making bonsai pots

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making bonsai pots

Post  David D on Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:07 pm

I was wondering if anyone had ever had a local potter make a bonsai pot for them? Is there anything one should avoid as far as glaze, type of clay etc? I have a local art teacher who said she would give it a try after she looked at several of my pots. Any suggestions?

David D
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Re: making bonsai pots

Post  Russell Coker on Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:19 pm

David, my suggestions would be to move this to the pot forum where our wonderful potters are more likely to find it and comment.

All I can say is that potters who don't understand bonsai have a hard time getting it right. For that matter, lots of potters who do understand bonsai still don't get it right.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out. Keep us posted!

R

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Re: making bonsai pots

Post  John Quinn on Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:24 pm

Moved to the pot forum...

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Re: making bonsai pots

Post  fiona on Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:03 pm

Some of my friends in the Ayrshire bonsai group worked with a local (non-bonsai) potter and between them they managed eventually to come up with some decent bonsai pots. The chap's first attempts were a bit too much like ovenware for most people's taste, and they were also very heavy. Additionally, he found it difficult initially to get his head round the idea of the pots being frost hardy as like many people, he had thought that bonsai were kept indoors.

But if both parties have the time and the patience it is most certainly not to be discounted as an idea and can be very rewarding all round.

Good luck.

fiona
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Re: making bonsai pots

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:15 am

I'm not saying it can't happen, I'm just saying that it ain't easy.

David, a lot of it will depend on the ego of your potter/artist. Have you ever dealt with the ego of an "artist" before? Bonsai pots look simple enough, and there aren't many artists who are going to tell you "I can't do that.".

Bonsai pots, and stands for that matter, are a world unto their own. It doesn't matter the skill of the potter/furniture maker. What matters is they 'get' the nuances of bonsai, and/or can handle the crititsm when they don't. I'm pessimistic because I've not had much luck in this area. My advice would be to contact one of our potter here, who understands bonsai and what a bonsai pot needs to do, and not waste time with the rest.

But that's just me...

Russell Coker
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Re: making bonsai pots

Post  fiona on Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:38 am

There's always the consideration that the potter may realise there is little money to be made in bonsai potting (especially if you have "proper" bonsai potters in the vicinity) and do a few as an experiment but then pack it in. That's the negative side.

But I'd be interested to hear from some of the Dragon guys here as IMHO a good example of it working well is their relationship with the young fella Dan Butler. I believe his was a similar tale of wanting to broaden his horizons from mainstream pottery, but then again he was young and had no ego to offend. I bought several of his pots - mostly accent ones - and they have stood the test of time and two really bad Scottish winters. Plus, they quickly had a distinct Dan Butler "style" which is a thing many bonsai potters covet. If that's what "collaborative working" can achieve then the bonsai world has gained.

fiona
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Re: making bonsai pots

Post  pjkatich on Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:56 pm

David Forsyth wrote:Is there anything one should avoid as far as glaze, type of clay etc? I have a local art teacher who said she would give it a try after she looked at several of my pots. Any suggestions?

David,

The first thing you need to determine is what temperature the pots will be fired at. I would recommend that you work with an artist that fires at least to cone 6. Any lower than that and you run the risk of problems during cold weather.

In regards to clay, a stoneware clay body would be your best bet. Stoneware clay is available in many different colors and is very durable when fired to full maturity.

Regards,
Paul


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