for 12 years in which time they built a good reputation for their work throughout the bonsai world not just in Britain but Europe and the rest of the World. After Ian left to pursue a career in teaching, David worked alone up until 2005 when he was joined at the studio by Mark Jones.

We use many methods of producing our pots, the simplest of which is slip cast. We mix our slip clay to our own recipe which has been developed and improved over many years. This slip is then poured into a plaster mould then left, depending on its size, between 1 and 6 hours for the walls of the pot to reach the desired thickness. The excess slip is then poured off and the pot left to dry until leather hard. It is then ready for trimming and to have any additional work done, and the pots are then left to dry out fully before fettling and sponging.
Our hand-made pots are made in a variety of ways. Our standard range are coiled or slab built into a plaster mould, which supports the soft clay in the basic shape until leather hard. Once at this stage it is taken out of the mould and the pot is then finished to the desired design and surface finish.
Commissioned pots are freehand built either by coiling or slab building depending on the shape and size.



Commissioned-Oval-pots commissioned-primitive-pots1 commissioned-rectangle-pots

Limited Edition Collectors pot – Bonsai Focus


Fish-pot-102Back in 2010 Bonsai Focus Magazine commissioned us to make a special limited edition of 100 pots for them to sell exclusively through their magazine. This proved to be very popular and so this year Bonsai Focus have commissioned us to make another limited edition pot.

These handmade shohin pots are made using methods very similar to potters making Tokoname Bonsai pots in Japan and we thought it would be a good idea to give you a small insight into how the pots are made. Here are a few photos and notes about the processes we use in the making of the fish pots.

Making the master model and mould

The first stage was to come up with the basic pot design, it was decided to keep the pot to a similar size as the first collectors pot which was a small handmade rectangle with a climbing frog on the side. We came up with a few suggestions and in the end the guys at Bonsai Focus went for an un-glazed fluted oval with a fish leaping after an insect.

To make 150 handmade pots accurately the first thing we have to do is make a master model. We do this by first getting a block out made to the correct height of the pot, then mark on the top profile, cut away the waste and grind the model to this line.


Next we make a template to the side profile shape and begin carving the sides of the model, checking as we go with the template and using a wax crayon to make the high spots that need carving away. The model is then sanded to get a nice smooth surface.The model is then fixed to a board, which will later be used as the lid to the mould. The feet are marked out and I use a miller to cut the waste away and then finish carving and sanding them by hand.

The board is then cut and sanded to the shape of the lid, two plastic notches are put in to help locate the lid on the plaster mould and the model is them coated with a thin layer of Vaseline. A sheet of plastic is wrapped around the outside of the lid to make the walls, and the plaster is mixed and poured in. Once this has gone off the wall can be removed and the model retrieved from the mould.


The plaster mould is then left to dry out completely before we can use it for making the pots.

Making the Sprig Mould

The master models for the fish and insect were made out of Milliput which is a two part modelling putty that sets hard after approx 4 hours. Once the models had set hard a soft piece of clay was pushed over the models and allowed to dry for a while then split from the models and allowed to dry completely. Once fully dry it was fired in the kiln to 1000ºC which makes it hard and durable but still very absorbent.

To make the fish and insect sprig, soft clay is forced into the mould and then smoothed off level, left for a while so the mould can absorb some of the water from the soft clay, and after a short time the clay dries out a little and starts to shrink. The fish and insect can then be fetched out of the mould and are ready to fix onto a pot.


Making the Pot


Coils of soft clay are pushed into the mould making sure no air is trapped as you go, also making sure there is enough thickness of clay to form the pot walls and the rim at the top. This is then smoothed off level with the top of the mould.


The lid is then placed on the mould and the clay forced around to make sure it’s compacted hard against the walls and lid. We then use a template which has been made to the internal shape of the pot to scrape out the excess clay and compact the clay even more. Once all the excess clay has been removed the inner surface of the pot is smoothed over and the mould is then left over night for the plaster mould to absorb some of the moisture out of the clay.

By the next day the clay has dried out enough to put the stamps on the inside of the pot and smooth and refine the inner top edge of the rim. After another few hours the pot will have dried out a little more and shrunk away from the sides. It can then be taken out and work can begin on the outside of the pot.


The pot by this stage is now leather hard, much easier to handle and the next job is to put the drainage and wiring holes in. These are made by piercing the base of the pot with brass tubes sharpened to a point and then the edges of the holes are smoothed off, both inside and outside the pot.

The outside of the pot can now be finished. The rim and feet will be refined and smoothed off and the outer surface of the pot smoothed and polished with a plastic kidney. The pot is then placed over a support and the stamps can be put on the bottom.




