What Makes a Good Pot?

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What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  Jake16 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:06 am

I am going to start making some pots. I have experience on a wheel so round pots are fairly easy, but we are starting slab work in my ceramics class and I want to get into some other shapes. My question is what aspects are you looking for in a pot and what makes a good pot? Also any advice on how to make pots is very welcome.

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  Jkd2572 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:58 am

Feet

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  Jake16 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:59 am

elaborate?

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  Leo Schordje on Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:03 am

Good pots have thinner walls, thick walls make them look clunky. Walls should be of uniform thickness. If feet are present, make them small, on poor pots the feet are too big or in a style not in harmony with the rest of the pot. For thrown pots the same is true, thin walls of uniform thickness from base to lip. Beyond that I don't know much except to say I know what I like. Of course be sure to fire at high enough temperature to develop freeze thaw resistance.

You really need another hobby that can consume all available free time beyond raising kids and bonsai trees?

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  -keith- on Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:07 am

i have a foot fettish Shocked if its got neat feet ill buy it. to me it shows a bit more artistry when time is taken to add that little extra touch


You really need another hobby that can consume all available free time beyond raising kids and bonsai trees?

LOL yeah makin' my car faster...sleep is overrated

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  Jkd2572 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:10 am

I like feet of any kind on pots. I don't like pots that sit flat on the ground. Most bonsai pots have feet, but some do not.

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  Jake16 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:12 am

Thanks for the reply Leo. Its funny thats what my fiance said to haha. These pots are actually for a project in my ceramics class, but I picked something that wold benefit me (like pots). But with the wall thickness, what about with a literati pot? They need to be heavier so I was thinking of having the walls thicker.

Keith,

Thanks, Ill have to pay close attention when im making the feet and for artistry, I hope that will come out in glaze and design of the pot.

Jkd,

Yeah makes sense now that I think about it. Most pots that I like have feet on them, the only exception is some literati pots (for me)

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  Russell Coker on Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:11 am



How long have you been doing bonsai? Do you know what makes a good pot a good pot?

It's all about proportion... and what Leo said.

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  Jake16 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:50 am

it will be a year in december, i know what looks good but for quality no i dont. I havent messed with any pots yet all of my trees are in training pots, I do have a pot from a malsai that feels cheap (duh)

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  Poink88 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:58 am

If I were you, I would look at the pictures of world class shows and look at the pots used. Magazines and online galleries is a great source of references as well.

Personal taste plays a major role of course but set that aside first and see what the experts use/do. I agree with Russell, proper proportions and form is essential. Minute change in curve can totally change a pot's feel so concentrate on the details.

One thing I noticed (in every art or craft), there are those who learn and master the basics then develop their own. Others who can't...use "artistic expression" as an excuse to just throw something out and call it "art". A lot of them get away with it too. Wink

Good luck!

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  JimLewis on Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:54 pm

BIG drainage holes. Smaller holes for ties.



Here's one with a hole that is too small:



A flat bottom also helps. Here's one that isn't, also with holes that are too small and in the wrong location:


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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  rockm on Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:01 pm

The best thing you can do is get out see and hopefully handle actual good and excellent bonsai pots. You can look at all the pictures in the world and still not get a decent idea of what makes one.

You don't say where you are in Va., but wherever you are, you're within a couple of hours of one of the finest bonsai collections in the U.S. The National Arboretum in Washington not only has world-class bonsai, but also a number of the best bonsai pots in the U.S. A trip there to look at the trees can go a very long way in illustrating what a good bonsai pot is.

You probably can't hold any of the pots there, but seeing them up close will reveal details you can't see online or in books.

Also, get in to much with your local bonsai club--there are more than a few in the state. RIchmond and No. Va. have clubs. Go to a meeting, tell members you're planning to make bonsai pots and ask if you can see some of theirs. I've let local potters rumage through my unnused pots to see techniques and such.


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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  Russell Coker on Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:05 pm

rockm wrote:The best thing you can do is get out see and hopefully handle actual good and excellent bonsai pots. You can look at all the pictures in the world and still not get a decent idea of what makes one.

Also, get in to much with your local bonsai club--there are more than a few in the state. RIchmond and No. Va. have clubs. Go to a meeting, tell members you're planning to make bonsai pots and ask if you can see some of theirs. I've let local potters rumage through my unnused pots to see techniques and such.


This is exactly what I was going to suggest, I could not agree more. Looking at pictures of good pots is one thing, handling good pots is another altogether.

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  Jake16 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:20 pm

Jim,

Thanks for the pics, I was planning on making big drainage holes, I hate when pots have small holes. It seems like common sense but ive seen a ton that have them.

rockm,

I hope to get up to D.C. to The National Aboretum, that would be amazing.

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Re: What makes a good pot...

Post  timatkinson on Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:57 pm

I couldn't resist this post title/question. Such a big question. The history of pottery-making rivals that of the art of bonsai. In my mind both are hide-bound with tradition ("thin-walls", "low-feet", "cone-ten"...or "triangular composition", "no reverse taper" or no "poke-the-eye branches") but there are contemporary artists in both media who know how to creatively "break-the-rules". Google the artists Betty Woodman, Ken Price or of course Peter Voulkos. Google Herr Walter Pall or even Kimura. These are artists who know in their bones what respectively makes a "good pot" or a "good bonsai" and who have worked to drag their art forward. I'll weigh in with my personal views. Look at my pots at "atkinsonandtaylor.com". I don't like too much rigidity, too much perfection, too many rules, too much "good technique". Perfection is boring. Clay at it's best is a fluid medium. So is bonsai. Both take time to learn and to execute, but often it is that unexpected flourish that will take a so-so piece of pottery or a so-so bonsai to a higher level of emotional, introspective and cerebral involvement. Good potters and good bonsai artists know the rules, have great technique and mastery and then know when and how to forget all these to go beyond the expected. I hope my remarks spark further discussion, as I think that the contemporary international bonsai community now is still too hide-bound (with a few exceptions) when it comes to choosing a breathtaking piece of pottery to complement their bonsai artistry. Regards - Tim Atkinson

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Re: What Makes a Good Pot?

Post  Jake16 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:10 pm

Tim,

Thanks for you post I will look at those potters and your page asap.

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