January 9th 2017 saw my first talk on bonsai pots at Maidstone Bonsai Club; 'Bonsai Pots - Framing your Artwork.' Thankfully, and down to a lot of work and a forgiving & interested audience; the evening was a great success and was very well received! I would like to thank all those that have given me so much help and encouragement.
The main focus of the evening concentrated on 'choosing the right pot for your tree'.
To the novice, the variety of shapes, sizes and finishes can seem somewhat daunting, but once some general 'guidelines' are understood, the capable artist can 'break the rules' when the occasion demands.
The talk was an interactive one, with; projector, photos, discussion, and a great selection of real examples.
An introduction into European, and then Japanese pots followed, including a brief history, and some well known artists and styles.
The well known Chinese & Japanese clays and glazes were then examined and discussed, such as; the 1000 year old Namako (sea cucumber) glaze of Ancient China, and the Oribe glaze from C17th Japan.
The sea-cucumber, or 'namako' glaze - examples by Koyo.
The 'oribe' glaze - examples by Koyo.
The well known Japanese potters and potter families were then discussed in more detail, with examples of pots both affordable and more expensive. Some of the history is fascinating.
Once such family, the Kataokas' (not to be confused with other Kataoka families such as Shuhu) ran the Yamaaki kiln for three generations, until its recent closure in 2011. The founder, Akitsuga Kataoka (potter name; Shousen) opened a kiln in 1920, called 'Kataoka'. After then opening a noborigama in 1927 (climbing chambers, wood-fired kiln) he worked under the potter name Jyuudo, and his works were known as 'kinka' - pre-Yamaaki. He continued working until aged 89, when he passed away in 1990. These pieces are now highly sought after, and can be almost 100 years old!
We then discussed a little on pot quality and appreciation. A couple of members brought in pots to be identified as requested, and many others wish they did! This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening for myself, and judging by the thanks I have had after, an enjoyable and educational night for all that attended.
To catch one of my talks, or request one for your club or society, please contact me on:
Launched - Boxing day 2016!
Bonsai4me.com meets TopShelf BonsaiPots.co.uk
The best European and Japanese bonsai pots; lots of choice, all in one place!!
As a bonsai enthusiast, it can be hard to find good quality bonsai pots for trees. There is limited information on the various European potters. It seems you must first know of them, then visit each potter’s website independently. They often however have few if any pots available. So, if that fails, the options are; travel around Europe to all the shows (which is great fun!), or ask a potter (who’s style you like and will suit your tree) to build a pot by commission.
This can take many months, if not more, and is great for that showpiece tree that will be ready in 2 years, but what if you need a pot now? It is incredible that there is not one platform, where top European potters can all showcase and sell their pottery from – well there is now!
After a few years of being fascinated by, and collecting bonsai trees and high quality handmade pots, from Europe and Japan; Alex Rudd had amassed over a thousand Japanese and hundreds of European pots in his private collection. This passion drove him to create what many feel is a huge gap in the market:
- The European Bonsai Potter Collective.
BONSAI EMPIRE PROMOTED - with giveaway hand carved Japanese bonsai pot.
Launched on December 26th (Boxing day) at 5pm, on the globally popular website ‘Bonsai4me.com’, some of Europe’s finest potters will be showcasing; their works, their profile, and some of their pots for sale. Potters will regularly supply the platform with some of their finer works, which will be available for no more than if purchased from the potter directly and include artists such as;
Holvila pots – Sweden (Thor Holvila)
Stone Monkey Ceramics (Andrew Pearson)
Gramming pots (Tomas Gramming)
Erin pottery (Vic Harris)
China Mist (Steve Kitchman)
Walsall Ceramic Studios (David & Mark Jones)
Pots by Ian Baillie (Ian Baillie )
Sami Amdouni Pots (Sami Amdouni)
Atelier Bonsai element (Erik Krizovensky)
MB Bonsaischalen (Marc Berenbrinker)
Each potter has developed their own unique style, and with each of these styles, their pots will often suit a certain; species, style or feel of bonsai. That’s why it was so important to learn about the potters and their differing styles. Some potters create rugged, masculine pots, which may reflect their local environment (such as Thor Holvila from Sweden), whilst others may be more refined and classical in their design (such as Andrew Pearson of Stone Monkey Ceramics).
The idea of the website is to promote European bonsai pottery, and to educate the public in the beautiful art of bonsai ceramics, and help them find their perfect pot. Finally, bonsai pot shopping made simple!
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