The fish and insect sprigs will then be made and fixed to the pot using slip. Once fixed and dried out a little the edges of the sprigs will be refined, the pot finally cleaned up and brushed over with a fine brush to remove any fingerprints or marks.


The pot is then left to completely dry out over several days.

When the pot is fully dry it can be biscuit fired to 1000ºC and this is when the final decorations can be applied.

The Final Stages

Once the kiln has cooled the pots can be removed and the final decorations can be applied. As the insect is the only part of the pot to be glazed, the dark iron oxide we use to darken the feet and highlight the detail of the fish has to be applied very carefully in three stages.First the oxide is brushed into the stamps and over the fish and the insect. This is then wiped over with a damp sponge to remove the excess. Then the inside of the rim is darkened and neatened up with the damp sponge. The third part is applying the oxide to the feet.

Finally a small blob of turquoise glaze is added to the body of the insect and then it’s in the kiln for the final firing.

The Finished Pots


The pots are fired to 1260ºC, which ensures they are both durable and fully frost proof, and finally inspected for any defects. If all is OK, they are placed in one of our presentation boxes and  packed ready for dispatch.



This limited edition of 150 pots was only available through Bonsai Focus Magazine .

We hope you have enjoyed this little insight into just one of the many methods we use in making bonsai pots and hopefully you will return in the near future to see what’s new and what’s going on here at Walsall Studio Ceramics.

In 2008

I had the good fortune of bidding on a Walsall Studio Anniversary pot celebrating 21 years in the business of pot making. The auction was held at the bi-annual Shohin Seminar in Santa Nella California. I have yet to think about potting in it, but maybe someday I will have something worthy for the pot.









Bonsai Potters   Leave a comment

There are times when I can sit and watch videos of potters for hours at a time. I thought it might be useful to have a few to watch on a night your bored.

Have fun.





Posted June 12, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Pots

Special Pots   5 comments

I have started this catagory to highlight some pots I have picked up that are unusual and not seen often. Many of them I have never seen before and look handmade or actually maybe by a classroom of newly budding clay artists. I mean really…how many ashtrays can one man own? At some time all these pots will be on the pots page, but for now I thought highlighting some of the unusul ones might be fun.

This pot is special to me just becuase of the finish and the color not to mention the shape. I picked it up from Sharon Muth of Bonsai Northwest God knows how many years ago. I know I bought it at the shohin seminar becuase that is the only time I see her down this far.

The pot is 8 x 6 x 1.75 inches. The color is a greenish grey and the clay is silky smooth. It seems burnished in Yixing ware tradition and the edges are sharp. I am not sure about the hanko. It looks Japanese but the pot has Chinese touches. The design on the feet are traditional Chinese in design. As you look at the picture of the weak chop, and you know who this might be, drop me a comment. I would love to know the potter.





This small pot was one of the first Bigei pots I purchased. I purchased it because it had the most unbelievable finish and I had never seen a Tokoname pot up close and thought this is how all pots from that region would look. Of course I was wrong and I would soon find out that the quality of his pots are what attract collectors of his wares the world over.

This mini drum pot is 4 inches in diameter and is 1.5 inches tall. I have planted in it in the past but have decided to retire it to the collection for the time being as I wait out the market on Bigei pots.





I aquired this small shohin pot 29 years ago when I started. I was very fortunate to hook up with someone that knew everyone in the state and where all the cool stuff was. I asked for a list of places I should go and one of them was to see George Yamaguchi of Yamaguchi bonsai in north Los Angelas. A Japanese area in the North West of the city, much like the area where Chikugo-En is, which was another place on the list.

Upon reaching the gardens I immediatly set out for the plants. I looked over everything and decided on a few. I came in to pay and found the pots. There was this pot that caught my eye. It is oval in shape  and 7 x 5 x .75. the clay is very coarse and has very large pebbles in it that show up white on the photo’s. The pot is hand made, but has no chop. I know it is 29 years old but how much before that I have no idea.


005 (2)


I bought this small accent tray about ten years ago. At the time I was very interested in making the moss balls as accents. I still want to do a formal display using one but have not had the chance to try it. This year at the Kazari may be the right time. Who knows?

The pot is 5.5 inches in diameter and .75 inches tall. The glaze is streaked greys and very faint blues. The shape is a lotus blossom and the interior is combed. The potters name is Matsumoto Takashi from the Ryuugaku kiln.





Posted January 13, 2013 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Pots

Tagged with , , ,

%d bloggers like this: